Once an actor always an actor. Quite true for 97-year-old A.K. Hangal, who wears grease paint despite the ripe age in a role in the television show Madhubala. He is excited and says work knows no age limit.
“I believe there is no age limit to work. But these days I’m not keeping well,” Mr Hangal said.
He has been active in filmdom since 1967 and played on-screen father, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle to many top notch Bollywood actors, but two years ago Mr Hangal – the famous Rahim Chacha of Sholay – was struggling for his life as his source of income had dried up and there was hardly any money for food or medicine. (Read: Amitabh offers support to AK Hangal)
But his son Vijay, 75, says that now they are doing fine.
“Financially we are doing fine. We keep getting help from people from the film fraternity. There are a lot of people from the industry who are our well-wishers. We also get help from welfare trust. Right now we are not facing any financial problem,” he said.
Prashaant Bhatt, concept head of Madhubala, says that he thought about A.K. Hangal for the show because the serial is a tribute to 100 years of India.
“As we have mentioned earlier that Madhubala is a tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema. Mr. A.K. Hangal has been part of the industry for such a long time and his presence made a huge difference to us. In fact, his blessings matter a lot,” said Bhatt.
He was initially sceptical about Mr Hangal accepting the role, but the senior actor’s enthusiasm proved his worries wrong.
“Very frankly, he was super excited to do the role. He is 97 now and he has not been keeping well, so we were sceptical whether he would agree to do the role. But when we spoke to him, he said when and where to come for the scene and what will be my role,” added Bhatt, who is also the fiction head of Colors.
“He comes to the set, looks around and with his gentle voice he calls – ‘makeup man’. Once an actor always an actor. It was an honour to have him on the show,” he added.
Madhubala went on air last Monday and it tells the story of a girl who is forced into the world of showbiz. Drashti Dhami plays the title role and the cast also includes Vivian D’sena, Raj Zutshi and Shagufta Ali.