Danny Denzongpa

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Danny Denzongpa
Denzongpa in February 2010
Tshering Phintso Denzongpa

(1948-02-25) 25 February 1948 (age 73) [1]
  • Actor
  • singer
  • businessman
Years active1971–present
Awards Padma Shri (2003)

Tshering Phintso "Danny" Denzongpa (born 25 February 1948) is an Indian actor, singer and film director who primarily works in Hindi films. He has acted in over 190 films since 1971. In 2003, Denzongpa was awarded the Padma Shree, India's fourth-highest civilian honour. [3] His film career spans more than 4 decades.


He has also starred in some international films, the most famous being Seven Years in Tibet where he appeared alongside Brad Pitt. His best known villainous roles are in Dhund , 36 Ghante , Bandish , Jeeo Aur Jeene Do , Dharm Aur Qanoon and Agneepath whereas his best known positive roles were in Fakira , Chor Machaye Shor , Devata , Kalicharan , Bulundi and Adhikar . His directorial venture Phir Wahi Raat was considered among the top five best horror suspense films of Hindi Cinema. [4]

Life and education

Born as Tshering Phintso Denzongpa to a Buddhist family in Yuksom, Sikkim, [5] [2] he did his schooling in Birla Vidya Mandir, Nainital and thereafter completed college coursework at St Joseph's College, Darjeeling, in 1964. [6] Denzongpa's love of horses and horse-riding began at an early age, as his family was into horse breeding. He is also a painter, a writer and a sculptor.

He had an ambition to join the Indian Army and won the Best Cadet award from West Bengal and participated in the Republic Day parade. In an interview to The Times of India newspaper, he said that he had qualified for the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, but withdrew admission to join the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. [5] He decided to change his name to a simpler sounding "Danny", on recommendation from his then-classmate Jaya Bhaduri, as his original name of Tshering Phintso Denzongpa was considered difficult for some to pronounce. [7] [8] His son Rinzing Denzongpa is set to make his acting debut in the action film Squad . [9]

Acting career

He started out with B.R. Ishara's Zaroorat in 1971 (released in 1972), which was his debut film. He got his major break in Gulzar's Mere Apne (1971), where he had a positive role. He first played an antagonist in B.R.Chopra's Dhundh (1973), where he played the role of a crippled and frustrated husband.

He played the second lead hero and had more positive roles in commercially successful critically acclaimed films in the seventies, such as Chor Machaye Shor , 36 Ghante , Fakira , Sangram (1976), Kalicharan , Kaala Sona and Devata . After his performance in the film Devata , he started getting more significant lengthy roles. He was simultaneously part of big budget films such as Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka , Paapi , Bandish , The Burning Train and Chunoti in negative roles.

In the early 1980s period, he had thought of quitting films. He said in an interview, when asked why he decided to direct a film, "I remember in 80s I was so fed up of the films I was doing. Those days every villain was a dacoit and I remember going on the sets where an actor called Tiwari was my henchmen and my den was a cave with lanterns. Next day I went on another set and I saw Tiwari again as my henchman, and the same lanterns. I asked myself what was I doing? I left Mumbai. I did lot of trekking and did not do films for a couple of years. I told NN Sippy about a script that I had in mind. and he asked me to direct. I made Phir Wohi Raat with Rajesh Khanna and my then girlfriend Kim." [10] After the success of his directorial debut, he received offers to act as the hero again in the films such as Bulundi and Hum Se Badkar Kaun in 1981, which became successful. He played a double role in the film Bulundi . However, most subsequent films between 1981 and 1983 were not successful. He was disappointed with the failure of his recently released film Abhi Toh Jee Ley, which had popular songs such as "Tu Laali Hai Saveriwali". Hence, Danny started accepting supporting roles, often playing a character quite older than his real age. He played Kumar Gaurav's father-in-law in Love Story (1981) and Mithun Chakraborty's father in Boxer (1984).

He started getting more frequent offers to play the negative character in Hindi films, after the success of the films Phir Wahi Raat , Jeeo Aur Jeene Do and Dharm Aur Qanoon . He then went on to play the role of villain many times since 1984. From 1984 and through the 1990s, Danny mainly was featured as the lead negative character opposite all the leading actors of that time such as Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Mithun Chakraborty, Vinod Khanna, Anil Kapoor and Sunny Deol. He stated in an interview; "Had it not been that I had not done the four special negative roles – with Rajesh Khanna, in the lead – Phir Wohi Raat , Dharm Aur Qanoon , Bandish and Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka , people would not have considered me for villainous roles. In Adhikar I had positive role. He holds special place in my heart as he recognized and stood by me in my tough times which was early eighties."

