Kader Khan, the legend was born on this day in 1937. Think about it, he’s responsible for most of the memories we have of our favorite Bollywood movies. He made his debut with the 1973 movie, Daag. Firoz Khan’s Qurbaan (1980) propelled him to stardom and he didn’t look back post that, until his death in 2018.
Bollywood movie fans will remember Kader Khan for his comedy roles in the eighties and the nineties. Few know of the scathing political commentaries his dialogues had. Kader Khan also gave a fantastic performance as an evil magician in the Jeetendra starrer Pataal Bhairavi. To put it simply, Pataal Bhairavi wouldn’t be the marvelous piece – albeit forgotten – of pop culture, if it wasn’t for Kader Khan.
Kader Khan put his unique stamp on the fantasy movie with his dialogues and his incredible performance as the main villain, Mantrik Husair. He, along with Asrani, create one of the most unforgettable duo of comic-evil in the history of Bollywood.
The story’s simple. A young man, Ramu, falls in love with a princess. When the King finds out about this, he challenges him to become wealthy in a jiffy. All this comes at a time when the Mantrik finds out about the extremely powerful Pataal Bhairavi, a powerful Goddess who bestows power to anyone who sacrifices a human being to her.
The Bollywood fantasy movie is insanely fun to watch and has aged well. It’s one of the best free movies on YouTube.
Watch Pataal Bhairavi here:
Kader Khan’s Mantrik is a run of the mill character, a staple one in the many mock-mytho movies that released in the five decades before movies like Drona put a clamp on them. However, Kader Khan infuses a unique aspect to it, I think he even created atleast shreds of a whole new language for the movie. Check him out conversing with Asrani and you will get the drift.
Also, he creates a distinct characteristic to the villain, a mytho Ravan. Who, though smitten by a princess and kidnapping her, doesn’t believe in dishonoring her. In fact, waiting for her to fall in love with him. That’s the same person who has no qualms about beheading a fellow human being to gain world-conquering power. That kind of conscience for a Bollywood villain is leagues ahead of all the woke aspects in Bollywood movies today.
Its sad to see that the typical Bollywood producer no longer has the liver to mount a fantasy movie, but that’s not without justification. Shashi Kapoor lost all he had with Ajooba. Goldie Behl has made several movies post Drona, but that’s still his unfortunate calling card. Maybe we should look at movies like movies and allow them to exist outside the world of being a blockbuster.
Watching this Bollywood fantasy movie, it’s weird to think that he wasn’t part of the Ramsay movies stable and I do not why. Somehow, both these iconic personalities missed the bus to work together. Though, I cannot say that he didn’t work in any of the horror movies. Kader Khan’s filmography is an industry in itself.
Given the insane number of Bollywood releases every year, there might a token horror movie or even a Ramsay movie that Kader Khan starred in. I have gone through at least three websites that have the complete Kader Khan filmography and none of them have a horror movie to his credit. Did Kader Khan not like horror movies? Was he out of reach for the Ramsays, or Vinod Talwar, or Mohan Bhakri? We will never know.