I am positive many might have heard this toe-tapping number from the 1975 movie “Kaala Sona” (Sun Sun Kasam Se… Lagu Tere Kadam Se… Raha Jaye Na Humse… Gale Lag Ja… Gale Lag Ja). The film music was by R. D. Burman and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The song was not only cast on actor Danny Denzongpa and Fareeda Jalal but was also the only Hindi song from the movie “Kaala Sona” that was sung by Danny himself along with Asha Bhosle. Danny proved his creative skills than not only as a good actor but also as a singer. As a villain getting the chance to sing in one’s movies is something very rare.
The sexagenarian actor Danny Denzongpa (original name Tshering Phintso Denzongpa) would have been the baddie Bakhtawar in the movie Hum but Danny is also one of the best dressed and dashing villains from our Indian Film Industry.
Danny was born in Gangtok, Sikkim. He was very keen to join the Indian army but on his Mother’s advice he dropped his plans of joining the army. He applied for an acting course at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune instead.
It was Director B. R. Ishara’s movie “Zaroorat” where Danny was first featured. Next project he got was with Director Gulzar Saab’s “Mere Apne” in which Danny played a small role of a puppeteer. To prepare for this role Danny admits to having gone out to meet a puppeteer in Santa Cruz. His dear friend from Sikkim once wrote a letter to Danny stating, “It’s because of your good work you created a strong foothold and name within the industry. Early days looking at us people use to call us as Chinese but today if they see us they say look, Danny, is coming. Such has been the impact of your work within the masses”.
With his unconventional looks getting work within the industry was also a difficult task for him in his early days of struggle. He was always told neither he looks like a father nor like a brother. The only role offered to him then was that of a servant only. Let’s not forget the iconic role of Gabbar Singh from the movie “Sholay” was originally offered to him. Danny is the same villain who later in his life was seen working with the legendary superstar Amitabh Bachchan in Hum or Agneepath.
Danny’s family was into horse breeding no doubt his love for horses and horse riding started from an early age. Danny married to Gawa Denzongpa, Sikkimese princess. Apart from being a prolific actor, he is also a good painter, a writer, and a sculptor. He and his brother are also the Director’s handling prospering business of breweries in Sikkim, Orissa, and Guwahati. Danny is very clear and has adhered to this for many years – When working he would never shoot during summer or rains as he would be off to his hometown Sikkim.
The only brush I had with Danny Denzongpa was during late 90’s. We were on the flight to Bangalore (now Bengaluru) and Danny was on board the same flight. I was excited to meet him but was equally apprehensive too. 90’s was not the time where social media or taking pictures with celebrities was so active. Those were the days of autographs. Minutes before landing I gathered courage and went to meet Danny at his seat and took his autograph to which he happily obliged. The short conversation I had with Danny I learned that he was heading off to Bangalore for the shoot of his upcoming movie then namely “China Gate”. No doubt the whole crew of China Gate was on board the same flight.
Danny is indeed the best-dressed personality even today at the ripe age of 69. Danny had a huge fan following then be it, boys or girls. Some girls looking forward to marriage alliance with him whereas others used to just come outside his bungalow to get the glimpse of their favorite dashing villain.
Niilesh A Raje is an independent writer who has contributed this piece. Niilesh firmly believes in making writing as one’s habit and expressing views as very important. With words as our tools of thought, Niilesh feels one should keep the channel of communication open by reaching the minds of our readers.
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