A K Hangal Forever

According to urban legend, A K Hangal, also known as the great grandfather of the nation, is the reverse Peter Pan. If Peter Pan was the boy who never grew old, AK Hangal is the old man who was never ever young.

That’s because for almost 40 years now we have seen A K Hangal essaying the role of the sympathy-inducing, doddering old man, his expressions and demeanor unchanged, as if eternally frozen in time.

How eternally I did not realize till I saw this picture in Rediff and its caption.

Yep that’s right. Hangal with late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The first thing that caught my eye was that at a time when Jawaharlal Nehru was in his 50s or 60s (he died in 1964), A K Hangal looks almost exactly as old as he looks today (i.e. he looks as old if not older than Nehru himself). Which in itself was not shocking because as previously mentioned, Hangal is eternally old. Incidentally, I would not have been surprised had Rediff published a picture of an old Hangal with Chandragupta Maurya, even though I would have been slightly taken aback by the fact that photography existed in Mauryan times.

What however made me crease my brow was that Chacha Nehru, as labeled in the picture, did not look like the first Prime Minister of India.

It was then that my eyes alighted, as it always does, on the Rediff comments section—that marvelously hilarious forum for regional and religional name-calling and poetic English. And there I discovered the truth (as I always do in the Rediff message board) from an alert commenter: this was a picture taken from a British TV series titled “The Last Viceroy” where Hangal played Sardar Patel and Nehru was played by Ian Richardson. And needless to say, Rediff does not distinguish between an actor who plays Nehru and Nehru himself.

Of course this small slip, a mistake anyone could make if you ask me, is nothing compared to the gaffe here where Rediff gives us a picture of an young Hangal.

Yeah right. An old Hangal with Nehru I can believe, even when Nehru looks a bit different.

But a picture of an a young Hangal?

That cannot be. It’s against the law of Physics.

Rediff—please use some common sense in the future. And yes some editorial control on the stuff you publish might also help.

59 thoughts on “A K Hangal Forever

  1. Given the publicity of Hangal sirji this would create, i’m sure people would now ask for a tonic to remain forever old.. lol!!

  2. I would not have been surprised had Rediff published a picture of an old Hangal with Chandragupta Maurya…
    awesome !! ROTFL

  3. and yes.. this was my first time to have commented first time .. yippees!!!

  4. Rediff baffles us again. What a mistake.

  5. Rediff publishes useless stories..and they do no background check about the authenticity of their stories..But this funny take on eternal Hangal sir sahab was funny…

  6. Interesting article. AK Hangal. Yeah always the elderly man. I never knew so much about his background before this refiff article.

    There is another actor (the one who played the role of SP in the old Don). He mostly plays the elderly police officer. Does anybody know his name.

  7. Hah! That was great. Rediff is becoming the Indian version of “The Onion” without trying to be.Idiots. And I agree with you about AK Hangal being the anti-peter-pan. Him, and to some extent Alok Nath.

  8. When I was a kid, I always wondered if Avtar Kishan HANGAL, the talented Kashmiri Pandit from Peshawar, was a distant relative of Gangubai HANGAL, the talented Hindustani singer from Karnataka. πŸ˜€

    Now, I am sure my hunch is right, thanks to the Vedic message of Vasudheiva Kutumabakam (β€œAll of Creation is One Family”).

  9. Don’t want to sound nitpicky, but I think “an young” is wrong grammar. Unless it is intentionally meant to keep in sync with the grammatical standards of Rediff’s message boards. πŸ™‚

    I say this because your posts usually subscribe to a pretty good standard of writing.

  10. @SomeGuy: Yes sorry. My mistake.

    @Dibyo: Iftekhar I think is the person you are thinking of. He died a few years ago if I am not mistaken.

  11. There is a perfectly good explanation for this. AK is part of secret band of Bollywood actors who went from 16 to 65 very quickly and then aged in dog years. He’s not alone: others come to mind. Om Prakash, my personal favorite Yunus Parvez, Om Shivpuri.

