Emotional adieus to Mehmood in Mumbai
As the body of comedian Mehmood was taken to a famous studio here after being flown down from the US Wednesday, top character actors from the film industry joined emotional crowds to pay tribute to the Bollywood legend.
By Marcellus D'Souza, IANS
Mehmood, whose full name was Mehmood Ali, had died in his sleep in Pennsylvania July 23 at the age of 72.
The body was taken to Mehboob Studio in suburban Bandra for members of the film industry and the public to pay their respects. It was placed in a wooden casket and decorated with white flowers.
Noted comedians Johnny Lever, Junior Mehmood and Gufi Paintal, actress Shobha Khote with her daughter Bhavana, Farida Jalal and Jayashree T., actors Chandrashekhar, Raza Muraad and Dharmendra and producer Shyam Shroff paid their last respects at Mehboob studio.
Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Rural) Kripa Shankar Singh paid tributes to the actor.
Lucky Ali, musician and son of Mehmood, accepted condolences at the studio.
Junior Mehmood, who had modelled himself on the veteran actor and even adopted his name, told the media: "Mehmood was a role model for all of us. Many have tried to mimic his style and pass it off as their own."
Raza Muraad said, "Mehmood commanded his own crowd of fans."
Jonny Lever said, "With the death of Mehmood, a chapter has been closed. He cannot be replaced. He made everyone laugh right till the end."
"The actor also strove to make his visitors laugh when they dropped by in to see him after a by-pass surgery," Lever recalled.
"Mehmood lay in bed all full of stitches, but he still made us laugh," he added.
The veteran actor had undergone a bypass surgery several years ago. He had also been admitted to a hospital in Bangalore when he suffered from a breathing problem.
"He had gone to the US for medical treatment and wanted to live in peace and solitude for some time," a family source said.
Said Paintal: "Mehmood was everyone's inspiration and many tried to copy his style. Just as Laurel and Hardy were actors in their own right, there was Mehmood in the Indian film industry."
Jayashree T said: "Mehmood was a versatile actor who was not only talented but gifted by god himself. He made people laugh as well as cry."
The body is being flown to Bangalore for burial at Mehmood's farmhouse, family sources said.
Born in 1932 in Mumbai, Mehmood acted in over 300 films, including the hugely successful "Padosan". Mehmood's other films include "Johar-Mehmood in Goa", "Johar-Mehmood in Hong Kong", "Gumnaam", "Sabse Bada Rupayya", "Ankhen" and "Bhoot Bangla".
He also directed several films.
Mehmood was the son of actor/dancer Mumtaz Ali and the brother of character-actress Minoo Mumtaz. He did odd jobs and even worked as a driver before taking to films.
His first major break was "Parvarish" in 1958 when he landed a role parallel to Raj Kapoor. His pairing with Shobha Khote became a relief in otherwise serious films.
Mehmood's southern Indian film phase began with the success of "Chhoti Bahen" (1959) after which he was flooded with offers including offers from down south.
His most remembered role was in "Padosan" (1968). This rollicking slapstick, directed by Jyoti Swaroop, had him play a Carnatic music teacher. He reigned through the 1960s and the 1970s.
Mehmood is survived by his wife, two daughters and six sons.