Veteran Actor and ‘Coolie’ Writer Kader Khan Passes Away at 81

He was a rare multi-dimensional talent. 

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Veteran actor-writer Kader Khan passed away due to prolonged illness at the age of 81 on December 31, his son Sarfaraz confirmed. Khan was admitted to a hospital in Canada and his son confirmed that his last rites will be conducted in the country.

"My dad has left us. He passed away on December 31 at 6 pm as per Canadian time due to prolonged illness. He slipped into coma in the afternoon. He was in the hospital for 16-17 weeks. The last rites will be performed here in Canada only. We have our entire family here and we live here so we are doing it," Khan's son Sarfaraz told PTI.

"We are thankful to everyone for their blessings and prayers," he added.


The news of the death of the actor-screenwriter, who was at his peak in the 1980s-90s, comes days after his son dismissed media reports of his demise.

Khan had developed breathing issues and the doctors had reportedly transferred him from regular ventilator to BiPAP ventilator. As per reports, he was suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a degenerative disease that causes loss of balance, difficulty in walking and dementia.


Khan acted in over 300 films since his success in the 1973 Rajesh Khanna-Sharmila Tagore-Rakhee-starrer Daag, in which he played a lawyer. He went on to act with reigning stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Jeetendra, Feroz Khan, and later Govinda, in myriad capacities ranging from the bad guy to character roles. He was widely feted for his comic timing and won the Best Filmfare Comedian Award for Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri in 1991.

He was last seen in Tevar in 2015, before mobility issues hindered him from working more.


Kader Khan was born in Kabul, Afghanistan on 11 December 1937. He acquired a civil engineering degree from the Institution of Engineers (India) and even taught the subject in Byculla’s MH Saboo Siddik College of Engineering between 1970 and 1975. It was Dilip Kumar who discovered him during the performance of a college play and signed him up for Sagina Mahato and Bairaag.


A rare multi-dimensional talent, Khan was also a prolific screenwriter and penned the dialogues for more than 250 films, most of them Bachchan starrers. His writing career in fact took off much before his acting with the script of Jawani Diwani (1982), for which he earned the measly sum of Rs 1,500. Some of his immensely successful films as a writer include Sharaabi, Coolie, Desh Premee, Lawaaris, Suhaag, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Parvarish, Amar Akbar Anthony, Mr. Natwarlal, Satte Pe Satta, Inquilab, Giraftaar, Hum, Agneepath, Himmatwala, Coolie No. 1, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, and Sarfarosh. He was also one of the rare people who could work successfully with the rival camps of Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra.

According to Bolly lore, Khan could not only write pages of dialogues effortlessly, he practised on their delivery at night in graveyards, where he would shout his dialogues to gauge the effect.

He won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue in 1982 and 1993 for Meri Awaaz Suno and Angaar respectively. He was also honoured with the Sahitya Shiromani Award for his work and contributions to Hindi Film industry and Cinema in 2013.

(With inputs from PTI)

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