  12. Itna sannata kYon hai, bhai?

  13. LOL @ Chandragupta Maurya !!!

  14. If only I had gotten hold of the snap of the young Hangal when I wrote this post!

  15. last_commentator April 4, 2008 — 1:30 am

    Rediff rules!!!!
    Its one of the most entertaining outlet from India. TOI or IBN can never match up to Rediff no matter how many school kids they take as journalists.
    Eg. each film review of Raja Sen gets more user comments (i mean abuses) than the number of hits in other news sites.

  16. The other “eternally aged” actor that comes to mind is Leela Mishra…

  17. I wont be surprised if someday rediff gives us a photo of Hangal with Hrithik roshan with the caption “A.K.Hangal with the late emperor of India Jallaluddin Akbar”(not sure about the count of l’s in his name). Perfectly sync with both rediff’s and Hangal’s standards.

  18. GB, not sure on which date this story was published. Are you sure it is not an April fool thing? Not defending Rediff or anything, but I think there is a strong possibility.

  19. good observation, it always gave me a kick to see how hangal dadaji was the village eldest in both sholay and lagaan.
    his dialogue delivery was always insignificant; it was the look that was priceless.

  20. Rediff is the GOD of manipulation. They dont even bother to write truth as their fake stories get lapped up like anything.

    BTW GB, you observation is correct. Hangal looks as old even in his 90’s as he did in Sholay.

  21. Rediff is fast turning out to be the TOI of the Web. Recently they asked readers to discuss if Katrina Kaif is now the No.1 heroine and the next Madhuri-Sridevi( geez).

    It was a good portal intially, but of late it has totally gone down the drain. Still there r some good columns on it, notably by B.Raman. But many articles nowadays read like high school grafitti.

    The less said the better about their comments section. I stopped going there, lest i end up losing my sanity.

  22. Walter Solbchak April 4, 2008 — 8:27 am

    Rediff seems to have fixed the caption. Now it says “In the picture: Hangal in a still from Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy, where Ian Richardson played the late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru”

  23. Hahahahahahahaha,man i can’t stop laughing.This has to be the funniest stuff i’ve read this week.

    I heard that Alok Nath once acted in a soft porn movie.A lot of my cousins swear by this fact,could anybody here verify this fact for me?

  24. if you look carefully at the prehistoric bhimbetka paintings, in the lower left hand corner of cave 3a, you will see a startling portrait of a.k. hangal, as an old man.

    somewhere in the yucatan peninsula, where there are giant radio antennae trying to pick up the echoes of the big bang, they have picked up an image of a. k. hangal, still as an old man.

    i understand that at the forthcoming physics convention, wheelchair-steve plans to introduce a.k.h. as older-than-the-universe exhibit.


    good luck with that

  26. Anonymous@jungle April 4, 2008 — 12:45 pm

    “All the leading ladies of those days — like Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha — wanted to play my daughter. ”

    http://specials.rediff.com/movies/2008/apr/02sld3.htm – last line

    any comments πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  27. I love to read comments on rediff. sometimes they dont even care what the article is and start the topic again where they left before.
    they guys are really funny… πŸ™‚

    Wonderful post and observation as usual GB πŸ™‚


  28. Wonderful post. funniest thing I have read in a while. πŸ™‚

  29. Hi GB and fellow greatbongers,
    This is unrelated to the thread but i hope you guys help me.
    I’ll be in Kolkata this june for a couple of days. Could anyone tell me which are the must see places in kolkatta and what r the typically kolkattan things to do?

  30. Hilarious post as usual!

    By the way, do you rememebr the eternal Sub Inspector – Jagdish Raaj? I think he is Anitha Raaj’s father. But that poor dude always played a Sub-Inspector and for whatever reason, he was never promoted even to a Circle Inspector!

    Also, the eternal Britisher, Tom Alter, and his character was almost always “Surrr Jaaan”, not to be confused with Sir John!

