Kulbhushan Kharbanda is an Indian actor who is popularly known for playing the role of Shakaal, the antagonist, in the Hindi film Shaan (1980). He is considered one of the most admirable Bollywood villains.
Kulbhushan Kharbanda was born on Saturday, 21 October 1944 (age 78 years; as of 2022) in Hasan Abdal, district Attock District, Punjab, British India (now in Pakistan). He pursued a bachelor’s degree at Delhi University. After the partition of India, Kulbhushan’s family moved to India from Pakistan. His father’s job included travelling so his family had to move to different cities across the country. Kulbhushan did his schooling in Jodhpur, Aligarh, Dehradun, and Delhi. In an interview, Kulbhushan shared that he got admission to the National School of Drama; however, he didn’t attend it due to the high unsuccessful rate of NSD pass-outs. YouTube – News18 Debate & Interview
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Grey
Eye Colour: Brown
Wife & Children
On 8 December 1965, Kulbhushan got married to Maheshwari Devi Kharbanda. Maheshwari, daughter of Maharaja Ram Singh II of Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, was earlier married to the Maharaja of Kotah.
Kulbhushan and Maheshwari have a daughter named Shruti Kharbanda. In 2018, Shruti got married to Rohit Navale.
No. 501, Silver Cascade, Bandra West, Mumbai
After completing college studies, Kulbhushan and his college friends formed a theatre group named Abhiyaan, which was short-lived. Later, he joined another theatre group named Tarik. He then moved to Kolkata and started working with the Hindi theatre group ‘Padatik’ under director Shyamanand Jalan. It was during his theatre days in Kolkata that he was offered to work in films and moved to Mumbai.
In 1974, he made his Bollywood debut with the film ‘Nishant,’ which was directed by Shyam Benegal. He played the role of Police Patel in the film.
In 1980, he appeared in Ramesh Sippy’s critically acclaimed film Shaan in which he played Shakaal, a bald antagonist.
In the 1985 action drama film Ghulami, he played the role of Havaldar Gopi Dada. The role earned him immense popularity and a nomination for the 1986 Filmfare Awards for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2008, he garnered appreciation for playing the character of Raja Veer Bharmal, Jodhaa’s father, in the historical drama film Jodha Akbar.
In 2001, Kulbhushan appeared in the national award-winning film titled Lagaan. His role, Raja Puran Singh Chawla, in this film earned him a nomination for the 2002 IIFA Awards for Best Supporting Actor.
He has appeared in all three parts of Deepa Mehta’s Elements trilogy: Fire (1996), Earth (1998), and Water (2005). He appeared in J. P. Dutta’s films Border (1997) and Refugee (2000). He is also known for his performances in Shyam Benegal’s films Manthan (1976), Bhumika: The Role (1977), and Junoon (1978).
In 1980, he made his Punjabi debut with the film ‘Chan Pardesi,’ which was directed by Chitrarth Singh. Kulbhushan appeared in this film alongside actors Raj Babbar, Amrish Puri, and Rama Vij.
He has appeared in many Punjabi films including Mahaul Theek Hai (1999), Delhi in a Day (2012), Midnight’s Children (2012), Saadi Love Story (2013), and Kirpaan – The Sword of Honour (2014).
In 2018, Kulbhushan appeared in Amazon Prime’s action crime thriller web series Mirzapur’s seasons 1 and 2 in which he played Satyanand Tripathi aka Bauji.
In 1997, Kulbhushan made his Television debut with the Hindi drama series titled Yeh Hai Mere Apne on ZEE TV. In 2020, he appeared in a BBC Television drama web series titled A Suitable Boy in which he played Karim Chand Seth, Lata’s Nanaji.
He has appeared in Hindi plays such as Teen Farishtay, Hatya Ek Akaar ki, and Atmakatha.
- Actor(s): Balraj Sahni, Motilal, and Naseeruddin Shah
- Director(s): Shyam Benegal, Raj Kapoor, and Ramesh Sippy
- Kulbhushan smokes occasionally.
- In an interview, when Kulbhushan was asked which medium of acting he preferred, he replied,
I refused films to do plays! I lost out on lakhs of rupees. But I never complained. It was a choice I had made and I could afford it that time. Funnily enough, during our times in the film industry, if I told someone I was working in a play, they would ask me why I was wasting time! So I used to lie to people when I had to go rehearse or perform for my plays. Back then, people respected an actor only if he was working in movies.” The Times of India
- In 2011, Kulbhushan fell while horse riding and injured his back following which he refused the offer of a role by director Vinay Sharma in the film Atmakatha; however, Vinay Sharma waited for him to recover fully.
- In 2015, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award at PTC Punjabi Film Awards.
- When Kulbhushan was residing in Kolkata as a theatre artist, director Shyam Benegal wanted him to work in his film ‘Nishant’ (1974). Kulbhushan thought it would be a waste of time and effort to travel to Bombay from Kolkata, so he refused; however, Shyam Benegal was so eager that he sent him plane tickets.