Veteran actor-comedian Jagdeep, who immortalized Soorma Bhopali, passes away at 81

Veteran actor-comedian Jagdeep, who immortalized Soorma Bhopali, passes away at 81

Actor Jagdeep, who died on Wednesday, will be laid to rest in a Bandra cemetery today.

Just when social networking sites were flooding with tributes to dance master Saroj Khan on her recent passing, Bollywood lost another gem, who with his perfect comic timing, entertained movie-goers for more than fifty years. Actor Jagdeep breathed his last late in the night of July 8, 2020, putting an end to decades of hard work in the film industry. Playing different roles in as many as 400 films, Jagdeep’s rich body of work has left a deep void in Bollywood, with members of the entire fraternity mourning his loss. The actor led a quiet life away from the cameras and was 81 at the time of his demise.

Born in 1939 in a small town of Datia in Madhya Pradesh, Jagdeep was born as Syed Ishtiyaque Ahmed Jafri to a barrister father and homemaker mother. Although the family was financially well-off, his father’s untimely demise during Partition left them in dire straits. That was when little Jagdeep was forced to sell soaps, combs, kites and other inconsequential items to keep the home fires burning. He entered the film industry at a young age, where as part of the audience, Jagdeep was supposed to clap at the end of a movie for a mere Rs. 3. Once when he noticed that a child actor couldn’t perfect his Urdu lines despite getting paid Rs. 6, Jagdeep volunteered to play that part and as they say, rest became history.

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Jagdeep entered the industry as a child artist, at age of nine, in B. R. Chopra’s ‘Afsana’. With quick roles in Guru Dutt’s ‘Aar Paar’ and ‘Mr. & Mrs. 55’, Jagdeep also acted in Bimal Roy’s cult classic ‘Do Bigha Zameen’. He went on to play child versions of actors like Dilip Kumar and Kishore Kumar back in the day, before appearing in the children’s film ‘Hum Panchi Ek Dal Ke’ (1957), for which he was honoured by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru himself. The former Prime Minister of India was so impressed by little Jagdeep’s performance that he gifted the actor his own walking stick, which was Jagdeep’s most cherished possession till the end of his days.

He continued to play significant roles in many movies and later went on to play lead roles as a grown up. Since the shift to lead roles in films like ‘Bindiya’, ‘Bhabhi’ and ‘Barkha’ did not fetch him much acclaim, Jagdeep then turned his attention to comic roles, which eventually became his forte. His most memorable comic performances were in films like ‘Sangram’, ‘Khan Dost’, ‘Agent Vinod’, ‘Teen Bahuraniyaan’, ‘Aaina’, ‘Swarg Narak’, ‘Pratigya’ and ‘Qurbani’ to name a few, along with ‘Sholay’, in which playing Soorma Bhopali became his most loved and most remembered role ever. Jagdeep also gave it a shot in Ramsey Brothers’ horror movies like ‘Purana Mandir and ‘Veerana’, which established him as a versatile actor. Jagdeep also directed a movie in 1988 called ‘Soorma Bhopali’ starring Dharmendra, Rekha and Amitabh Bachchan in the lead. He was last seen in a low-budget movie called ‘Masti Nahin Sasti’ in 2017, before he hung his boots.

Leaving behind an acting legacy and his immediate family, including actors Jaaved Jaffery and Naved Jaffery, two wives, a daughter and grandchildren and a host of fans to mourn the loss, Jagdeep passed away due to age-related ailments at his Bandra residence. His last rites will be performed at the Mazgaon crematorium in presence of his family and a few close aides from the film industry.

Ranveer Singh, Ajay Devgn, Ayushmann Khurrana, Anil Kapoor and other Bollywood celebs mourn the demise of Jagdeep ‘Soorma Bhopali’ of ‘Sholay’.

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You made our movie-watching experience fun, Jagdeep Sahab! Farewell Soorma Bhopali!

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