Satish Kaushik: Bollywood actor-filmmaker dies at 66

Satish Kaushik: Bollywood actor-filmmaker dies at 66

March 9, 2023, 03:24 GMT

Updated 51 minutes ago

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Kaushik was an actor, producer, comedian and screenwriter

Bollywood actor and director Satish Kaushik has died at the age of 66 in the capital of India, Delhi.

His nephew Nishaan Kaushik told BBC Hindi that the actor suffered a heart attack on Thursday morning.

He was traveling in a car at the time and was rushed to hospital, where doctors said he was dead on arrival.

Kaushik wore many hats in the Hindi film industry as an actor, producer, comedian and screenwriter.

His big break came in the 1987 hit Mr India, where he played a chef named Calendar. The role displayed the comic timing he would later become known for. A generation of Bollywood fans grew up with jokes, sketches and satires based on the iconic character of Calendar.

In the film, Kaushik’s Calendar takes care of a group of orphaned children and cooks for them. His constant clashes with children lead to humorous dialogues and funny situations.

“Khana Do Calendar” [Calendar, give us food] it was a dialogue that the kids in the film repeated often and became a part of life for Indians growing up in the 1990s.

He played memorable characters in several other films like Ram Lakhan, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and Deewana Mastana.

His success came after decades of hard work. Born on 13 April 1956, Kaushik grew up in a middle-class family in Delhi’s Karol Bagh area. He went on to study at the city’s Kirori Mal College, where his love for theater took off.

His early days shaped him as an actor, director and writer. He later joined the National School of Drama, but it was his time at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India that fueled his Bollywood dreams.

He was active on Twitter, where he often shared memories from his career. In 2020, he had posted a picture of his arrival in the city of Mumbai in 1979 to become an actor – the tweet was met with an outpouring of love and affection.

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Kaushik always had fond memories of starring in the iconic ‘Calendar’, but he also often disappointed her that he cast her in comedy roles. “I played Calendar in one film and everyone thought I can only make people laugh. And I ended up doing that in 150 films,” he told The Indian Express in 2021.

But he eventually transcended the stereotype, playing serious roles in films like Calcutta Mail and taking on negative characters. But his magic was not limited to acting – he directed or produced many superhit films like Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja, Prem, Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain and Tere Naam.

He also had to fight stereotypes to get noticed. He was often considered “too overweight” or “too dark” to play leading roles, but it was his perseverance and unwavering love for cinema that pushed him through.

In recent years, he directed several films on topics that mattered to millions of people.

His last release as a director was Kaagaz (2021), the story of a man who was declared dead on paper by officials.

Despite his success, Kaushik was known to be humble and always available for discussions on movies, society or one of his favorite topics, food.

He would happily pose for selfies as he loved spending time with his fans.

Many Bollywood stars and politicians paid tributes to the actor. Pankaj Tripathi, who played the lead role in Kaagaz, said he was “a fellow traveler in [Kaushik’s] dreams”.

“We had planned to meet. Now it won’t happen but you will remain in our memories forever,” Tripathi tweeted.

Actor Anupam Kher, who broke the news on Twitter, said life would never be the same without Kaushik, who he was friends with for 45 years.

Filmmaker Subhash Ghai described him as “a man who always laughed even in the worst crisis and stood by anyone in their crisis”.

Home Minister Amit Shah said the actor will be remembered for his “contribution to Indian cinema, artistic creations and performances”.

Kaushik’s last outing on the big screen will be in the upcoming drama Emergency.

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