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Dinyar Contractor, veteran of Mumbai's English theatre, dies at 79

Dinyar Contractor, who had also appeared in a number of Hindi films, passed away this morning of age-related illnesses.

Sonal Pandya

Veteran theatre, television and film actor Dinyar Contractor died early this morning of age-related illnesses in Mumbai. His death was confirmed by his family. His last rites will be performed this afternoon at Worli in centra Mumbai.

The actor, who resided in Mumbai's Rustom Baug, was known for his comedic turns in films like Khiladi (1992), Baazigar (1993), Baadshah (1999) and 36 China Town (2006). He also appeared in memorable roles on the popular television shows Khichdi and Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.

Dinyar Contractor began his career in theatre and was a doyen of Mumbai's Parsi theatre scene. He founded the Indian National Theatre with Burjor Patel and the legendary Adi Marzban. According to an interview given earlier this year to Parsi Times, the actor had said he intended to be a doctor, but ended up working in the pharmaceutical industry with Rallis India Limited for 19 years. He never gave up on his acting dream and began pursuing it full-time in 1966.

In the same interview he had said, "I really love performing on stage because my efficiency increases with every show — ultimately, the audience makes you the actor you are! If they keep on laughing during comedy scenes, that encourages me to perform even better."

Contractor was awarded a Padma Shri by president Ramnath Kovind earlier this year.

Contractor was remembered online by prime minister Narendra Modi, who personally met him at the Padma awards ceremony this March, and Union minister and former television actress Smriti Irani.