Kanwarjit Paintal, popularly known as Paintal, learnt acting at the Film and Television Institute of India. He came to Bombay (now Mumbai) with his brother Gufi in 1969.
Paintal made his debut in Bollywood with Atma Ram’s Umang in 1970. The movie also starred Satish Kumar and Archana. It failed to do well.
Gulzar’s Mere Apne (1971), starring Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha in pivotal roles, was Paintal’s second film. The movie did well fortunately for him. The same year, he was seen in Lal Patthar and Pyar Ki Kahani. The latter was his first film with Amitabh Bachchan, after which they appeared in many films together. In 1972, Paintal did some good films like Shaadi Ke Baad, starring Jeetendra and Rakhee, Basu Chatterjee’s Piya Ka Ghar, and Bawarchi, starring Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. Jawani Diwani, starring Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bhaduri, was his first big hit. Parichay, starring Jeetendra and Jaya Bhaduri, was a hit as well. After appearing in a string of good films, Paintal started getting noticed and was cast in many more movies as a supporting actor.
In 1973, Paintal did Dev Anand’s Heera Panna, Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar, and Ravi Tandon’s Anhonee. None of them did too well at the box-office, though Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar earned him wide appreciation. Next, he was seen with the hit-pair Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh in Zehreela Insaan (1974), a thriller. The movie comprised of the very popular track ‘O hansini…’. His next releases were some flops like Kora Badan (1974), Call Girl (1974), and Dil Diwana (1974), and a couple of good films such as Manoranjan (1974) and Dulhan (1974). Paintal’s next two films Roti (1974), starring Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz, and Rafoo Chakkar (1975), starring Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, were big hits. He then appeared in a few flops like Anokha (1975) and Jaggu (1975). Maa (1976), starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini was a hit, while Rishi Kapoor-Ranjeeta starrer Laila Majnu (1976) became a blockbuster. He also appeared in the critically acclaimed Balika Badhu (1976). Dilip Kumar starrer Bairaag (1976) flopped, and so did Dev Anand’s Saheb Bahadur. He had another string of flops with Jagriti (1977), Chandi Sona (1977), and the comedy flick Chala Murari Hero Banne (1977). Swarg Narak (1978), starring Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra, was a hit. Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan (1978) and Mahesh Bhatt’s Naya Daur (1978) didn’t do too well, while Dev Anand’s Des Pardes (1978) gathered fairly good collections. Aakhri Daku (1978) and College Girl (1978) flopped. Rajkumar Kholi’s multi-starrer film Jaani Dushman (1979) and the Amitabh – Shatrughan starrer Dostana (1980) were huge hits, while Tinnu Anand’s Duniya Meri Jeb Mein (1979) and Ravi Chopra’s The Burning Train (1980) faired below average. Ramsay’s Saboot (1980) did fairly well.
Paintal then starred in Manoj Kumar’s Kranti (1981) which became a blockbuster. Waqt Ki Deewar (1981) and Saajan Ki Saheli (1981) faired below average. In 1982, he performed in the hit film Satte Pe Satta, alongside Amitabh Bachchan, which gained Paintal huge popularity, with his comic performance. He then featured in Teri Kasam (1982) which was a hit and Subhash Ghai’s Vidhaata (1982) which became a blockbuster. In 1983, Paintal appeared in the critically acclaimed film Sadma, starring Sridevi and Kamal Hassan, and in the action flick Daulat Ke Dushman. He then did Waqt Ki Pukar (1984) and Shapath (1984) which failed to do well. Jaag Utha Insan (1984), starring Mithun Chakraborty and Sridevi, did fairly well. Paintal again had a few flops in 1985 with Paisa Yeh Paisa, Kali Basti, Aandhi-Toofan, Wafadaar, and Sur Sangam. He then appeared in Mohabbat Ki Kasam (1986) and Basu Chatterjee’s Kirayadar (1986), both of which weren’t too successful. The comedy flick Anubhav (1986) also faired below average.
In the next couple of years, Paintal appeared in a series of action flicks, which gained mediocre suceess, like Aakhri Muqabla (1988), Sagar Sangam (1988), Mitti Aur Sona (1989), Pyasi Nigahen (1990), Aag Ka Gola (1990). He also featured in the hit film Thanedaar (1990).. Paintal also did some drama/romance flicks like Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharni (1989), Qurbani Rang Layegi (1991), First Love Letter (1991), Sachin’s Prem Deewane (1992), Mehboob Mere Mehboob (1992), Prem Yog (1994) and Sachin’s Aisi Bhi Kya Jaldi Hai (1996). Most of them flopped. Paintal was simultaneously doing other action flicks like Saugandh (1991), Pehchaan (1993), Amaanat and (1994), and Ikke Pe Ikka (1994). They faired poorly. In his fading years, Paintal starred in some films like Kaalia (1997), Mere Sapno Ki Rani (1997), Hatyara (1998), Kasam (2001), and Fun2shh... Dudes in the 10th Century (2003)., all of which flopped.
Paintal did about 150 films overall. He has also worked in television serials and plays. In “Mahabharat” (TV series), he played Shikhandi. He also acted in the serials “Pyar Zindagi Hai” and “Amber Dhara”. His brother Gufi Paintal and son Hiten Paintal are also actors.