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Akshay Kumar told me that Pankaj Udhas was laughing after watching Singh is Kinng – Beyond Bollywood

Sharma’s depressed character ‘Pankaj Udhas’ in the Anees Bazmee directorial was a clever pun on the ghazal maestro’s surname, which means sad in Hindi.

1. Yashpal Sharma 2. Pankaj Udhas

By Mayur Lookhar

Ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas passed away on Monday [26 February] due to a prolonged illness. He was 72. The acclaimed singer’s final rites took place earlier today (27 February) in Mumbai.

Various tributes have poured in, largely hailing his contribution to ghazal music, and also Hindi cinema. Yashpal Sharma is not from the singing community, but the actor had a unique connection with Pankaj Udhas.

Sharma had played a character called Pankaj Udhas in the Anees Bazmee directorial Singh is Kinng [2008]. The word Udhas means sad in Hindi.Director Bazmee, and his co-writer Suresh Nair, simply punned on the ghazal maestro’s surname with their character Pankaj Udhas. Sharma’s Udhas was a depressed person, a pessimist who often cribbed about his sad life experiences. The most funny one was how in his childhood, Pankaj had gone to fish with his uncle. Sadly, no fish but a crocodile got into the net. The reptile dragged his uncle down the water and devoured him. Poor Udhas and his mother were so traumatised that the family never cooked fish in the house. Udhas reminisced quite a few such sob stories in the film.

In this country, it is not easy to use a famous person’s name to create humour in a film. Legendary actor Manoj Kumar was peeved with director Farah Khan and super star Shah Rukh Khan for indirectly mocking him in Om Shanti Om [2007]. 

Did Sharma have any apprehensions when director Bazmee offered him Singh is Kinng?

“No apprehensions as there are some films where you have no scope to ask any questions. I simply obeyed the director,” Sharma told Beyond Bollywood.

Yashpal Sharma in Singh is Kinng [2008]

He adds,”We didn’t copy him. Nor did we mock him in any way. We only used his name.”

Talking about the now cult character, Sharma says, “This was a depressed character, a man who always looked at the glass as half empty. All he saw were problems. He cribs about his depressing experiences. So, that’s why he was named Udhas”

Sharma, though, is quick in pointing out, “If you observed carefully, not once did he smile in the film, but the audiences laughed a lot”.

Sharma never met the ghazal maestro, but he recalled getting a feedback on his Singh is Kinng character.

“He had watched the film. I think it was Akshay Kumar or someone who had revealed about it. We had shot for Rowdy Rathore (2021) then. We were told that Pankaj Udhas ji had watched Singh is Kinng. He had absolutely loved my character and was laughing so much” Sharma said in a joyous tone.

Growing up in Hisar, Haryana, Sharma and his family are great admirers of Pankaj Udhas. Chandi Jaisa Rang Hai Tera is an all-time favourite ghazal. The family had a very old cassette player. They looked after it carefully and soaked into Udhas’ ghazals regularly. Back then, the actor never imagined that one day he would be playing a character named Pankaj Udhas.

Before this role, he recalled a funny episode in one of his other films. The actor visited the producer’s office where they were handing out artist payments. Sharma was thrilled to meet his co-producer and initiated a conversation.

“I told him, how I love your song Chitthi Aayi Hai [from Naam],” recalled Sharma. The man looked shocked and replied, “I’m Anup Jalota. That is not mine, but Pankaj Udhas’ song.”

Sharma was naturally embarrassed. Growing up, he’d largely heard Udhas’ ghazals. He couldn’t recollect his face from the photos on those cassette covers.

Though he never met the great man, but Sharma always heard good things about Udhas. The ghazal maestro’s passing away is indeed a great loss for the music industry, his family and the nation as a whole.

Watch best scenes of Sharma as ‘Pankaj Udhas’ in Singh is Kinng [2024] below.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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