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Meet the Busiest Actor in Bollywood

Last updated on: December 24, 2018 15:03 IST

Raza Murad has featured in over 500 movies, and he's not slowing down anytime soon.
Continuing our series: Actors We Love.
Interview: Patcy N/Rediff.com
Videos and Production: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

At 68, Raza Murad is one of the busiest actors in Bollywood.

Surprising, isn't it?

The actor, who has spent five decades in show business, is still just as sought after as before, bagging noticeable roles in some of Bollywood's biggest projects.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, he points out, repeated only three actors in his latest films, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Raza Murad.

The man with the booming voice started his career in 1972 with odd roles.

His father Murad was a well-known character actor, but it took the son a while to make a name for himself.

He got his big break in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Namak Haraam in 1973. Raj Kapoor's Prem Rog, in which he played the main villain, made sure there was no looking back.

Raza Murad looks back at his long career:

 

Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

Even though his father was a well known actor, their home did not have a filmi atmosphere. They were, in fact, a very conservative family.

Not many know that Zeenat Aman is his first cousin; Zeenat's father Amanullah Khan and Raza Murad's mother are siblings.

When Raza Murad was young, he did not know what his father did for a living. All he knew was that his father was someone famous because of the love and respect he got from people.

 

 

At 18, Raza Murad enrolled at the Film and Television Institute of India.

After finishing the two-year course, he starred in his first film, Ek Nazar in 1972.

The offers started coming in, and he kept the kitchen fires burning.

But he didn't get the work he really desired.

 

Then Namak Haraam happened, thanks to Gulzar.

Raza Murad looks back on his early years, including Hrishikesh Mukherjee's brief to him.

Hrishida gave the actor two sets of kurta pajamas and asked him to wear them daily, without washing them until the shoot was over. He asked Raza Murad to refrain from taking a bath as well.

On the day of the shoot, Nitin Mukesh, then an assistant director on the film, cautioned him against the film's leading actor Rajesh Khanna. The superstar, Mukesh said, was probably going to be hostile to him. Find out why, in the video below.

 

Raza Murad wanted to work with Raj Kapoor so he asked his friend Randhir Kapoor, with whom he had worked in Ram Bharose, to set up a meeting.

Randhir explained that his father only made heroine-oriented films, so what role would Raza get in them?

As luck would have it, an offer from a Raj Kapoor movie dropped into his lap.

The film was Prem Rog, and changed Raza Murad's career.

 

Raza Murad says he never says no to work since he struggled for 14 years. There were times when he sat at home for months as there was no work.

He started his career with Rs 500 and went on to earn Rs 2,000 per day.

After Prem Rog, life changed and he started working for 18 to 20 hours a day.

 

Among those who inspired Raza Murad was Pran.

Bollywood's favourite villain would report to work before time and would be ready in his costume and make-up.

"He had the enthusiasm of a 14-year-child," Raza Murad recalls with a smile.

There were others who really inspired the actor.

Watch the video to discover who they were:

 

"I was really touched when I reached the sets of Padmaavat and I greeted Sanjay Leela Bhansali," Raza Murad remembers.

"He hugged me, held my hand high and told everyone, 'Razasaab is with us again. I cannot think of a film without Razasaab!'"

"That was such a big compliment for me."

 

He has acted in a 30-minute short film, Uncle On the Rocks, where he plays an elderly man who finds it difficult to date women with modern technology.

Working from a time where there was no television to doing a digital movie today, Raza Murad acknowledges that newer avenues have opened up for actors.

 

In the video below, Raza Murad explains what #MeToo means to him:

Patcy N / Rediff.com in Mumbai
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