Veteran Actor-Comedian Jagdeep Passes Away at 81

The veteran actor-comedian was not keeping well. He was 81.

Mumbai: Veteran actor-comedian Jagdeep, best known for his role as Soorma Bhopali in Sholay, died on Wednesday at his residence. He was 81.

The actor, whose real name was Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jaffrey, had not been keeping well, producer Mehmood Ali, a family friend, told PTI.

“He passed away at 8:30 pm at his residence in Bandra. He was not keeping well because of age related issues,” Ali said.

The actor will be laid to rest at a cemetery in South Mumbai around 11.30 am on Thursday, he added.

Jagdeep was the last of the comic icons alongside seniors Johnny Walker and Mehmood.

He started his cinema journey with the 1951 film Afsana, which marked filmmaker B.R. Chopra’s directorial debut.

Jagdeep, whose family’s fortunes had declined with the death of his father and the Partition, was eager to help his mother leading him to the sets of Afsana after someone scouted him on the streets.

The role promised him Rs 3 but the amount doubled when he was given a dialogue.

The actor kept picking up big and small roles in his early career, impressing directors like Bimal Roy, who cast him as shoe-shiner Laloo Ustad in his 1953 film Do Bigha Zamin.

From a child star, Jagdeep graduated into a lead star over the years with Bhabhi and Barkha.

It was Shammi Kapoor-starrer Brahmachari in 1968 from where he started his journey as a comic icon, whose big smile and mad facial expressions became mandatory in films.

Jagdeep appeared in around 400 films, but it is his role as Soorma Bhopali in the 1975 blockbuster Sholay that people remember even today.

His dialogue, “Hamara naam Soorma Bhopali aise hi nahi hai” became so famous that ‘Soorma Bhopali’ became his second screen name.

He also went on to star in Ramsay Brothers’ horror film Purana Mandir and in cult comedy Andaz Apna Apna as Salman Khan’s father.

Actors Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee, Johnny Lever and director Hansal Mehta took to social media to remember the legend.

Devgn said he “always enjoyed watching” Jagdeep on screen.

“He brought so much joy to the audience. My deepest condolences to Jaaved and all members of the family. Prayers for Jagdeep Saab’s soul,” Devgn added.

“Thank you for all the memories that I have watching your films and performances in my childhood!! You will be missed by us all!! Condolences to the family!” said Bajpayee.

Lever, an iconic comedian himself, remembered his first film Ye Rishta Na Toote in which he faced the camera with Jagdeep.

“We will miss you…May his soul rest in peace. Our prayers & deepest condolences to the family,” he tweeted.

Mehta said the veteran actor will always be “cherished and remembered with a broad smile”.

“I hope people get to see a film called ‘Muskurahat’ by Priyadarshan sir to witness his brilliance. It is one of my favourite Jagdeep saahab performances,” the director said.

Jagdeep also directed the movie Soorma Bhopali with his character as the protagonist.

He is survived by sons, actor Jaaved Jaffrey and producer Naved Jaffrey.

His grandson Mizaan Jaffrey made his debut as an actor with Sanjay Leela Bhansali produced Malaal last year.