When AK Hangal turned bad

Often known for playing the oppressed, the late actor played a few antagonising characters too.

Mayur Lookhar

He made his debut at the age of 50, then went on to play the poor father or uncle in most of his 225 films. With tragedy written all over his face, one could never imagine AK Hangal in any other role save that of the oppressed. However, the late great had his odd mischievous moments.

Manzil (1979)

Basu Chatterjee’s critically acclaimed 1979 flick, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee, was one of the rare films where AK Hangal played a grey character. Though a poor labourer, Anokhelal promises Ajay Chandra (Bachchan) the skies, before selling him a dummy.

Anokhelal is a small but efficient galvanometer repairer, on whom Chandra banks heavily to deliver the goods on time. Chandra lines up many consignments, but is shocked when Anokhelal sells out to a rival and leaves Chandra in the lurch. However, it is later learnt that Anokhelal takes the bribe to get his poor daughter married.


Prem Bandhan (1979)

The same year also saw Hangal play another antagonist’s role in Ramanand Sagar’s Prem Bandhan. He played a businessman and uncle to Meena Mehra (Moushumi Chatterjee), who not only has a keep, but conceals the truth about Mohan’s (Rajesh Khanna) first marriage to Mahua (Rekha). Prem Bandhan was a one of its kind love triangle wherein one memory loss leads to Khanna marrying Mahua, while the other has him engaged to Meena. Chachaji has his reasons for keeping this a secret.


Kali Ghata (1980)

A murder mystery with a suspense that leaves you shocked. Before the henchman can reveal the truth, the mystery killer shoots him down and escapes in a red jeep. The killer is chased by Prem (Shashi Kapoor) but he/she is driving at the speed of knots. No bullets nor any hand grenades can stop our killer in his/her ranks. It takes our hero, riding a police jeep, to put brakes on the killer's juggernaut. When the jeep door is unbolted, out steps Deewan, shocking not just the actors, but viewers, too, who must have not anticipated Hangal being the killer. Deewan though has his reasons to justify his actions. Kali Ghata is rare film where Hangal played a cold blooded murderer.