Amol Palekar –The Boy –Next –Door Actor, who gave a run for money to Amitabh Bachchan
70’s actor Amol Palekar
has become synonymous with Gol Maal
, the hilarious all time hit comedy film in which he played dual role, with such panache that he left behind Indian Cinema’s top three Superstar viz. Amitabh Bachchan
); Rajesh Khanna
) and Rish Kapoor
) and won the Filmfare Best Actor in Gol Maal
Termed by media as Boy-next-Door for portraying roles related to common man and the society, what made Amol Palekar
great is that despite the Amitabh Bachchan
’s action phenomena, Amol Palker did not submit, instead he gave hits after hits from his debut film Rajnighandha. In fact in 1976 he gave a row of hits Chhoti Si Baat
and Gharonda and registered a unique record of being India’s first actor to give a Hat-Trick of hits in his debut!!!
His other hit films include Shyam Benegal
, Vidhu Vinod Chopra
, Basu Chatterjee’s Baaton Baaton Mein, Hrishikesh Mukherjee
’ Naram Garam
, and Rang Birangi
, B. Nagi Reddy Shriman Shrimati .
As a director too Amol Palekar
left his imprints in films like Ankahee
(1985), Thodasa Roomani Ho Jaaye
(1990), Daayraa (1996) and Kairee
(2000). His English film Quest won the National Award for the Best Feature Film in English. His only commercial film Paheli
, starring Shah Rukh Khan
and Rani Mukerji
, was India's official Oscar entry for the Best Foreign Film in 2006.
24 November 1944
Screen Name/ Original Name
Kamalakar Palekar –Father worked at General Post Office
Suhasini Palekar – Worked at private firm
Three sister - Neelam, Rekha and Unnati.
Chitra Palekar - first wife
Shalmalee Palekar (From Chitra)
Samiha Palekar ( From Sandhya Gokhale )
From Banker to acting
Amol Palekar was the only boy in the family of three sisters hence his parents fulfilled all his ambitions. After studies he expressed his inertest in painting hence he was admitted in Mumbai’s most prestigious Art School - Sir JJ School of Arts.
After graduating in Painting he held many one-man exhibitions and participated in many group shows but he soon realized a career in painting is not financially secure hence to be financially sound he took up a clerk’s job at Bank of India.
Hence he was shuttling between his job at bank and at evening following his passion of painting when he fell in love with Chitra, an aspiring theater actress. It was Chitra, who forced him to visit theater and slowly she got Amol Palekar engaged into acting as he she found Amol Palekar to be highly talented.
Eminent theatre Artist Satyadev Dubey spotted Amol Palekar
Once while Chitra was directing Amol Palekar at a drama rehearsal, Satyadev Dubey was around and was keenly observing Amol.
Later he called Amol and gave him his first break in his Marathi drama, Shantata! Court Chaalu Aahe. The play was a huge hit and drama critics were overwhelmed by newcomer Amol Palekar’s performance.
A leading English National daily newspaper in its review applauded Amol Palekar’s performance as ‘Suave’.
When Amol Palekar read the review he was on sky nine. Recalling the incident, Amol Palekar said, “I was excited but I did not knew the meaning of ‘Suave’ so I rushed and showed the newspaper to my guru Satyadev Dubey. Dubey Sir was delighted but instead of telling the meaning he asked me to hunt a dictionary and search its meaning.”
Amol informed that though Dubey asked him to find the meaning of the word but he also cautioned him not be carried away after knowing its meaning. He warned him that people have loved his acting and now it is his duty to live up to their exceptions. His words were encouraging and Amol began seriously learning acting.
A brief about Amol Palekar’s two marriages
Amol Palekar met his first wife Chitra in the early 60’s. She was Amol Palekar sister’s friend. She was a budding theater actress and saw immense talent in Amol Palekar as an actor.
She brought Amol Palekar into theatres and the two married in 1968. The relation lasted for 30 years but later things became unstable and the two decided to divorce.
