Did You Know Mehmood Taught Table Tennis To Meena Kumari?
Mehmood with Sunil Dutt in a still from <i>Padosan</i>.
Mehmood with Sunil Dutt in a still from Padosan.

Did You Know Mehmood Taught Table Tennis To Meena Kumari?

In a career spanning over four decades, Mehmood Ali - aka Mehmood - worked in over 300 films. He started off as a child actor and worked in films like Kismet. He later did a number of odd jobs - among them teaching table tennis to actress Meena Kumari, and even working as a driver for director P. L. Santoshi, whose son, Rajkumar Santoshi, later cast him years later in the cult film Andaz Apna Apna.

On his death anniversary, we pick five films which showcases Mehmood’s skills as the inimitable king of comedy. You mustn’t give these flicks a miss!

1. Padosan (1968)

Mehmood with Saira Banu in <i>Padosan.</i>
Mehmood with Saira Banu in Padosan.

Mehmood was the co-producer of Padosan, in which he also plays Bindu’s (Saira Banu) south Indian music teacher, Master Pillai, who is totally besotted with her. Masterji competes with Bhola (Sunil Dutt) for Bindu’s attention and also has to deal with Bhola’s friend Guru Vidyapati (Kishore Kumar). Apart from the catchy Mere Saamne Wali Khidki Mein, Padosan remains memorable for the outrageous musical face-off between Masterji and Bhola with Guru in the song Ek Chatur Naar.

2. Bhoot Bungla (1965)

Mehmood with RD Burman in <i>Bhoot Bungla.</i>
Mehmood with RD Burman in Bhoot Bungla.

Mehmood wanted to combine two genres, comedy and horror – that’s when he wrote Bhoot Bungla along with Rangan Bose. Once the script was ready, he decided to produce, direct and act in it. A murder mystery set inside a haunted house, apart from scaring the daylights out of people, also gave them a hearty laugh with Mehmood’s awesome comic timing. Tanuja played his love interest in Bhoot Bungla, which also established Mehmood as a comedian to reckon with.

3. Johar Mehmood in Goa (1965)

Mehmood with IS Johar in <i>Johar Mehmood in Goa.</i>
Mehmood with IS Johar in Johar Mehmood in Goa.

Imagine Mehmood and IS Johar as revolutionaries planning and executing anti-state activities in a Portuguese ruled Goa! They rob the Bank of Portugal, disrobe an arrogant senior police officer, set his house on fire and join hands with a dacoit in this dramedy. And it all starts with Bollywood’s favourite ‘lost and found’ plot involving two brothers. Revolutions were never this fun!

4. Pyar Kiye Jaa (1966)

Mehmood and Om Prakash in <i>Pyaar Kiye Jaa.</i>
Mehmood and Om Prakash in Pyaar Kiye Jaa.

With actors like Shashi Kapoor, Kishore Kumar, Mehmood and Mumtaz, the star-cast of Pyar Kiye Jaa was a big draw. A remake of the Tamil comedy Kaadhalikka Neramillai, Mehmood won the Filmfare award for Best Comedian for his brilliant comic timing in this one. The scene in which Mehmood narrates his script to Om Prakash with scary sound effects is considered one of his best performances ever.

5. Bombay To Goa (1972)

Kishore Kumar makes a guest appearance in <i>Bombay To Goa, </i>in a scene with Mehmood and Anwar Ali.
Kishore Kumar makes a guest appearance in Bombay To Goa, in a scene with Mehmood and Anwar Ali.

A runaway aspiring actress on a road trip from Bombay to Goa - this film was a memorable journey in many ways. It brought Amitabh Bachchan in the spotlight and also had Shatrughan Sinha as the baddie and Aruna Irani in the lead. Mehmood played Khanna, the conductor of the bus in which the characters travel and contributed to all the funny moments in the movie along with good friend Anwar Ali, who played the driver.

(This story is from The Quint’s archives and was first published on 29 September 2015, to mark Mehmood’s birth anniversary)

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