  31. @ vinay

    victoria memorial (palladian-raj kinda building that houses victoria’s writing desk, koran written by aurangzeb. pictures by daniels etc. etc.)
    lawn littered with couples in eternal embrace.

    museum– overflowing with gandharva school of art, distant third cousin of t. rex, a pickled foetus etc etc.

    park street cemetery to see the graves of rose aylmer (overstuffed on pineapples) and other pukka sahibs.

    jaina temple– a riot of colours in one temple– filled with tiles and mirror work. opposite side — a calm and austere edifice in red sandstone and white marble.

    vivekananda’s ancestral house — restored magnificently

    art exhibitions in the academy of fine arts, birla academy etc.

    all the above meant for art-and-culture kinda person

    next lot is for the fun seeking folks out there.

    footpath outside the eastern side of the writers building at lunchtime–
    pan-indian streetfood galore at reasonable price.

    flury’s at park street
    superb european confectionery at quite a high price (at least, for me)

    footpath where fern road joins rashbihari avenue.
    second hand bookstalls.
    also free school street (drugs and other ‘entertainment’—AIDS guaranteed— also available).

    wondering at the marvellous public toilet near the ramkrishna mission on the southern avenue. it resembles the sydney opera house and has been named the ‘operaloo’ by yours truly.

    there are other typical pursuits such as smoking pot by the jadavpur university campus pond, eating biriyani at shiraz or dancing at the tantra/bodhi bar etc etc.

    ask around the neighbourhood. locate and sample best phuchka (panipuri). also taste mishti doi from the local cornucopia of sweets aka mishtanna bhandar.

    hope this helps you out.

  32. ha ha ha….m still laughing ….wat a hilarious post….GB hats off to you….and of course Mr Hangal….
    also GB i read a funny column in TOI about the plight of NRIs in India…I would love to have your views on the same….

  33. DumDum_er_Aantel April 4, 2008 — 10:24 pm


    Find some friends. Go to Park street.

    Park Street – Mags. Go upstairs and order Haywards 5000. Also order their famous Prawn fry.


    Park Street – Olypub. Order a peg of your favorite drink. You will be overwhelmed to see their overflow style of pouring drinks. Food is average and optional.

    Then find out the roll center(I think, it’s beside Oxford book store). Order a Double egg- mutton roll.

    Continue doing that for rest of the days.

  34. @Vinay:
    Whatever DumDem_er_Aantel has suggested with little additions:

    Mags: dont miss the fish finger

    Oly: dont miss the beef-steak

    Kusum snacks bar is the roll center right beside Olypub and if you go further down the alley beside Oly, you will get those Aids guranteed entertainment as well !!!
    (alternative option of roll-center is beduin near gariahat crossing, choose according to your convenience both are fab)

    Go to Rabindra Sarobar with potentially interesting company(on).

    Travel in a tram from esplanade to khidirpore and come back.

    Cheers!!! ( That is go back to Mags or Oly)

  35. Sorry to forget (which is almost a crime in this case):

    Definitely go to Coffee House with some friends.

  36. debasish ghosh April 5, 2008 — 9:47 am

    Your variety in terms of subject for posting is amazing.
    never thought that would come across a post as funny as this on a very uncommon topic as this.
    If Ray would have made FELUDA flicks Hangal would surely have been his choice of SIDHUJATHA

  37. Sid...No More The Kid April 5, 2008 — 12:48 pm

    @ Vinay:

    Swati sums it up beautifully. Just to add a minor detail, take out some time for a lazy brunch at Flyry’s and order the full english breakfast.
    On saturday evening, visit Someplace Else in Park Hotel for a drinkie with some good live bands playing.

  38. Sid...No More The Kid April 5, 2008 — 12:49 pm

    @ Vinay:
    Sorry. Read “Flyry’s” as “Flury’s” ….

  39. “eyes alighted, as it always does, on the Rediff comments sectionβ€”that marvelously hilarious forum for regional and religional name-calling and poetic English”

    Seriously, it is so true.

