Feroz Khan: The Asli Baadshah

A Tribute to the Bollywood's Cowboy Khan. He lived life King size, ultimately making Feroz Khan the Real King Khan.

Sadly, veteran actor Feroz Khan passed away today, April 27th, 2009, at the age of 70 today after battling cancer for over a year now. The actor, who has contributed to the Hindi cinema for nearly half a decade, will be missed by the industrywalas and his fans all over the world. While fans like myself, would have loved to seen him act in many a more movies, his last feature film was the hit Welcome. Much like many other actors in the industry, he arrived in the city of dreams, Mumbai without a dollar in his pocket and to make ends meet worked a pool table. If anyone had to be deemed the real King Khan, it has to be Feroz Khan.

Born Firoz Khan to a Pathani father and Iranian mother, Khan completed his education in Bangalore and soon after moved to Mumbai in pursuit of a possible film career. His debut film Didi in 1960, saw him as the second lead in the movie which unfortunately is all he seemed to get for a few years after his initial step into films. Over the sixties and seventies, he went on to make low budget movies opposite starlets and featured in the British film Tarzan Goes to India along with Simi Garewal. Khan finally saw success in the 1965 film, Oonche Log which did well at the box office but didn’t put him up in the “A-listers” league just yet. It took the hit film Arzoo, in which he played the sacrificing lover for him to gain credibility as a supporting actor. From that point, there was no looking back for Feroz Khan who went on to win the best supporting actor award for his role as Dharmendra’s best buddy in the 1969 hit Aadmi Aur Insaan.

Feroz Khan soon became a popular name within the film circuit and reigned during the seventies and eighties producing, directing and acting in many blockbuster movies including Jaanbaaz, Dayavan, Yalgaar and of course, perhaps the biggest success of his career, Qurbani. His films were known for being entertaining, modern and musically inclined. The actor took a break from acting for a period of 11 years before he launched his son Fardeen Khan in Prem Aggan which unfortunately was a disaster at the box office. In 2003, he was back with a bang in Janasheen which was deemed as his comeback film with son in tow. This was a dream come true for the veteran actor whose dream was to make a successful film with his son. Khan not only acted but directed and produced the film too. He later starred with son Fardeen once again in Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena and was last seen in the blockbuster hit Welcome.

His acting style was one to beckon with and his stylish ways was extremely popular with the women. Feroz Khan bought a sense of the west to Hindi cinema which was seen as a breath of fresh air from the usual stories in the seventies. All of a sudden, women were not sari-clad and instead took to the mini skirt. They rode horses, wore bikinis and were not afraid of their sexuality. The men were no different in F.K. films. Looking back at his directorial projects, courtesy of Khan, Anil Kapoor shed all his inhibitions to star in Jaanbaaz and partake in a steamy scene with Dimple Kapadia. Through his movies, Zeenat Aman became the seventies sex-symbol of the nation. To his credit, Feroz Khan also directed one of the first Hindi movies that was filmed in Afghanistan, Dharmaatma.

Recently, Feroz Khan was felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement Award and due to his illness was unable to personally receive it. However, he did send a note through his son Fardeen, thanking his fans for the honor. In an interesting interview, Khan spoke to the media about his Casanova image, his Anglo-Indian image and being labeled as the Indian Clint Eastwood. His responses were of course, smart and savvy, much like his personality. He believed in his “Cowboy Khan” ways and had no qualms in admitting he was surrounded by beautiful women but has “never felt the need to remarry” after his divorce from his wife of 20 years, Sundari.

While he announced a remake of Qurbani, it has yet to see the light of day. One does hope that his son will eventually pick up the pieces to fulfill his fathers dream. So while the contemporary Khans sit around claiming the crown and top slot in the industry, it is ultimately Feroz Khan who has “been there, done that.” I often believe that he probably chuckled at their claim for the title and fame. There was only one King Khan: Feroz Khan. He was once asked what he would want his epitaph to read. He responded, “Love and Live.” Rightly said. Personally I'll miss him for his flamboyant ways and charming style. This is one Khan who truly believed in loving and living life to the fullest. And he will be missed for that very trait.

Photo Credit: Ponytone.com

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