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Remembering Feroz Khan: High on style, swag and hilarity

On his 78th birth anniversary today (25 September), we take a look at scenes that evoked unintentional laughter.

Mayur Lookhar

Not many yesteryear actors could boast of possessing talent like an Amitabh Bachchan or Dilip Kumar. Each actor had his own individuality, style, and charisma which appealed to their fans.  

Feroz Khan was never the most gifted actor, but he introduced the Western genres to Hindi cinema. Often dubbed as the Clint Eastwood of Bollywood, Khan made a name for himself as the gorgeous looking desi cowboy with an inimitable swag.

Khan was known more for being a stylish icon than for his acting prowess. As a filmmaker too, Khan carved his own path.

On his 78th birth anniversary today (25 September), we take a look at some scenes in which his hammed his way to glory.

Watch purely for the entertainment value. 

The morality debate — Dharmatma (1975)

This was Khan's second direction and the first Hindi film to be shot in Afghanistan. The film was said to be based on the life of matka (gambling) king Ratan Khatri. The late Prem Nath played the matka king Dharmatma. There's a price to pay for crime and the matka king has to part ways with his righteous son Ranbeer (Khan). Now, this classic morality debate between father and son turned out to be one laughter ride.

A proposal in Afghanistan — Dharmatma (1975)

In the same film, we saw a very different romantic side to Ranbeer, played by Khan. One is not sure whether this deserted location is in a tribal land, but Khan chose this as a setting to profess his love for Reshma (Hema Malini).

Khan looked jittery while enacting the sequence. You get a feeling that Khan might break down any moment. Those were the days when lip locks were deemed immoral for the family audiences, and instead what we saw here are two shadows kissing.

Say hello to the Indian cowboy — Kaala Sona (1975)

Inspired by Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood, Khan introduced the Western genre to desi films with the film Khote Sikkay (1974). Khan put on a cowboy hat, shiny leather boots and rode through the country flaunting his revolver. Fans warmed up to the idea of the Indian cowboy.

Khan returned as the desi bounty hunter in Kaala Sona. While he did wear cowboy clothing, Khan appeared to be more gentle and mild mannered while pulling off this sequence. He politely tells the baddie that he has no problems against them. Then why did they beat him? Such good manners for a bounty hunter were never seen before.

A classic challenge — Chunaoti (1979)

With a title that means challenge, bounty killer Vijay (Khan) would put up a brave fight. However, this classic battle saw the villain Ajay Singh (Danny Denzogpa) resort to the good 'ol dirty trick — tumhari maa haamare kabze main hain (You’re mother is in our custody).

Ajay Singh’s henchmen capture Vijay, tie him and drag him like a bull to take him to their boss’s den. The den is actually a luxury villa. Khan is rescued by his girl Roshni (Neetu Singh) who fires a bullet unleashing a cattle herd in the henchmen’s direction. Vijay is rescued and he heads straight to Ajay Singh’s den to rescue his mother.

He dodges five bullets in a jiffy, and even has the time to warn the baddie not to waste the last bullet. This is followed by a sword fight, then there’s even a cat fight as Roshni rescues Vijay’s mother.  

Ajay is disarmed with Vijay holding the sword. Vijay is ready to spare Ajay's life if he discloses the whereabouts of his mother. Khan has a constipated look while he mutters the dialogue, ‘bata, meri maa kidhar hai’. (Where’s my mother? Such sequences have been repeated countless times in films in that era, but very few had the charisma of Khan.

An unlikely father-son — Yalgaar (1992)

Often it is the TV soaps that are ridiculed for misfit characters. How often have we a young woman play a mother to a woman her own age. But perhaps television has taken inspiration from Hindi cinema. This 1992 film saw Khan play son to Mukesh Khanna. Khan was 53, and it reflected on is face. Khanna, who is 19 years younger, played Khan’s father. Despite Khanna’s best efforts to look old, he just didn’t look the part. Each scene featuring the duo drew plenty of guffaws as Khan comically called Khanna 'dad'. Khanna, too, brought out the ham actor in him to the T.