VETERAN character actor Mac Mohan, immortalised in the role of Gabbar Singh's ‘sidekick' Sambha in Ramesh Sippy's blockbuster Sholay, died on Monday. The 71-old actor was suffering from cancer and breathed his last at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in suburban Mumbai, hospital sources said.
Born as Mohan Makhijaney, Mac Mohan is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. He was the maternal uncle of actress Raveena Tandon and also late Sunil Dutt's classmate in Lucknow from where he hailed.
Mac Mohan started his career as a theatre actor. He forayed into the film industry as an assistant to Chetan Anand following which he made his debut in the 1964 film Haqeeqat. He acted in over 175 films in a career spanning 46 years.
He shot to fame as the gun-totting dacoit Sambha in Sholay. He was also part of several blockbusters with Amitabh Bachchan such as Zanjeer, Don, Majboor, Satte Pe Satta, Shaan, Dostana, Khoon Pasina, Kala Pathar and Hera Pheri. He also featured in Rishi Kapoor starrers like Karz and Rafoo Chakkar. Mac Mohan was last seen in Zoya Aktar's debut film Luck by Chance last year and a Punjabi film called Dil Dariya.
According to Sippy, Mac Mohan had immortalised Sambha's role. “No one could have suited Sambha's role better than Mac Mohan. He will be always remembered by that role,” Sippy said.
Amjad Khan's ( Gabbar Singh) conversation with Mac Mohan sitting on a hilltop, are among the most famous dialogues in the history of India cinema.
“ When asked by Gabbar, Arrey o Sambha, kitna inaam rakhe hain sarkar hum par ? ( Hey Sambha, what is the reward on my head?), prompt comes Sambha's reply, Poorey pachaas hazaar ( altogether Rs 50,000).
Javed Akhtar, who penned those famous lines, said only Mac Mohan could have done justice to them. The way he sat on the hillock, overlooking Gabbar's den, was a sight to behold, the noted writerlyricist said.
The new crop of Bollywood actors and filmmakers also expressed their condolences. “ Just heard... RIP MacMohan!!” tweeted Priyanka Chopra. “ R. I. P. Mac Mohan. Shocked to hear the news of his death. We will miss you SAMBA ( SHOLAY ),” wrote Ritesh Deshmukh on Twitter.
Madhur Bhandarkar also tweeted: “ Just heard veteran actor Mac Mohan passes away. RIP.” The actor, who was mostly a part of the ‘ villain's gang' in Bollywood, played the bad guy despite not having a physique that could look intimidating on screen