Mehmood Ali, the comedy king who made audiences laugh and tickle with his distinct style, gesture, and excellent voice, was born on September 29, 1932. Mumtaz Ali, his father, used to work at Bombay Talkies Studio as Latifunnisa Ali was a housewife.
Mumtaz Ali was born in Hyderabad in 1912 but his family later shifted to Mecca to find a better job. But in 1921, Mumtaz Ali lost his parents and her elder sister Karimunnisa lost her husband due to a disease.
Both brother and sister finalized to shift back to their home country and boarded the ship from Mecca. After reaching Mumbai, both the brothers and sisters started living there by renting a small room in Mahalaxmi and used to do small jobs to feed themselves.
Mumtaz found a decent income at Gateway of India and used to sleep there because it was too far from Mahalaxmi. He met a British man B.G.Horniman who was working as a editor in Bomabay Chronile and developed a relation with him.
After few meetings Horniman offered Mumtaz Ali to stay with him and he agreed. Mumtaz Ali was too fascinated towards acting and dancing and soon formed a theatrical group called ‘Mumtaz Theatrical Company’ but did not tell anything about it to Horniman as in those days acting was not considered as a prestigious performance.
In the mean time he also got married to Latifunnisa Zariwala whose family was the neighbour of her sister. He kept his this as a secret and did not tell Horniman about this.
But eventually Horniman came to know about this was too angry with Mumtaz Ali but later he forgave him. he then arranged a job for Mumtaz Ali at Bombay Talkies as he knew Himanshu Rai (owner of Bombay Talkies) personally.
Mehmood and His Siblings
Mehmood were 8 siblings (4 sisters and 4 brothers). The eldest child of Mumtaz Ali and Latifunnisa Ali was Zubeida who got married in Pakistan. Mehmood was the second of the eight siblings.
Few people are aware that, like Mehmood, his sister is a well-known Hindi film actress. Minoo Mumtaz was born on April 26th, 1942.
Minoohas had an interest in art since she was a child. He enrolled in dance classes to prepare for this. At the same time, Devika Rani gave Meenu Mumtaz her first break in Hindi cinema. In Bombay Talkies, he had hired Meenu Mumtaz as a dancer.
Minoo’s career began in 1955 with the film ‘Ghar Ghar Mein Diwali’. She played the role of a village dancer in this film. However, she rose to prominence after appearing in the film Sakhi Hatim. She played the role of a mermaid in this movie.
In the 1958 film Howrah Bridge, Meenu Mumtaz, and Mehmood paired together as dancers.
Early Struggle and Career
Mahmood also sold eggs, sold sweets on the train, and drove a taxi to help support the family. He also used to drive a car for famous producer and director P L Santoshi (Father of Rajkumar Santoshi).
But Mehmood had a natural talent for acting since he was a child. In 1943, he had his first chance to try his luck in the Bombay Talkies film ‘Kismat’ as a child artist. Mehmood enthralled millions of people with his acting abilities.
Mehmood, the famous comedian who made the world laugh, also taught table tennis to Meena Kumari, the famous actress who later became his sister-in-law.
Madhu (Meena kumari’s Younger sister) and Mehmood fell in love and later both eloped from home. Later both married and had four sons. Singer Licky Ali is their second son.
During that time, if any actor received applause for his performance then it was Mehmood. Mehmood was the only comedian or character artist to feature on the film poster alongside the leading actors.
People would go to the movies to see Mehmood’s comic performance. The situation was such that even directors knew that if the film was to be a success, Mehmood would have to be cast in it.
Amitabh Bachchan and Mehmood share a very interesting anecdote. Actually, there was a song called ‘Dekha Na Hi Re Socha Na’ from the film Bombay to Goa. Mehmood wanted Amitabh to dance to that song, but Amitabh was unable to do so.
‘Bhaijaan, I will not be able to dance, I do not know how to dance,’ Amitabh Bachchan told Mehmood. But Mehmood was in no mood to spare him, and he said that anyone who can walk can dance, and despite Amitabh’s pleadings, he made him dance, and the song became a smash hit.
It was Mehmood who gave shelter to Amitabh Bachchan when he was struggling and even cast in his movie.
Mahmud is said to have never been seen rehearsing. Whatever he used to do in films, he used to do live. This was the reason why many movie stars coveted him. They were upset because Mahmood was paid more than even the lead actors.
For the first time in the movie Kunwara Baap, released in 1974, Mehmood took over the charge of direction alone and also appeared in the role of the lead artist in it. This movie was completely opposite to his reputation. Mehmood was known by the people as a comedian and his role in this is a story of a poor man who finds an orphan child whom he raises.
The role of a child artist in this film was played by the third son of Mehmood, Macky Ali, who was actually a victim of polio since childhood. Mehmood’s father also played a small role in this film.
Mehmood had done two marriages in his life, the first marriage was with Meena Kumari’s sister. On the other hand, he was married to an American girl Tracy, with whom he has three sons.
Mehmood worked with his six sons (Pucky Ali, Lucky Ali, Macky Ali, Masoom Ali, Mansoor Ali, and Manzoor Ali) in the movie Ek Baap Che Bete released in 1978. His second wife Tracy Ali also played a small role in this film of his American wife.
Mehmood, who won people’s hearts with his films for decades, appeared in approximately 300 films.
Mahmood left this world on July 23, 2004, leaving only his beautiful memories. He died in Pennsylvania, the USA where he spent his last days. His body was brought to India and was taken to his Bangalore farmhouse where his last rites were completed.