Sandhya Gokhale, Amol Palker’s second wife came in his life, when he was making films. She was screenplay writer of his films.
Academically Sandhya Gokhale was a qualified lawyer and practiced in America for 10 years. When she came back to India, she developed passion for writing and began writing screenplay.
Incidentally when Amol Palekar divorced her first wife, Sandhya Gokhale had already come into his life hence the duo married and are living a happy married life.
Basu Chatterjee picked Amol Palekar from theater to Cinema
Notable filmmaker Basu Chatterjee, who had given hit films Sara Akash (1969) and Piya Ka Ghar (1972) spotted Amol Palekar at a play and signed him for his triangle love story Rajnigandha (1974). The movie was a simple love story of a boy-next-door with a lady who has earlier bad experience in love.
The film was super-hit and won Filmfare Best Critic Film Award. Amol Palekar won rave reviews as an out of the box actor.
Amol Palekar hit a hat-trick of hit films and set a record
After the mega success of Rajnigandha, Amol Palekar got stereotyped as a boy-next-door and hit a hat-trick with the consecutive hit films Chhoti Si Baat, Chitchor and Gharonda. Incidentally all were released in 1976 and all were super hit.
Besides commercial cinema, Amol Palekar was also applauded by parallel cinema. Shyam Benegal’s Bhumika, Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Khamosh, Gulzaar's Gharaonda
Amol Palekar gave a tough time to Amitabh Bachchan
With Zanjeer in 1973 Amitabh Bachchan literally swayed the 70’s as the angry man and gave action moves a major thrust. However when everybody was making action films, Amol Palekar was the only actor who swam in anti-direction.
He declined action films and did only family based soft love stories and comedies like Damaad, Baaton Baaton Mein, Naram Garam, Shriman Shrimati, Rang Birangi, Apne Paraye and of course Gol Maal in which he brought the cinema house down with his witty double role!
Besides Hindi Cinema, Amol Palekar acted in many regional films like Tuch Maazi Raani (Marathi) ; Olangal (Malayalam) , Chena Achena (Bengali), Sringara Masa (Kannada) Jeevana Jyoti (Telugu).
Best Actor in Gol Maal (1980)
Amol Palekar’s Stint as Film Director
Amol Palekar ventured in film direction with the Marathi homicidal drama Akreit (1980) - was followed by such notable Hindi films as Ankahee (1985), Thodasa Roomani Ho Jaaye (1990), Daayraa (1996) and Kairee (2000).
In 2006, his English film Quest won the National Award for the Best Feature Film in English and in 2011 he won the Maharashtra State Film Award for his Marathi film Dhoosar, on Alzheimer's disease.
Anaahat (2003) was the first Marathi film to be screened in a multiplex and it ran for 60 weeks.
His only commercial film Paheli, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji, was India's official Oscar entry for the Best Foreign Film in 2006
Amol Palekar suppressed Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna and won Filmfare Award for Gol Maal
The 27th Filmfare awards Nite in 1980 is regarded as one of the most stunning Filmfare Nites because that year an ordinary actor Amol Palekar suppressed top three superstar of Indian Cinema who were in the race of Filmfare award.
Amitabh Bachchan was in race for his rock-solid performance in Kala Pathar, Rajesh Khanna for his superlative act in Amar Deep and Rish Kapoor for his poignant performance in Sargam. But Amol Palkar , suppressed all these top stars and won the prestigious award for Best Actor for his brilliant performance in his all time hit classic Gol Maal.
What made Amol Palekar win the award was his perfect tuning with his co-star Utpal Dutt in the film that did wonders.
Amol Palekar in an interview said, “I give credit to my film director Hrishikesh Mukherjee and my co-star Utpal Dutt. Hrishikesh da was master in extracting the right performance.”
With Gol Maal, Amol Palekar became immortal in Indian cinema.