A Lesser Known Khan , Who Was Not Less Talented
(Imtiaz Khan , Brother Of Amjad Khan, Quits The Stage Of Life)
Ali Peter John
Like everyone else in the country and the world , I too was seriously thinking about this unexpected and entirely scary friend called Corona virus , when i recieved the most unfortunate news for me in recent times. It was about the death of my very old and good friend, Imtiaz Khan, who was the elder brother of Amjad Khan, one of the best friends I had in the industry.
I had first heard about both Imtiaz and Amjad as the sons of the veteran actor , better known as a villain, Jayant , whose real name was Zacharia Khan , a true Pathan , who was originally from Peshawar in Pakistan and who both the brothers firmly believed was a far better actor than Dilip Kumar. I knew Imtiaz and Amjad as two very talented theatre actors who regularly took part in inter- collegiate competitions in Bombay, but they were also known as tough man who were known all over campuses as young men who were better known for the fights they picked up and for which they were known in every major police station in the suburbs of Bombay
They were also known for the intense rivalries they had with different theatre groups and for solving disputes by the power of their fists of fury. They were also very well educated, with Amjad holding a post graduate degree in Philosophy and who had stood first in the subject in the subject in the Bombay University..
I first met the two brothers in a house bang opposite the Mehboob Studios. Their father had just died of Cancer and I who was a junior was asked by my editor to write a complete obituary about their father. I had started with interviewing Amjad who was a little nervous because there were just two weeks left for “Sholey”, his neck or break film , but he still gave me one of the best interviews and had inputs coming from Imtiaz. I didn’t have to talk to anyone to write the piece on Jayant and when it was published , both the brothers were the first to call me and congratulate me and thank me for doing just this to their father. It marked the beginning of our friendship which lasted for years and now it really hurts to know that both of them are no more part of this world.
Imtiaz was the most excited brother when Amjad became a superstar and he became his source of inspiration to keep going , without worrying about how his own career was shaping.
He was always a part of Amjad’s home and we met regularly in the bungalow Amjad had built after Gabbar Singh made him a cult figure.They were always full of life and even pulled each other’s legs whenever they found an opportunity. I tried to see if Imtiaz had any traces of jealousy about his brother growing in to an icon, but miserably becaus Imtiaz was all praise for Amjad. Imtiaz could not make it as big as Amjad, but he was satisfied playing the smaller villain in big films like “Yaadon Ki Baaraat “, “Dayavaan”
and a Muslim social called” NoorJahaan” he also directed some small films like “Pyaara Dost”, “Maan Gaye Ustaad”, and “Wattan”, film which was never released.
I lost touch with Imtiaz after Amjad died and his bungalow had made way for a multi-storeyed monstrosity in the midst of the posh Pali Hill and Imtiaz and his wife Krutika Desai lived in an apartment in the Lokhandwala area but i can never forget that one story which brought the two brothers together when Amjad was at the peak of his popularity.
A gossip magazine called Cine Blitz had carried a very nasty piece about Imtiaz in which the journalist had written about all the affairs Imtiaz had with some of the leading actresses ,which included Rekha. The article had some explicit sexual undertones to it, which drove the brothers mad.
The evening after the article appeared, they found out where the journalist was and they were told that the journalist called Poky was celebrating his article at the Shamiana restaurant of the Taj Mahal Hotel.
They cancelled all their other appointments and drove straight to the Taj and walked up to the table where Poky was sitting with his friends , sipping beer. Imtiaz took out a dagger and dug it in the table where Poky was sitting.
They did not say a word and they did not even pull out the dagger before they told Poky that he should not be seen in Bombay again and the earlier he left the city, it would be better for him and his life. That was the last time Poky was seen in Bombay. His career as a journalist was over and he had run away to Nepal where he took up a job as a restaurant manager and where he is till now when i last heard about him..
Imtiaz was a major source of inspiration for Amjad when he directed controversial films like “Police Chor” and “Ameer Aadmi Gareeb Aadmi ” films which faced rough weather when the censors mauled them mercilessly, because of Amjad lashing out at the policies of the cencors and specially for his blistering verbal attacks on the then Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting , Mr. H. K. L. Bhagat who was one of the architects of the infamous Emergency proclaimed by the Iron woman of India , Mrs Indira Gandhi.
These were two Khans who ruled long before the new brigade of Khans took over.
Will we have two Khans like Imtiaz and Amjad again? Knowing the mettle of the Khans who are ruling today , I dont see any hope at least till these new Khans find the courage and the conscience which i am sorry to say are missing in them , of which they have shown ample proof during the last few months when the nation is battling the enemy called communal disharmony which is more poisonous than the curse of this new enemy of man called Corona Virus….