Iftekhar the real policeman of the industry was born in Jalandhar in a family of three brothers and two sisters. He was a highly gifted person, who knew painting and even could sing even. He had never dreamt to become an actor and had never shown any inclination to acting at all. Due to his passion for singing, he wanted to get a break in the HMV music company and had appeared in the audition and got selected to do a recording too in Calcutta. He had recorded one album, which did not fare too well, While recording a song for HMV, he came across a producer Kamal Das Gupta, who wanted to cast him in a movie, but Iftekhar Khan turned down Kamal’s offer and left for Kanpur, but Kamal Das Gupta did not give up and used to send telegrams to his house in Kanpur. It was then after receiving multiple telegrams to take a screen test for acting, Iftekhar’s father motivated him to go to Calcutta.
He got a small chance to act with famous actresses like
and Jamuna Devi in Bengali films then. He got his first break in the film industry in the year 1943, but soon when partition came, he moved to Mumbai to continue in his acting career. In Mumbai, he knew veterans like
and would hang around at
in the hope of getting a role. But it was a tough job. However, with Ashok Kumar’s suggestion, he got to do a cameo role in B R Chopra’s Kanoon. Since he was not offered hero-oriented roles, he became a side hero and after that he was a villain in many films. But he stepped into a police role which was a huge success, and got stuck with that role and did innumerable ones like Johnny Mera Naam, Deewar, Don and others.
He is mostly known to viewers for Don, Sholay, Zanjeer etc. He acted with all leading actors like
and so on. So far, he has acted in about 450 films. He died on 4th March 1995 at the age of 75 in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. He was active in the Hindi film industry till his death. His sister Veena too was a leading actress in Bollywood.