Date of Birth : 01 January 1941
Place of Birth : -
Average Movie Rating for all Asrani Movies 1
That same Asrani is a very tame and quiet and almost holy life with just his wife, Manju, who is a failed actress from the FTII and their best friend Sushil Bhatnagar at the same 'Beach Apartments'. The only 'man' giving him company is the profile of Charlie Chaplin without whose inspiration he cannot "think of living a single day" and hopes to do something as his tribute to "the greatest comedian ever born during our lifetime'
Asrani loved drinking. There were times when he got so drunk that he even ate mud and told people he was eating 'biryani'. He got out of moving cars telling people that the car was not moving. It was only God who kept him safe. On one particular evening at the Sun N Sand Hotel in suburban Mumbai, he shocked one and all when he sat in the centre and collected all the crockery of the hotel and smashed them to pieces.
One anecdote suffices to show how popular Asrani was in the nineties. He was shooting for a film in Ahmedabad. He received a call from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh to report for a shooting. He took a flight and reached Bombay, completed two hours of dubbing, then took a flight to Hyderabad, from where he was driven to the location for four hours. When he reached the shooting of 'Maqsad', he saw all his friends, Jeetendra Rajesh Khanna, Sri Devi, Jaya Prada, Amjad Khan, Prem Chopra, Kadar Khan, Shakti Kapoor and others running. He asked the director what he had to do and got a firing for coming late and then asking "stupid questions". The director just barked, 'They all running, you cannot see, you also run, don't ask questions you mad man." Asrani didn't know what to do but he just kept running and the director declared "Cut". Asrani then asked him what his next scene was and he said, "You just take a flight back to Bombay, don't ask questions". Asrani was baffled. He had come all the way from Ahmedabad where he had left at 5 in the morning only to do this 3 seconds role. This was how they worked in the South and no one could ask any questions because they paid them the money they wanted and in time and much more than they received in Bombay.
Writers were asked to write the most stupid and foolish kind of dialogues for him, especially when it came to doing films in the South but the most famous dialogue in his career was from 'Sholay', that went, "Hum Angrez ke zamaane ke afsar hai. Arrey jab hum nahi sudhre, toh tum kya sudhroge", wherever he went people wanted him to repeat the same dialogue till he got sick of it.
In his time, it was very important for a character actor to be a friend of the ruling superstars. He was a very good friend of the onetime superstar Rajesh Khanna and found many roles because of his friendship with him. Rajesh Khanna than had a big fall and Amitabh took his place and Asrani was already his friend of the Beach Apartment days. He managed to get some plum roles because of him but something went wrong between them and matters were no longer the same when it came to their respective professions. The reason for the two stars not promoting him the way they did in the beginning is still considered a mystery.
Asrani had the talent to play any kind of roles but he could not prove himself in Hindi films. He found his opportunity when he did Gujarati films and played a variety of characters and even won major awards for his performances.
Asrani was one of the first few actors who made enough money to buy a flat at 'Beach Apartments'. He later had neighbours like Jaya Bhaduri, Shekhar Kapur, Inder Raj Anand and his sons Tinnu Anand and Bittu Anand, the father of the now well known young director, Siddharth Raj Anand and above all, Rekha. He remembers how a tall and dark and lanky young man who was trying for films came and waited outside Jaya Bhaduri's Apartment. She later introduced that man to Asrani and he asked them to take him around while they were shooting so that he could meet some people and find some work. A time came when they had to look up to this man for help. His name was Amitabh Bachchan.
He was a great fan of Charlie Chaplin, not because he wanted to be a comedian like him but because of his great respect for 'the greatest actor' of all times. When he made enough money, he had a wall sized poster of Chaplin in his room which still holds pride of place in his house.
It was Jaya Bhaduri, who was his batchmate at the FTII who promoted him and found it very funny because she always said she knew he was a very talented actor and the industry was committing a crime by neglecting talent like him.
Asrani belonged to the first batch of students from the FTII. He came to Bombay and found that it was very difficult to find any work. The head of the FTII offered him a solution. He could teach five days a week at the FTII and spend the next two days trying to find work in Bombay. Asrani liked the idea and shuttled between Bombay and Poona and was called 'Sir' and he was responsible in creating a new host for actors who passed out of the FTII and could not find work.
When he left Jaipur more than forty five years ago, not even his parents went to the station to see him off because they believed he was going to join a bad profession. But a few years later, when he was known all over the country the same people thronged every corner of Jaipur just to see where they could have a look at their Asrani.
He has never let anyone know his first two names because as he says, "they are very funny and boring and can only lead to people thinking about me as a bigger buffoon.