Soorma Bhopali Will Live On Forever. Rest in Laughter, Jagdeep Saab


Soorma Bhopali Will Live On Forever. Rest in Laughter, Jagdeep Saab

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

The past few months have not been easy for the Bollywood community. After four major stars – Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput, and Saroj Khan – all died within weeks of each other, a fifth Bollywood stalwart passed on yesterday. The actor Jagdeep, who was 81 years old, passed away on Wednesday, in Mumbai due to age-related complications. Jagdeep is survived by his children, including his sons, actor Jaaved Jaaferi and the producer-director Naved Jaffrey.

Jagdeep’s passing elicited tributes from many of his contemporaries from the film industry. And there were many of those – Jagdeep’s career spanned six decades and he had more than 400 acting credits to his name. Born in Amritsar, Punjab, he was one of independent India’s first child artistes, beginning his career with roles as a child actor in 1951. Originally named Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jafri, he took the stage name Jagdeep when he entered films.

Beginning with BR Chopra’s Afsana, Jagdeep would continue to regularly appear in films for several decades, right up to his last appearance in 2012’s Galli Galli Chor Hai. During the course of this long career, Jagdeep would appear in many classic films, including memorable turns as Bankelal in Andaz Apna Apna and, most famously, as Soorma Bhopali in Sholay.

Jagdeep’s performance as the side-character Soorma Bhopali became so popular that six years after Sholay, Jagdeep directed a film called Soorma Bhopali in which he revisits the character, but in a leading role.

And even today, 45 years later, Soorma Bhopali continues to make us smile.

Heartfelt tributes poured in from across the industry.

The passing of a legend like Jagdeep brings sadness, but also invites people to revisit a life well-lived. In his 81 years, Jagdeep received the opportunity to work with legends of the Indian film industry, play roles in beloved movies, and grow a fan-base that celebrates his life as he passes on. His family have been receiving condolences, but also assurances – though Jagdeep might be gone, Soorma Bhopali and all his other characters will not be forgotten.