“He was very fond of horses. Unfortunately, he became very tall so he couldn’t become a jockey”

#Agha’s first film as hero, Jwar Bhata (1944), had a young actor named Dilip Kumar making his debut as the second lead. Beginning his career in the silent era and continuing till the 1990s, Agha had a very long run in the Hindi film industry. Yet, originally, the comedian had no aspiration to become an actor. He actually wanted to become a jockey.

Agha’s daughter, Shahnaz Anand, told Cinestaan, “He was very fond of horses. Unfortunately, he became very tall so he couldn’t become a jockey. He then ran away from home and came to Bombay, to Nagpada, and there he joined a drama group acting on stage. SF Yusuf was an old-time producer and he had all these young boys acting on the stage. That is where Dad started his acting career, on stage in Nagpada, on the streets.”

Garrulous on screen, the actor was reticent about his film career at home. Shahnaz said he kept his children far away from the industry. She recalls going with her father to the sets of Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) in Kashmir and seeing him interact with the crew.

“He was always joking on the sets, always making fun of everybody, and he would talk to the workers, the lightboys, the spotboys and all, and he would speak to them in their language,” she said. “If it was in Maharashtra, he would speak in Marathi. He was born in Pune, so he knew Marathi.