Veteran actor Avtar Kishan Hangal, popularly known as A.K. Hangal and best remembered for his role as Rahim Chacha in the iconic film Sholay, passed away here on Sunday morning.
“He passed away at the hospital at 9 a.m.,” his son Vijay Hangal told The Hindu. The 95-year-old actor had been hospitalised since August 16. For the last two days, his condition was critical and he had been taken off ventilator support.
Character artists of film, television and theatre paid tributes to the thespian at his funeral in Mumbai. Mr. Hangal’s body was consigned to the flames at 1.15 p.m. The Hindi movie industry, however, where Mr. Hangal worked for decades, was conspicuous by its absence.
Mr. Hangal became a household name with his performance of Rahim Chacha – a blind old man in Sholay. At acting workshops, Mr. Hangal often spoke of this role. As Rahim Chacha he delivered the memorable lines, “Itna sannata kyon hai, bhai.” (Why is there so much silence).
He used to say, ‘I often looked for my eye as a blind person would,” actor Akhilendra Mishra said. Having acted with Mr. Hangal in the movie Lagaan, he recalled the actor’s resilience in the face of physical discomfort.
“He had had a fall, but he was determined to give the shot. He came to the set on a stretcher and gave the shot. The 1,000-strong unit applauded,” Mr. Mishra said.