Friday, October 4, 2019

Goodbye Kaalia: Remembering Viju Khote (1941 - 2019)

(What will happen to you, Kaalia?) 

"Sardar, maine aap ka namak khaya hai.
(Boss, I have been loyal to you. ("Have eaten your salt (namak)" implies loyalty.)

"Toh ab goli kha...
(Then eat a bullet now..)

(Gabbar presses the gun against Kaalia's forehead and presses the trigger...)

Approximately 44-odd years since he was shot dead onscreen playing henchman Kaalia to lunatic dacoit Gabbar Singh, veteran actor Viju Khote has finally found his peace. 

The 77-year-old actor, known to play bit roles in many Hindi and Marathi movies throughout his five-decade long career passed away yesterday due to multiple organ failure. Apart from Sambaa, Kaalia was the only other recognizable henchman from Gabbar's dacoit gang in Sholay.

Stereotyping & the death of an actor 
As it happens with many Hindi movie actors, Viju Khote was typecast to play the henchman in numerous other movies. Stereotyping an actor based on appearance and repeating a 'hit' character is a Hindi movie curse few actors emerge from and Khote couldn't either. Alas, for here was an actor capable of playing any shade, given the chance.

Galti se mistake ho gaya
Who can forget the bumbling henchman Robert in Rajkumar Santoshi's cult comedy Andaaz Apna Apna and his hilarious punchline,"Galti se mistake ho gaya." ("The mistake happened by mistake.") 

Also, watch his timing when he matches the amazing Paresh Rawal in the same movie with, "Cheene dalne ka time ho gaya sir?" ("Is it the right time to put in the sugar, sir?").

Last word: Andaaz Apna Apna sequel 
Andaaz Apna Apna director Rajkumar Santoshi spoke to the media on Khote's death, summing up Khote's unfulfilled career,"He was a fantastic actor with very good timing. No one could’ve played Robert like he did. He would drop by whenever he was in Juhu. I’m currently writing the second part of Andaz Apna Apna and had a role for him in mind. He didn’t get the roles he deserved.” 

Rest in peace Viju Khote, and thank you for Kaalia, Robert and many other wonderful characters. 

Sholay fans video recommendation!
Sholay fans, additional recommended viewing - Viju Khote's delightful cameo as Kaalia in Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? (2010), watch out for his chemistry with Paresh Rawal in this Ajay Devgn-Konkana Sen Sharma comedy.