    Btw, I tried to find out if he ever looked young in a film (since the earliest I remember was Shaukeen where he potrayed an ‘old man’ ) – and I guess wikipedia gave the right answer- he started his career at 49 , so not much scope for any younger role πŸ˜‰

  40. Visited the rediff link…the fools have changed the last line to “Hangal in a still from Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy, where Ian Richardson played the late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru ” πŸ™‚

  41. I like rediff’s love guru chat πŸ˜‰ . Rediff is success coz it advertised email services very early in india. rediff could have lost if indiatimes had not asked for signing up to see the hot pictures gallery on its home page or anything intresting enough ..

  42. @Vikram

    Yes Papaji Alok, did act in a soft porn movie called Kachi Kali, way back in 1986 or 1987 i think.

  43. @vinay
    the beef steaks at the oly’s is called chateaubriand.

  44. “Incidentally, I would not have been surprised had Rediff published a picture of an old Hangal with Chandragupta Maurya, even though I would have been slightly taken aback by the fact that photography existed in Mauryan times.”

    “But a picture of an a young Hangal?

    That cannot be. It’s against the law of Physics.”

    Hilarious! πŸ˜€

    great post! πŸ™‚

  45. Well caught, GB, well caught. πŸ˜€

  46. Dumdum_er_Aantel April 6, 2008 — 3:12 pm


    Vising Coffee House and not ordering Chicken Kabiraji is considered to be sin. Stupid Hares.

  47. Really nice stuff, GBong.

    Since photography could not have existed when Hangal was young,
    may be we ought to carbon-date it and expose it as fraud. May be
    Hangal, unlike the other mortals, is moving in the other direction
    (i.e. from old age to youth, medically referred to as Gechhobaba
    Syndrome, also suffered by Jyoti Basu, another old Marxist), and
    it is a software projection of Hangal’s looks 60 years from now?

  48. Does Marxism increase longevity? Not just Hangal and Jyoti Babu, think about Harkishan Singh Surjeet. E. M. S. Namboodiripad died at 89. Hope all the communists in nervous nineties would centuries.

  49. I meant:
    Hope all the communists in nervous nineties would hit centuries.

  50. You seem to read Rediff a lot!

  51. @ Ratnakar

    Kacchi Kali hahahahahahahahhahahaahahahahha,oh my god!!!!,what the hell was he thinking

  52. Thank you so much Swati, Dum dum, brotish, sid.
    This is exactly the kind of info i was hoping to get..
    Cant wait to get to kolkatta – hope to eat the hilsa fish too..
    thanks again,

  53. Rediff does it again…check out this story. As in previous case, the readers have already pointed out that the lady in picture is Vijaylakshmi Pandit, and not Kamala Nehru as claimed by rediff’s caption.

  54. “According to urban legend, A K Hangal, also known as the great grandfather of the nation, is the reverse Peter Pan. If Peter Pan was the boy who never grew old, AK Hangal is the old man who was never ever young”


  55. hi’
    nice to hear that, but u 9 he has a son and the foto of their’s that i saw in a hindi magazine ‘sarita’ , it seemed his son was his younger brother, that defies that even now he has been able to maintain his charisma that he is considered to be the dadaji of everyone and yesssssssssssssss the quintessential ad of mera india jawan and his yell abe buddha tera baap!!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. In the above picture, it’s not real Nehru. It appears it’s some sort of film in which Hangal is playing sardar Patel.

  57. A K Hangal also had another attribute . He used to cry in all his films at least once. Only exceptions which I can remember are : – Parichay , Baawarchi (not sure if he didnt cry here) , and that film where he plays an old tharki aadmi who is after young girls along with Ashok Kumaar.

  58. At the rediff site:

    “In the picture: Hangal in a still from Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy, where Ian Richardson played the late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru”

  59. It is 2nd of feb 2012 and I googled A.K.Hangal while watching the film ‘Tapasya’
    where he plays a very olman (as usual πŸ˜‰ ) and then found this article …its a good one..and whats more thrilling is the last comment was by user named Puru on March 3,2011 and i am commenting on this article after almost a year !!

Have An Opinion? Type Away

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close