Profession: Actor , Lyricist, Supporting Actor
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Personal Details

  • Also Know as :- Iftekhar
  • Profession:- Actor , Lyricist, Supporting Actor
  • Gender :- male
  • Birthdate:- 22 Feb 1920
  • Status:- Married
  • Active Years:- 04 Mar 1995

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Indian Film History
Indian Film History
Indian Film History

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Iftekar – The character actor who played Police Officer with panache

“Don, Police ne thumhe charoon taraf se gher liya hai….”

Remember this dialogue from Amitabh Bachchan’s hit film Don, when DSP D' Silva surrounds the building in which Helen had trapped Don with her seductive dance number Yeh mera dil pyar ka deewana….. ? Wanna know what is the real name of DSP D’Silva?

Well, his real name is Iftekar, Indian Cinema famous character actor, who ruled the 60’s and 70’ and was almost stereotyped as Police officer. Among his hit films as police officer include Zanjeer, Fakira, Johny Mera Naam, Daag, Ittefaq etc.

Besides police officer roles he even did many character roles in films like Sangam, Sholay, Nikaah, Mashaal etc. In fact he even played negative roles too like Deewaar, Bandini, Sawan Bhadon etc.

Filmmaker Ravi Tondon conned film buffs in Khel Khel Mein (1975) due to his famous police officer image. In the film he gave Iftekar the lead villain’s role as Black Cobra but movie buffs were fooled as he is recognized in cop roles so audience felt Black Cobra is Dev Kumar (famous villain) but in the climax it is revealed Dev Kumar is cop and Iftekar Black Cobra!  

Wanted to be a singer like Saigal but became actor


Iftekar was much passionate about singing and arts. After matriculation (SSC), he did a diploma course in Painting from Lucknow College of Arts.


Since his father was well settled and a man of modern thoughts, he encouraged his son to pursue his passion. Iftekar had a good voice and would imitate legendary singer K.L. Saigal and aspired to become a singer.


Since in those days Kolkatta was the hub of Cinema and Music, Iftekar’s father supported his son to try his luck in Kolkatta. With parent’s approval, a confident Ifteqar, of just 20 years, reached Kolkatta and approached HMV. Music Composer, Kamal Das Gupta, who was in charge of HMV.


Gupta was impressed by Iftekar’s voice and recorded a disc containing two songs but the disc was not a success.


Hence Iftekar’s father engaged him to a girl Sayeeda in Kanpur and asked him to follow a new career of his choice! But when Iftekar was being engaged, in the midst of the engagement ceremony, his father received a telegram from Kamal Dasgupta asking him to report to Kolkatta immediately.

Iftekar married a Jew girl amidst much opposition


When Iftekar returned to Kanpur after a flop stint in singing at Kolkatta, his father engaged him to a Muslim girl Sayeeda but when Iftekar went to Kolkatta for the second time to become an actor he fell in love with a Jew girl, residing in the same building.


 Initially, the girl called Hannah Joseph, did not gave much attention to Iftekar’s attempt to woo her but when she found that he was serious and a man of etiquette she gave-in.


But there was stiff resistance from both the family. Hannah’s family being orthodox was quite opposed but since Iftekar’s father was a man of modern views, he approved the marriage.


Hannah Joseph accepted Islam and was rechristened as Rehana Ahmed.


Before marriage Iftekar broke his ties with Sayeeda, whom he was engaged.

Iftekhar was overjoyed and felt he has got singing assignment but…


After completing his engagement ritual and customs, Iftekar rushed to Kolkatta but instead of singing assignment he was surprised to find that Kamal Dasgupta had recommended his name as an actor in M.P. Production. Iftekar was excited but alas though M.P. Production signed him but they did not make any films and one fine morning Iftekar was kicked out from the company.


Iftekar had to struggle a lot to fetch his first film


After a lot of struggle Iftekar got his debut film Taqrar (1944) produced by Art Films-Kolkata. The movie was a hit and next Iftekar got Ghar. His third film was Rajlaxmi opposite top star of that era Kanan Devi.

 The highlight of the film was that it was produced by M.P. Production, who had earlier kicked out Iftekar from their company but after Iftekar became a star they approached him with folded hands and signed him.


The ugly Indo-Pak partition wrecked Iftekar’s stardom


When life seemed to be blooming and Iftekar turning a star in Kolkatta, life took a drastic change.


 The Indo-Pak partition wrecked Iftekar’s stardom. Kolkatta was burning with communal riots. Iftekar’s relatives moved to Pakistan, but Iftekar did not go. Instead on actress Kanan Devi’s request he moved to Mumbai.


In Kolkatta, once Iftekar had me Ashok Kumar, hence when Kanan Devi wrote a recommendation letter to Ashok Kumar, Iftekar heaved a sigh of relief. On reaching Mumbai he met Ashok Kumar at Bombay Talkies, who welcomed him with warmth and also offered him a role in Bombay Talkies film.


The film was ironically called Muqaddar (1950) because it literally changed the Muqaddar (Destiny) of Iftekar


In the 50’s and 60’ he became a permanent fixture in Bollyood doing all kinds of character roles like Sagaai (1966), Teesri Kasam (1966), Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (1964),Shehnai (1964), Apne Huye Paraye (1964) , Grahasti (1963) , Bandini (1963), Professor (1962), Dilli Ka Thug (1958), Jagte Raho (1956)


Other works


Iftekar taught painting to Ashok Kumar


Iftekar, who was a good painter kept painting as hobby and also taught painting to Ashok Kumar. Few are aware Iftekar had painted few painting for the film Door Gagan Ki Chaoon Mein, a film made by Kishore Kumar.






Iftekar became immortal as Police Inspector with Ittefaq


Iftekar had high regards for Ashok Kumar because he had opened doors of Bollywood for him. The two were good friends and Iftekar had even taught Ashok Kumar to paint.


Once Ashok Kumar fell ill and the doctors advised him to drink a glass of whisky before dinner. Since Iftekar was his best friend, he would daily accompany Ashok Kumar, till he became fit and fine.


Once B.R.Chopra spotted Iftekar at Ashok Kumar’s house and was impressed by Iftekar’s regal personality. He offered him an author backed role of a Police Officer investigating a murder mystery.


 The film was Ittefaq staring Rajesh Khanna in the lead role. The film was a taut suspense thriller with no song and was directed by Yash Chopra.


When Iftekar wore the Police uniform he looked precisely a real cop. Further his body language, his dialogue delivery and his histrionics gelled so magnificently in the role of a Police Officer that he caught stereotyped for the rest of his career!

Among his 400 films, Iftekar must have done over 150 roles as policeman! 

# Released Date Type Credited As Movie
1 22 Apr 2008 Film Supporting Actor Yaar Meri Zindagi
2 01 Jan 1993 Film Supporting Actor Kala Coat
3 01 Jan 1992 Film Actor Hayratt
4 19 Apr 1991 Film Supporting Actor Yeh Aag Kab Bujhegi
5 08 Mar 1991 Film Supporting Actor Iraada
6 01 Jan 1991 Film Supporting Actor Lakhpati
7 07 Dec 1990 Film Supporting Actor Shiva
8 12 Nov 1990 Film Supporting Actor Kaarnama
9 01 Jan 1990 Film Supporting Actor Vidrohi
10 01 Jan 1990 Film Supporting Actor Kaaranama