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Legendary Indian actor Hangal dies in penury

NEW DELHI: India’s distinguished movie actor and communist ideologue A.K. Hangal died in a Mumbai hospital on Sunday following a brief illness, Press Trust of India said.

It said his son Vijay Hangal, a retired still cameraman in Bollywood, appealed for help after failing to meet Hangal’s medical expenses. Several Bollywood celebrities like the Bachchans, producer-director Vipul Shah, and actors Mithun Chakraborty, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan came forward to help him.

The 95-year-old character actor and veteran of the fabled progressive cultural troupe, the Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA), passed away at 9am at the Asha Parekh Hospital in suburban Santacruz in Mumbai, where he was admitted on Aug 16 after fracturing his thigh bone.

Best known for his one-liner from blockbuster Sholay — Itna sannaata kyun hai bhai (why so much silence is there), Hangal entered Bombay cinema when he was in his 40s and went on to act in over 200 films. He endeared himself to the audience by playing the role of the lovable old man in films like Sholay, Shaukeen and Namak Haram,

“This is really a sad thing...now I am left all alone. I have no words to describe his loss,” Vijay Hangal told PTI. “He was a strong man...he has been a great support to me,” he said.

Avtaar Veenit Kishan Hangal was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family in Sialkot and came to the city of dreams — then known as Bombay — at the age of 21.

PT said he made an impressive mark as the old man who gets up and joins the troupe in the song Ghanan Ghanan, where he sang one line Kale Megha Kale Megha Pani To Barsao in Aamir Khan-starrer Lagaan.

The actor was honoured with the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi cinema in 2006, was in the news last year for living a life in penury.

Recently, he returned to face the studio lights after several years for TV series Madhubala, PTI said.