Birth: 15-08-2012, India

 

Avtar Kishan Hangal (15 August 1917 – 26 August, 2012), popularly known as A. K. Hangal, was an Indian freedom fighter from 1929-1947 then became a theater actor from 1936-1965 and later in 1966 became a character actor in Hindi language films. His most notable roles are as Ram Shastri in Aaina (1977), as the Inder Sen in Shaukeen, as Bipinlal Pandey in Namak Haraam, as Imaam Sa'ab in Sholay, as Anokhelal in Manzil and the negative character in Prem Bandhan and the 16 films he did with Rajesh Khanna. He has acted in around 225 Hindi films in a career spanning from 1966 to 2005 and was theater artist from 1936-1965. Hangal was last seen in a TV show, Madhubala, in May 2012.
 
A. K. Hangal died on 26 August 2012 at the age of 95. 
 
Born into a Kashmiri Pandit family, he spent his childhood in Peshawar, where he had performed in theatre for some major roles. His father's name was Pandit Hari Kishan Hangal. However, his primary occupation for the early part of his life was that of a tailor. He was an active participant in the Indian freedom struggle from 1929-1947. Following his father's retirement, the family moved from Peshawar to Karachi. He moved to Bombay after the Partition of India in 1949 after 3 years in prison in Pakistan. He was involved with the theatre group IPTA along with Balraj Sahni and Kaifi Azmi, both of whom had Marxist leanings.He acted in plays in theaters from 1936-1965.Since he was involved in Indian freedom struggle he was jailed for two times. He was jailed in Karachi for 2 years from 1947-1949 and after his release came to India and settled in Mumbai. 
 
He started his Hindi film career at the very late age of 50 with Basu Bhattacharya's Teesri Kasam in 1966 and Shagird, and went on to play as the man of principles playing the on-screen father or uncle of the leading men/women in the films in the 70's 80's 90's or sometimes the quintessential meek and oppressed old man. His pivotal roles in the films like Namak Haraam, Shaukeen (1981), Sholay, Aaina (1977), Avtaar, Arjun, Aandhi, Tapasya, Kora Kagaz, Bawarchi, Chhupa Rustam, Chitchor, Balika Badhu, Guddi, Naram Garam are considered to be among his best. He, as a character actor, always was part of the most of the films with Rajesh Khanna as the lead hero like Aap Ki Kasam, Amar Deep, Naukri, Prem Bandhan, Thodisi Bewafaii, Phir Wohi Raat, Kudrat, Aaj Ka M.L.A. Ram Avtar, Bewafai till Sautela Bhai in 1996. His best performances in his later years was in Shararat (2002) his character roles in Tere Mere Sapne (1997) and Lagaan.In movies he has played a very large number of character roles, mostly positive, with rare exceptions like Manzil and Prem Bandhan where his negetive roles became famous. He was amongst the oldest actors in Indian cinema
On 8 February 2011, Hangal 'walked' the ramp in a wheelchair for fashion designer Riyaz Ganji for his summer line in Mumbai. 
 
Hangal was last seen in a TV show, Madhubala, in May 2012. At the last episode of Madhubala he has done a cameo.Hangal proved that he may be a bit rusty around the edges at 95, but has not forgotten his art and pulled off his part in a single-take shot. 'Madhubala' is a tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema.Madhubala - Ek Ishq Ek Junoon is an Indian television series that started airing on Colors 28 May 2012. It replaced the show Veer Shivaji. It is a story of a girl born on the sets of a Bollywood film who grows up to be mesmerizingly beautiful. She has no aspirations of entering the glamorous film industry but fate has something else in store for her. A girl with simple dreams is compelled to act and to everyones surprise a new star is born. Madhubala - a gripping story of middle class aspirations, values and desires, set against the backdrop of Bollywood.
 
The Government of India awarded him the prestigious Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi Cinema in 2006. 
 
