24 July, 2021


Bollywood’s legendary villain on his career and the just-published biography

When did you start your film career?
In 1940 with Yamlajat. I was 20 then.

Was your entry into films premeditated?
No, it was a coincidence. I had to earn a living. I was disinterested in academics and completely uninterested in films—I never even saw films, let alone wanting to act in them

Did you ever play hero?
Yes, I did—in Khandaan in 1942 opposite Nurjehan. She was merely 13 years old.

When did you come to Mumbai?
On the eve of our independence—August 14, 1947.

How much would you say Lahore contributed to your persona?
People from Lahore have a certain stamp of sophistication—if you lived there you'd never forget it. And, of course, my film career started there.

Your earliest memories of Bombay?
I lived at the Taj. It was just Rs 55 for a suite and all meals.

Are you satisfied with your biography by Bunny Reuben which is just released?
It's a good book.

What would you consider the major highlights in your career?
My first...

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