‘Mehbooba O’ Mehbooba….’
This song from Ramesh Sippy’s hit movie SHOLAY is even today as popular as it was when the film was released. While movie buffs still remember Helen sizzling to the dance number, few would remember the male actor who sung this song on the screen.
Well, he is Jalal Agha, a distinguished actor of the early ’70s and son of Agha, the renowned comedian of the ’50s and ’60s . March 5 marks Jalal Agha’s death anniversary, Glamsham.Com pays him homage and shares an interesting anecdote about how legendary actor Dilip Kumar discovered him.
After completing his graduation at FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) Pune, Jalal Agha was first given a break by the revered and most accomplished director of the Indian Cinema, K.A. Abbas in his movie BAMBAI RAAT KI BAHON MEIN (1967). However before the hawk eye of K.A. Abbas recognized his talent, it was another great personality of Indian Cinema, who saw glimpses of a great actor in Jalal and advised his director to cast him in the film.
The actor was none other but thespian Dilip Kumar who first spotted talent in Jalal Agha. Actually Dilip Kumar and Agha ( Jalal Agha’s father) were good friends and Jalal used to frequent Dilip Kumar’s house during his childhood.
Hence during the making of MUGHAL-E-AZAM, when filmmaker K.Azif, was hunting for a child actor to play younger version of prince Salim and was unable to find a suitable choice, Dilip Kumar recommended Jalal Agha to him.
Asif, who was a perfectionist, wanted a child actor who could emote and live up to his requirements and Jalal fitted his requisite to a perfect T. However the problem was that Jalal Agha’s father Agha was against his son acting movies. He rejected the offer.
Recalling the incident once Jalal Agha in an interview said, ”When Papa declined Yusuf uncle’s (Dilip Kumar’s real name) request, he decided to play a trick. Hence after some days Yusuf uncle told Papa that he was taking few kids to a three- day picnic and wished to take me too. Papa had no objection. Thus, Yusuf uncle brought me on the sets of MUGHAL-E-AZAM secretly and completed the shooting in three days.”
He continues, ”Later on, when Papa came to know that I had acted in the movie, he was very angry! But on seeing the rushes of the movie, he had tears of joy. And when I completed my studies, he gladly gave me permission to join FTII.”