Mehmood Ali is one of our greatest comedian actors, who had acted in over 300 Hindi films. Born on 29 September 1932, his memorable films include Kunwara Baap, where he acted with versatile actress Manorama from Tamil film. The story had a message on polio vaccination and was essayed on the backdrop of a newly born son who was rescued by Mehmood, and when the boy develops polio, Manorama and Mehmood takes full care to bring up this destitute-cum-polio-affected boy in the film.
This was Manorama’s only Hindi film, and the film was directed by Mehmood whose son was also a victim of polio in real life. After acting in small roles in few films like ‘
Pyaasa’ and ‘Do Bigha Zameen’, he went to fetch supporting actor role. Credit must go to him for making career of
Amitabh Bachchan, Mumtaz and
Aruna Irani. He also gave break to music directors like R D Burman,
Rajesh Roshan and Basu Manohari.
After getting best supporting actor award in ‘Dil Tera Deewana’ with
Shammi Kapoor, Shammi refused to act with this actor. Even Raaj Kumar, who acted with Mehmood in films like ‘Kajaal’, ‘Dil Ek Mandir’ and ‘Godaan’, had removed him from his movie ‘
Gharana’. Mehmood always believed in quality of work. After seeing a Hyderbadi-cook, he copies his style for a film ‘Gumnaam’. While playing an emotional role, he would never put glycerin in his eyes. He could easily cry in front of camera.
In Sridhar’s film, ‘Pyaar kiye Ja’, where he narrates the horror story to his father, was his idea in the film. In the movies like ‘Gumnaam’, ‘
Padosan’ and ‘Do Phool’, he presented the character of South Indians, but each role was different from another. His role in ‘Padosan’ with
Sunil Dutt, and
Kishore Kumar remains a milestone in his career. It is sad that many leading actors Shammi Kapoor,
Raj Kumar and
Manoj Kumar did not like Mehmood and did not even want to act with him and had many played dirty tricks Mehmood always had wanted to innovate in his roles.
He was seen in brief role in ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ and ‘Pyaasa’, but he was a genius actor, who had a huge fan following. Many would walk into theatre after Mehmood’s entry on the screen. He had many link-up with many women in the industry, but that did not affect his career. He was a Muslim but was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. In spite of rarely playing the lead role, he was a superstar alright. His names alone could sell more tickets and his picture on movie poster helped films to run at the theatres.