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Life Lessons from Kader Khan

By Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Last updated on: January 04, 2019 23:07 IST
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Kader Khan had a rich career, layered with some brilliant writing and impactful one-liners.

And there's a lot you can learn from it.

His dialogues have lessons hidden in them. Syed Firdaus Ashraf digs them up for you.


Lesson: Hunger is the greatest motivator.
Movie: Roti (1974)

'Insaan ko dil de, jism de, dimaag de lekin yeh kambakht pet mat de. Usse pet deta hai toh usse bhook mat de. Usse bhook deta hai toh do waqt ki roti ka intezam karke bhej, varna tujhe insaanon ko paida karne ka koi haq nahin hai.'

('Give human beings a heart, a body, a mind, but don't give him this blasted stomach. If you have given him a stomach, don't give him hunger. If you have given him hunger, then ensure he has two meals a day otherwise you have no right to create human beings.')

One of Kader Khan's earliest films with Director Manmohan Desai, Roti released in socialist India where food shortages were a way of life.

Hunger and poverty were the order of the day and leading man Rajesh Khanna had to fight against all odds to fill his stomach.

The dialogue may sound irrelevant for people with full bellies in today's times, but try spending a day without food and you will agree with Kader Khan's words.


Lesson: When you take on a stronger opponent, don't falter.
Movie: Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

'Tum apun ko dus-dus maara, apun tumko sirf do maara par solid mara ki nahin? Hai ki nahi?'

('You hit me ten times, I hit you just twice. But I made those two count, didn't I?')

David won the battle against Goliath, but what if he had lost?

What would he have said after pelting the mighty Goliath?

Amitabh Bachchan's Anthony takes on a stronger opponent and loses. But he makes sure he has the last word.


Lesson: In spite of all odds, do not give up on life.
Movie: Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)

'Zinda hai woh log jo maut se takrate hain, murde se battar hain woh log jo maut se ghabrate hain.'

('Those who take on Death are alive; those who fear Death are worse than corpses.')

Kader Khan grew up in poverty before Bollywood gave him a better life.

In Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, he writes with feeling for the orphan Sikandar (Amitabh Bachchan) and one can instantly connect with him.

One may be down in life, but one should never give up the good fight.


Lesson: It's not easy to make money. A penny saved is a penny earned.
Movie: Khel Khel Mein (1975)

'Char aane kaamane ke liye aath aane ka jhoot bolna padta hai, samjhe. Boond boond se samundar bharta hai.'

('To earn 25 paise, one has to utter lies worth 50 paise. Little drops can help create the mighty ocean.')

You may actually miss the scene while watching the film.

It is barely a minute long and stars two familiar faces from that decade, Yunuz Parvez and Janki Das.

But their exchange is important and Janki Das's dialogue is relevant even today. Save your pennies because it's not easy to make money.


Lesson: In love with a Casanova? It won't last long!
Movie: Khoon Bhari Maang (1988)

'Ladki ka model ho ya gaadi ka, waqt ke saath-saath dono purani ho jaati hai. Aur main purani cheezon ka shaukeen nahin hoon.'

('Whether it is a girl or a car, both age with the passage of time. And I am not interested in old things.')

This dialogue stands as a dire warning to every girl in love with a Casanova.

Such men are not interested in commitment.

They get bored quickly and tend to move on.


Lesson: It's not easy to walk on the straight and narrow path.
Movie: Agneepath (1990)

'Yeh duniya bahut bigdi hui hai, Gaitonde saab. Iss duniya mein jinda rehne ke liye bigdaa hua hona bahut zaroori hai. Jo sudhar gaya woh gaya... upar... maloom?'

('This world is a bad place, Gaitonde sir. To survive here, one has to be crooked. Those who turn a new leaf and become good won't last long.')

Kader Khan wrote some of his best dialogues for Agneepath which gave Amitabh Bachchan his first National Award.

Bachchan's character in the movie is convinced it's not easy to live honestly in a world as crooked as the one we live in.

But it's not impossible either.


Lesson: Everyone is equal
Movie: Hum (1991)

'Tumhara khoon khoon, hamara khoon paani hai. Tumhara naam naam, hamara naam gaali hai. Tum karo zulm toh woh sarkari hai, aur hum kare fariyad toh woh gaddari hai.'

('Does blood flow in your veins and water in ours? Your reputation matters, but our reputation can be abused. If you commit any atrocity, it's legal, but if we plead our case, it's treason.')

Kader Khan adds humour to this dialogue -- inspired by Sohrab Modi's legendary lines in the 1958 Dilip Kumar-Meena Kumari starrer Yahudi -- when he delivers his version of it as a poor, talented but itch-plagued stage actor.

The underlining message is clear. The rich exploit the poor and feel their lives have more value than the lives of 'lesser mortals'.

But it really doesn't matter if one is born rich or poor; the colour of everyone's blood is red.


Lesson: Don't be afraid to face a rogue even if he threatens you.
Movie: Karma (1986)

'Iss thapad ki goonj sunni tum ne?'

('Did you hear the echo of this slap?')

Anupam Kher's master criminal Dr Dang warns Dilip Kumar when the police officer slaps him in jail.

Later, he murders Dilip Kumar's family.

But Dilip Kumar refuses to give up and ensures Dang gets his just dues.


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Syed Firdaus Ashraf /