Soorma Bhopali to Muhammad Ali: Jagdeep's Memorable Roles

·3-min read

Veteran actor and comedian Jagdeep passed away on Wednesday, 8 July, at the age of 81. Though Jagdeep was praised for his comic timing, he started out as the protagonist in films such as Bhabhi (1957), Barkha (1959) and Bindiya (1960), starring opposite Nanda in the first two.

Jagdeep was born as Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jafri on March 29, 1939, and the Partition brought him to Mumbai. From selling fruits to cutlery on trains, Jagdeep struggled a lot before getting a break in Bollywood.

Let us take a look at five of his most memorable roles on the silver screen:

Soorma Bhopali in Sholay

Jagdeep in a still from Sholay.
Jagdeep in a still from Sholay.

Jagdeep shot to fame after playing this character. His line, Hamara naam Soorma Bhopali aise hi nahi hai, became hugely popular. Both hailing from Madhya Pradesh, Salim-Javed helped Jagdeep get the Bhopali accent right. However this master of improvisation brought his own flavour to the role.

Dharmendra has fond memories of shooting with Jagdeep for Sholay. In an interview, the veteran actor recalled a scene wherein he and Amitabh Bachchan had to retrieve money from Bhopali. Amitabh would crack up every time Jagdeep would don the character's hat, and they would have to go in for re-takes. However, Ramesh Sippy decided to finalise the shot wherein Jagdeep was at his best. The filmmaker used his editing skills to do away with the moment Big B starts laughing, said Dharmendra.

Here's the scene:

In 1988, Jagdeep tried to use the popularity of his character by directing a movie called Soorma Bhopali. Despite special appearances by Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Rekha, Danny Denzongpa, Farooque Shaikh, and many other friends, the movie failed to make a mark at the box office.

Muhammad Ali in Qurbani

A still from Qurbani.
A still from Qurbani.

Jagdeep's character was a spoof on the famous boxer in Feroz Khan's Qurbani, that released in 1980. He got such widespread appreciation for the his performance that a mock fight was reportedly arranged between Jagdeep and the actual Muhammed Ali in America to raise funds for a mosque.

Also Read: Javed Akhtar, Mahesh Bhatt Mourn Veteran Actor Jagdeep's Demise

Bankelal Bhopali in Andaz Apna Apna

A still from Andaz Apna Apna.
A still from Andaz Apna Apna.

This was an extension of Jagdeep's character from Sholay. Salman Khan, one of the protagonists of Andaz Apna Apna, dreams of becoming an actor. Jagdeep plays Salman's father, someone who is fed up of his son's whims and fancies. Every time Salman stops by to ask for money, Benkelal says, "Kamau mein, udaye woh!"

Subedar Ramaiyah in China Gate

Jagdeep brought the much-needed comic relief in an otherwise action-packed film. China Gate featured a memorable ensemble cast including Om Puri, Amrish Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Tinu Anand, to name a few. The film became known for its song Chhamma Chhamma.

Latif Khekada in Journey Bombay to Goa

The film featured many stand-up comedians like Sunil Pal, Ehsaan Qureshi, along with actors like Tinu Anand, Vijay Raaz, to name a few. Jagdeep played the role of Latif Khekada.

Also Read: In Pics: Jaaved Jaaferi & Family Perform Last Rites of Jagdeep

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