Whenever Indian cinema may talk about the great comedians of Indian cinema, one name that would arguably top the list is that of Mukri, the lovable ‘Tingu’ of Bollywood, who ruled the 70’s and 80’s era as favourite comedian of the superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Mukri’s short height and Amitabh Bachchan’s lanky personality made a formidable Jodi. Remember Amitabh Bachchan’s famous dialogue Mooche Ho Toh Nathulal Jaise Ho…Warna Na Ho in the movie SHARAABI. Other hit movies of the Jodi include AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, LAAWARIS, COOLIE, MAHAAN, NASEEB …the list is long.
|MUKRI WITH AMITABH BACHCHAN|
However, readers would be surprised to know that prior to Amitabh Bachchan, Mukri made a fantastic pair with the thespian Dilip Kumar. Remember hit movies like AAN, RAM AUR SHYAM, KOHINOOR, etc. In fact, Dilip Kumar has been instrumental in making Mukri a film star.
Praising the thespian, Mukri once in an interview said, “I am highly grateful to Yusuf bhai (Dilip Kumar). It was because of him that I landed in Bollywood or else I would have ended just being a Qazi (Muslim clergy)”.
Mukri, whose real name is Mohammed Umer Mukri recalling his early days, said, “I was a Qazi in a local Madrassa (Muslim school). My job was to teach Quran to small kids. My income was scarce and my family was big, hence it was difficult to make ends meet.”
He added, “Luckily once Dilip Kumar spotted me during the holy month of Ramzaan in a mosque and after hearing my sorrow tale he recommended me to Devika Rani of Bombay Talkies to appoint me as a junior assistant. Later he suggested my name to Mehboob Khan during the making of AAN. The movie was a runaway hit and my association with Dilip Kumar became hit.”
Mukri acted in about 600 films in his 50 years career. He passed away due to heart attack at the age of 78. Dilip Kumar was present at the time of his cremation.