Kulbhushan Kharbanda reminisces shaving his head for Shakaal’s character

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Ramesh Sippy is undoubtedly regarded as one of the most iconic filmmakers in India. Sippy’s movies are not only known for their intriguing storylines and edge of the seat action but have also won accolades for their characterisations. One such character is Shaakal, portrayed by the legendary Kulbhushan Kharbanda in the 1980 movie ‘Shaan’; an iconic action thriller that stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha and Shashi Kapoor.

While we all look upon the heroes in a typical Bollywood movie, we can’t deny that there have been times when the film’s villains have grabbed our attention. That is surely the sign of a great actor- the ability to portray the grey shaded character and yet manage to be the highlight of the film. Actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda as ‘Shakaal’ is one such man who stole the show with his acting prowess. The actor was last in Amazon Prime Video’s popular series Mirzapur.

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If you wonder what makes Kulbhushan Kharbanda, aka Shakaal, one of the most iconic negative characters in Bollywood, we feel it’s the approach with which the character was pursued and portrayed. When he says, “Shakaal ke haath me jitney patte hote hai, utne hi patte uske aasteen me bhi hote hai,” he literally steals the show, which also makes him a crucial ‘hero’ of the film.

Shaan’s plot revolves around DCP Shiv Kumar, an honest police officer who lives with his family and two brothers. During a case’s investigation, Shiv Kumar gets killed by Shakaal, leading to the two brothers avenge his death.

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Speaking about his character in the film Shaan, Kulbhushan Kharbanda shared, “I feel glad to see how Shakaal’s character over the years has evolved to be one of the best negative characters in Bollywood. The character was inspired by Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s character from the James Bond series and demanded me to shave my head. When we shoot with cameras, we cannot fool the audience. The camera captures every minute details. Hence, I had to shave my head to fit in character.”

He further explains, “Shakaal’s character was written with multiple layers, which made it more exciting for me to portray it on the screen. The makers of the film, Shaan, had seen Godhuli (1977) and Manthan (1976), which were very popular films of those times. In the film Godhuli, Salim Khan had seen me in bald character and was very impressed with my performance. When he was working on this film, he offered me to play the Shakaal’s character. I am very grateful for him for offering me this memorable character.”

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Talking about his camaraderie with director Ramesh Sippy, he shared, “Ramesh Sippy is a great director and a person to work with. I am glad that we crossed paths and Shaan happened. I feel I was lucky enough to meet him and bag this wonderful project.”

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