Dipen Guhawrote on May 31 2009 12:31AM
The man whose name has been synonymous to laughter, whose presence would bring about a shake to the members of audience in the auditorium, who alone could pull the rein of the box-office, was none other than Mehmood. Mehmood was born on September 29, !932 of Akhtar Ali and Begum Mumtaz. The parents were fond of dance, acting and music. Naturally, saps of performing art were very much coursing through Mehmood's blood. It was, in fact, a tough life for a poverty-trodden family to push through smoothly in a city like Mumbai. Mehmood being the nineth of the eleven children had to shoulder a share of responsibility at a tender age. After his schooling, young Mehmood set out for livelyhood. He had to get into several employments, came across different people of different manners, beliefs and natures ( which enabled him portray so many characters so efficiently). But, nowhere he could pacify the cry of his soul. He chanced to stand before Camera in 1953 for an insignificant role in Bimal Roy's "Do Bigha Zameen". Of course, such brief presence has to be overdone and overshadowed by a paramount personality like Balraj Sahni. Guru Dutt earmarked Mehmood and put him in CID in '56. Though his footage in this film was wider than of the previous, his genius could not be brought to light. There was no scope to display his comic-competence. "Pyasa" in the following year suffered the same fate. So the struggle for creating identity was on until he projected his own venture "Chhote Nawab" in 1961. Here, it needs to mention that Mehmood gave R.D Burman the break to score the music for this film. It was followed by "Bhoot Bangla"which was commercially a big success. Its songs composed by RD are still hummed by music lovers. There was no looking back for Mehmood. He became indispensable for "comic-relief" which used to be phenomenal inclusions in the movies of yester years. Then came "Gumnam" in 1965. As a Hyderabadi chef with typical regional accent whenever Mehmood appears on the screen, audiences heave sighs of relif from the heart-throbing, breath-taking suspense of the thriller. Even today many acrors ape Mehmood's "hum kale hai to kya hua dil wale hai". "Padosan" in '68 prsents Mehmood in a unique role of Tamil dance-master. His encounter with Sunil Dutt, specially the "song-fight"( ek chatur nar bari hoshiyar) has made history. In "Sadhu aur Saitan" Mehmood is a taxi driver. In this film too he rolls the audence in latghter. 'Aarzoo","Chandan ka Palna","Johar-Mehmood in Goa" "Zindagi","Humjoli","Waris","Love in Tokyo",""Do Phool"Naya Zamana"''Beti Bete","Aankhe"Ziddi" and the space will fail to accommodate the names of so many(more than 300) movies.
Mehmood had a number of romantic attachments with many actresses. But, none did last for long. Mehmood had deep obsession for durby. He earned a lot and squandered profusely. Me was a man with heart of gold. Whoever sought for any assistance, Mehmood was always there to stand by. Even Amitabh Bachchan expressed his gratitude to this man for his assistance when Amitabhhad been stuggling in Mumbai. Such helped ones are countless.
Yet, the man who carried away the Nation with laughter, banter and fun for over three decades fell the victim of solitude. He buried bereavement within himslf brought it on the srface in the form of humour, real irony of a lgend comedian. "Ek pal ka jeena, phir to hai jana"was par haps the song sung by his son Lucky Ali, when he was breathing his last on July 23, 2004.