Avtar Gill is an Indian veteran actor who predominantly works in Hindi and Punjabi films. In four decades of his career, he has worked in more than 300 films and 15+ TV serials. He is famous for his negative roles. He got the chance to work with all famous directors such as Mahesh Bhatt, David Dhawan, Raja Krishna Menon and actors such as Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Tarsem Jassar, Gippy Grewal etc. Despite earning a name in Hindi cinema and Television he still works in theatre and is a member of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), Mumbai. He won the National Excellence Award in 2016.
Avtar Gill was born on Saturday, 13 May 1950 (age 73 years; as of 2023) in Kalakh, Ludhiana, Punjab. His zodiac sign is Taurus. After 40 days of his birth, his family moved to Chembur, Mumbai. He studied there to complete his school education and then pursued a bachelor’s at Khalsa College, King’s Circle, Mumbai, Maharashtra. Director Raman Kumar and actor Javed Khan were his batchmates; they helped him to get started with acting.
Height (approx.): 5′ 10″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Avtar belongs to the Gill family of the Punjabi Jatt community.
Parents & Siblings
Avtar’s father was a lorry driver in Mumbai and his mother was a housewife. Avtar has 3 siblings, 1 brother, and 2 sisters.
Wife & Children
Avtar got married to Parminder Gill. Together they have 2 children, a son, and a daughter. His daughter wants to become a director and his son an actor.
Avtar Gill follows Sikkhism.
Avtar’s debut film was ‘Udeekan’ (1978), a Punjabi film. His debut Bollywood film was ‘Noorie’ (1979). Yash Chopra Production produced this film; it was a super hit and the seventh highest-grossing film at the Indian box office in 1979.
He then worked in ‘Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai’ (1980). The film starred Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, and Smita Patil in the lead roles and won the 1981 Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie.
Apart from these, he worked as Avtar in ‘Saath Saath’ (1982), as Police Commissioner in ‘Shahenshah’ (1988), as MLA Becharam in ‘Ilaaka’ (1989), as Usman Bhai in ‘Agneepath’ (1990), as Police Inspector Deshpande in ‘Aashiqui’ (1990), as Salim Bhai in ‘Sadak’ (1991), as Natwar Lal Yadav in ‘Dilwale’ (1994), as Amrit Pal in ‘Airlift’ (2016), ‘Rabb Da Radio 2’ (2019), and ‘Kaamyaab’ (2020) etc.
He has worked in more than 300 films in Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Telugu, and English. His portrayal of negative roles made him famous and he became part of almost all films released in the 80s-90s. About his roles, he spoke in an interview, he said,
Mirror tells the truth and I see my face in the mirror daily. I knew from the start that I will not become a hero with this face but I certainly can become a villain so here I am.”
He debuted in television with the serial ‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi’ (1984) aired on DD National. He got a major breakthrough in the serial ‘Nukkad’ (1986-87) where he played the role of Kader Bhai. This serial was loved by everyone at that time. There was a famous line about it that, ‘Nukkad’ brought the streets of Mumbai into the living room. Due to its fame another season with the name of ‘Naya Nukkad’ was aired in 1993-94.
He also worked in ‘Ye Duniya Gazab Ki’ (1992-1993), ‘Tara’ (1993-1995), ‘Gharwali Uparwali’ (2000 ), ‘Detective Karan’ ( 2003-2004), ‘Adaalat’ (2010), ‘Yeh Hai Aashiqui’ (2019), ‘Ayodhya Ki Ramleela’ (2020), ‘Kyun Uthhe Dil Chhod Aaye’ (2021) etc.
Avtar’s career started with theatre. In his initial days of acting, he was introduced to IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) and his association with it still continues. In an interview, he spoke about his relationship with IPTA and said,
I continue to do plays with IPTA is because I enjoy doing theatre and share an emotional bond with the group. Theatre is an integral part of my life.”
He worked in many plays such as ‘Shatranj Ke Mohre,’ ‘Kashmakash,’ ‘Biwi O Biwi,’ ‘Tajmahal Ka Tender’ etc.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- National Excellence Award 2016
Avtar Gill started his theatre career with a Rs 10 per play income. Now he earns Rs 500 per play.
- Film: Ganga Jamuna, Mughal-E-Azam
- Writer: Surjit Patar, Shiv Kumar Batalvi
- Singer: Gurdas Maan
- Actor: Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah
- He is the brother of assistant director Kuljinder Singh Gill aka Pinky Gill.
- He wanted to become a wrestler as he was inspired by Dara Singh.
- In an interview, he disclosed that, if he wouldn’t have been an actor then he would have joined the Indian Air Force.
- Avtar Gill loves to read.