Hangal, who has more than 200 films to his credit in a career that spanned nearly five decades, due to his old age post 2007 found it difficult to meet his medical expenses. His son Vijay, a retired cameraman and former Bollywood photographer, himself is 75 and has not had a full-time job since 2001.With just a gap of 20 years between Vijay and Hangal it was difficult for them to manage their day to day expenses. Earlier, Vijay would take up small jobs but now, he can't do that either because of a back problem. Post 2007 A.K.Hangal has been suffering from a disease and has run into financial troubles in garnering money for treatment (he and his son have to spend 15000 rupees a month on medicines). So income stopped coming into the house from all quarters. When this plight of the veteran 95-year-actor was highlighted by the media and newspapers on 20 January 2011, many filmstars and directors promised to help the 95-year-actor financially. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan pledged to give him Rs 50,000.
 
Jaya Bachchan, who worked with Hangal in 9 films including Guddi, Anamika, Bawarchi, Abhimaan, Kora Kagaz, Doosri Sita, Jawani Diwani, Parichay and Sholay, on getting to know about his condition, said: "Please tell Hangal saab that his daughter was not aware of his condition and I am really sorry about it. My office will be taking care of all his hospital expenses. 
Mithun Chakraborty from the Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) asked the association to release funds for the senior actor. On 21 January 2011, Dharmesh Tiwari, the president of CINTAA concurred and said the association has helped Hangal in the past and will continue to do so and that they sending a cheque of RS 50,000. On 21 January 2011 Salman Khan contacted Tiwari on Thursday to pledge his support. Director Samar Khan used then a popular social networking site to spread the word, and by 22 January 2011 evening friends and fans had pledged about Rs 1 lakh. Tiwari said, "If the government can allot some land, we can use it as Hangal saab has suggested to build an old age home for artistes. Mumbai, which is the birthplace of Bollywood, is not paying any heed to us".
 
Then Ranjan Thakur, the personal secretary to I&B minister Ambika Soni said, "The minister has spoken to Ramesh Sippy and the Film Federation and has asked them to keep us updated on the funds collected for A K Hangal. We are looking at the possibility of a long-term health insurance program for retired actors. Now as per the reports of Times of India dated 24th Jan 2011, he has been offered some help from some from Bollywood fraternity for his medical expenses. On 4th of March, 2011, it was reported that Amitabh promised to take care of his medical expenses and Aamir Khan promised in one of the press conferences, that now, when he has known about it he would go see him and would help him in every way.
 
The actor had last shot for Amol Palekar's film, Paheli in 2005. In fact, he had not gone out of his house for the last eight months. "We were surprised to see him get out of home. He would have done it only for acting," said his son Vijay and added, "My father had remained at home for the past few months. The show producer Saurabh Tiwari and senior executives from the channel came to our place to offer him the role. Several filmmakers had approached him in the last few years. But father did not take those up due to health issues".
 
A K Hangal returned to face the studio lights after seven long years. Having reached the sets of a TV Series Madhubala - Ek Ishq Ek Junoon on a wheelchair, the 97-year-old actor wasn't sure he would be able to handle it physically. But once the cameras started rolling, there was no stopping the actor within. ++Freedom Fighter== Hangal participated in the Indian freedom movement when as a student, he joined the protest in the North West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) against the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. He later shifted to Karachi. He spent three years in prison protesting against the British rule.
 
Hangal participated in the Indian freedom struggle.He participated in the protest organised in the North West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He later shifted to Karachi. He spent three years in prison for his protest against the British rule.  
 
Hangal, a lifetime member of the Communist Party of India, was critical of the role played by right-wing Hindu political parties, particularly during the 1992-93 riots in the Indian city of Mumbai. The party in a statement after his death stated that Hangal withstood the Shiv Sena onslaught. However, senior leaders of right-wing Indian political party BJP including L K Advani and Nitin Gadkari condoled his death.  
 
He had a son, and after the death of his wife Manorama Hangal, he lived alone in his flat in Santa Cruz, Mumbai. His son Vijay Hangal is a retired Bollywood still photographer and cameraman who lives in flat adjacent to Hangal. Vijay's wife Shashi Hangal died in May 1994 and does not have any children.
 
Hangal was admitted to the Asha Parekh Hospital in Santa Cruz, Mumbai on 16 August, 2012, three days after he fractured his thigh bone from a fall in his bathroom. His son said that he went to the hospital as he had "suffered a back injury and had to undergo a surgery. But that could not take place as later it was found that he has chest and breathing problems." On 26 August, he was put on life support. Hangal was cremated at Pavan Hans crematorium and his son Vijay performed the last rites.