B.H.Harsh wrote on 11 Aug 2008
Asrani (real name Govardhan Asrani) was born on January 1, 1941 in Jaipur. He came to Bombay in 1964. Asrani graduated from FTII Pune.
Asrani’s first film was Hare Kaanch ke Chooriyan (1967) directed by Kishore Sahu. He also did small roles in films like Satyakaam (1969), Mere Apne (1971) and Guddi (1971). Then he graduated to pivotal parts in Bawarchi (1972), Parichay (1972) and Koshish (1972)
Asrani’s turning point was 1973. This year, three of his performances – in Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar, Abhimaan and Namak Haraam were appreciated by both critics and masses. By 1974, Asrani was a popular character artist of Hindi films.
But Asrani’s career reached new heights with his cameo in Ramesh Sippy’s magnum opus Sholay (1975). His character of an autocratic but dim-witted Jailor was hilarious, and became as popular as the film itself. Same year, He also did Chupke Chupke and Choti Si Baat, and his comic timing was admired by everyone, especially in the latter where he played a very major role.
Asrani is one of the most popular character artists of Hindi cinema. If his performances were liked by the critics, the Masses loved him too. His most popular roles were in films like Dream Girl (1977), Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan (1978), Sargam (1979) etc. He also directed a film Chala Murari Hero Banne (1977), which won him a lot of accolades for its originality and true portrayal.
In the 80s, Asrani became a great supporting artist in commercial masala films. His other famous roles are in Nikaah (1982), Himmatwala (1983) and Ghar Ek Mandir (1984).
Asrani always remained on the Hindi film scene, and didn’t even decrease his work. Infact, he did more films in the entire 80s era than he did in the beginning of his career. In 2000, Asrani reinvented himself with his role in Hera Pheri (2000). Most of Asrani’s colleagues had stopped working by then, but Asrani had just begun all over again. His performances in comedy films like Awara Paagal Deewana (2002), Hulchul (2004), Malamaal Weekly (2006), Bhagam Bhag (2006) and Dhamaal (2007). Asrani has maintained a fine patische till date, and is one of the most popular actors even among the young generation.
Asrani is shooting for Fauj Mein Mauj (in production), which also stars Mallika Sherawat and Paresh Rawal.
Asrani has won 3 Filmfare awards – Best Comedian award in 1973 and 1976 for Aaj ki Taaza Khabar and Balika Badhu, and Best Director Award in 1977 for his film Chala Murari Hero Banne. Asrani has directed films like Amdavad No Rikshawalo (1974), Chala Murari Hero Banne (1977), Salaam Memsaab (1979), Hum Nahi Sudhrenge (1980), Dil Hi To Hai (1992), and Udaan (1997)
Asrani has also done playback singing for Alaap (1977) and Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan (1978), where he sang a duet with Kishore Kumar.