Veteran Bollywood actor Jagdeep passed away in Mumbai on Wednesday (July 8) due to age-related ailments, leaving countless fans heartbroken. Born in Amritsar in 1939, he began his career with a minor role in BR Chopra’s Afsana. He subsequently appeared as a child artiste in films such as Munna, Ab Dilli Door Nahin and the Guru Dutt-directed Aar-Paar (1954).
Jagdeep eventually made his debut as a leading man with the commercially-successful Barkha (1960), a remake of the Tamil movie Thai Piranthal Vazhi Pirakkum. It was, however, the Shammi Kapoor-starrer Brahmachari (1968) that proved to be a game-changer for the actor and established him as a bankable comedian. He went on to act in quite a few well-received movies, impressing fans with his quirky dialogue delivery and impeccable expressions.
Jagdeep played the goofy wood trader Soorma Bhopali, arguably the most iconic role of his career, in Sholay (1975) and hit the right notes with the iconic ‘phir hona kya tha?’ dialogue. The character became an integral part of popular culture in the 1970s, consolidating the talented performer’s standing in the industry.
Jagdeep reprised the character in Soorma Bhopali, a Sholay spinoff, much to the delight of a section of the audience. The film, featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in guest roles, underperformed at the box office despite creating a decent amount of buzz among fans. It, however, exceeded expectations in Bhopal.
He later appeared in the popular horror films Purana Mandir (1984) and 3D Saamri (1985), directed by the Ramsay Brothers. Jagdeep was also a part of Andaaz Apna Apna, which featured Salman Khan and Aamir Khan as the parallel leads. The film, which was released in 1994, has attained cult status over the years.
His last major film Gali Gali Mein Shor Hai hit screens in 2012, receiving mixed reviews from critics. Jagdeep’s death is a big loss for the Hindi film industry and marks the end of an era. He will be missed.