Eight years ago, on 10th May, 2010, one famous film personality had passed away with such calmness and in a low profile manner that for a pretty long time, several people were not aware of it. This famous personality was actor Mac Mohan. With this article, I am paying my tribute to this low profile actor who became immortal by playing Gabbar Singh’s sidekick, Saambha in Sholay (1975), the most successful Bollywood movie ever.Born in 1938 at Lucknow, Mac Mohan was the maternal uncle of the actress, Raveena Tandon. He started his career with a promising cameo in the legendary movie, Haqeeqat (1964) which is inarguably the best ever war movie made in India. He played a newly wed soldier in that and was able to leave a mark in that short role itself. However he did not get different types of roles in Bollywood and more or less became typed as the main villain’s sidekick. However he was talented and he showed it whenever got an opportunity. Two notable examples are – 1. Majboor (1974) in which he was cast as villain opposite Amitabh Bachchan, 2. Vishwasghaat (1976) in which he was the trusted right hand of Sanjeev Kumar (who played a father-son double role in that movie).However, even after appearing in some 200 movies, Mac Mohan is still remembered and will continue to be remembered for his Saambha act in Sholay. Sholay is such a blockbuster movie of Indian cinema that its dialogues and characters have become a part of the Indian folklore. Nobody liking Sholay can forget Gabbar Singh’s calling his sidekick – Arre O Saambha ! Even in his last Bollywood movie – Luck By Chance (2009), Mac Mohan played himself in a cameo, speaking his Sholay dialogue in front of the acting students – Poore Pachaas Hazaar (complete fifty thousands).
Mac Mohan’s slender personality was dignified by his moustache and more so by his beard. He always underplayed efficiently without resorting to any type of theatricals. Unfortunately, seldom he was given meaty and different roles. Hence his versatile personality could not come before the audience.While paying my tribute to him who left for his heavenly abode eight years back, I underscore a significant point that a movie is not just about the lead characters. The support cast is equally important and should be given proper credit for its effort. Now-a-days, the major credits are given at the end of the movie which nobody sees. It’s an injustice to the numerous contributors who remain unsung heroes. Earlier the practice of showing full credits in the beginning of the movie was a better and justified one. Mac Mohan is no more but Saambha of Sholay is immortal and will always remain in our memories.
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