A.K. Hangal, full name Avtar Kishan Hangal, born in the year of 1917 at Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan is a well known character actor of Indian Hindi films.
He has a son, and after the death of his wife, he lives alone in his flat in Santa Cruz, Mumbai. His son Vijay has been a still photographer in Bollywood.
The Government of India awarded him the prestigious Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi Cinema in 2006.
Till date he has acted in more than 125 films so far. He has played a very large number of character roles, mostly positive.
He was first seen in the movie “Zindagi” which was released in the year of 1940 directed by P.C.Barua & Ravi Tandon.
Then he started his Hindi film career after a long gap of 25 years at the very late age of his 30 with Basu Bhattacharya's “Teesri Kasam” starring Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in 1966, and went on to play the classic meek and demoralized old man in numerous Hindi movies. His own favourites are the roles he played in “Sholay” (1975) and “Shaukeen” (1982).
His latest film was “Hum Sey Hain Jahan” a romantic comedy which was released on the 6th of June 2008 directed by Mashhoor Amrohi. Before that he was seen in Dev Anand’s film “Mr. Prime Minister” which was released on the 30th of December 2005. He was also seen in many of the hit films like “Paheli” (2005) with Shah Rukh Khan, “Lagaan” (2001) with Aamir Khan, etc.
Before his filmy career, he was actually an active participant in the Indian freedom struggle.
However, his primary occupation was a tailor for the early part of his life.
His childhood was spent in Peshawar, where he had performed in theatre for some major roles. Following his father's retirement, the family moved from Peshawar to Karachi. He moved to Bombay after the Partition of India in 1949 after spending three years in prison in Pakistan. He was involved with the theatre group IPTA along with Balraj Sahni and Kaifi Azmi.
He was involved in a controversy in the year of 1993. He had applied for a visa to visit his birthplace in Pakistan, and the embassy invited him to Pakistan day celebration and he attended that. Next day Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray took offence "A.K. Hangal Deshdrohi hai"(in his newspaper Samna) and there was a talk of a boycott and having his scenes removed from films. His films were removed from the theaters in and around Maharashtra. His film posters were torn, effigies were burnt and threatening call was given. After a year, meeting were called in his support and Bal Thackeray clarified a year later that he had not asked for a boycott and there after many roles started coming back to Hangal.