His most applauded negative characters are in Bandish (1980) as Kapil Kumar, Phir Wahi Raat as "Ashok", Dharm Aur Qanoon (1984), as SP "Kader", Kanoon Kya Karega (1984), as "Raghuvir Singh", Andar Baahar (1984), as "Shera", Oonche Log (1985), as "Thakur Maan Singh", Aandhi Toofan (1986), as "Balbir" Bhagwaan Dada (1986), as "Gangwaa", Agneepath (1990), as "Kancha Cheena", Hum (1991), as "Bakhtawar", Ghatak: Lethal , as "Kaatya", Krantiveer (1994), as "Chatur Singh", Pukar , (2000) as "Abhrush" and Indian, as "Shankar Singhania". He was pitted against Pran in the film Sanam Bewafa, Paap Ki Duniya, Gurudev and 1942: A Love Story. His command over the Urdu language came in handy in films such as Sawan Kumar's Sanam Bewafa and Mukul Anand's Khuda Gawah .

At one time, when he was increasingly doing negative lead roles, Rajkumar Santoshi cast him as the positive role in China Gate. In the early 2000s, Denzongpa appeared in films such as Asoka and 16 December. Some of the antihero roles he played included an unscrupulous politician, corrupt policeman, traitor, and stingy landlord. He has also starred in some international films, the most famous being Seven Years in Tibet , where he appeared. He did positive roles in Lahu Ke Do Rang, Bulundi, Boxer, Humse Badkar Kaun, Khudah Gawah, 16 December and China Gate.

In early 2003 Denzongpa decided to take a break from films as he wanted to do different but strong roles, even if it was a negative character. He appeared in only 10 films between 2003 and 2009.

He then made a strong comeback as the villain with his role in Enthiran . He made his debut in Tamil films with Enthiran , co-starring Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in the leads. Denzongpa played the antagonist role of Bohra, a prominent scientist who transforms "Chitti", (played by Rajinikanth) into an evil robot. He then started playing villains in big budget movies such as Jai Ho (2014), co-starring Salman Khan and Bang Bang (2014), co-starring Hrithik Roshan.

He has recently played the role of a coordinator, "Feroz Khan" in the 2015 hit Baby co-starring Akshay Kumar. He reprised his role of "Feroz Khan" in the film's spin-off prequel Naam Shabana

Singing career

He is an accomplished singer, having sung with Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, the stalwarts of Indian music. He was first given a chance to sing by S.D. Burman in the film Yeh Gulistan Hamara in 1972. Denzongpa sang a duet with Lata Mangeshkar.

Danny Denzongpa has quoted on S.D. Burman, "My dream to be a playback singer in films came with the number, 'Mera Naam Aao' in 'Yeh Gulistan Hamara' (1972). The maestro that he was, S.D. Burman recognised my singing abilities and conducted the daring experiment of making me sing my first duet with Lata Mangeshkar. He advised me to produce a comic effect yet maintain melody whilst singing. The song was a raging hit." This was told to Ranjan Das Gupta in 'The Hindu' on 8 January 2012.

He has released Nepalese songs, and has sung for Nepalese movies. His two most famous songs recorded in the 1970s but still popular are "Chiso Chiso Hawama" ("In the cool air") and "Manko kura lai bandhi narakha... ("Do not keep the words of the heart tied").

He sang the duet "Suno Suno Kasam Se" in Kaala Sona with Asha Bhosle and sang "Mujhe Doston Tum Gale Lagaa Lo" with Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle and the duet song "Botal Khaali Hone To Do" with Kishore Kumar in the 1978 film Naya Daur – all of which were composed by R.D. Burman.

"Hiun vanda chiso, Aago vanda taato..." ("Colder than snow, hotter than fire..."), "Naachana hoi maichyan hau nachana", ("Dance o lovely girl"), "Jhimkai deu pareli manma bajchha mitho murali...", ("Please blink your eyes and sweet sound of flute plays in the heart), "Raatko rani phulay jhain sanjhama", "Pani Hai Paryo Jhyaure" etc. are some of his few hit numbers. He gained popularity as a singer in the period 1975–1990 especially in Nepal and parts of India like Darjeeling, Sikkim and Assam.

He has sung a Nepali duet with Asha Bhosle, "Aage aage topai ko gola pachhi pachhi machinegun barara" in 1976. This song was shown by Danny to Rajesh Khanna who liked the song tremendously. Then Rajesh Khanna requested R.D. Burman to compose the song – "Sang Mere Nikle The Sajan" from the 1981 film Phir Wohi Raat, which was directed by Danny himself – after getting inspired by the melody of the Nepali folk song sung by Danny – "Aage Aage Topaiko Gola". R. D. Burman changed the interludes and tunes of stanzas but retained the tune at the beginning.

Denzongpa wrote and acted in the Nepali film Saino . His nephew Ugyen Chhopel directed it. He has sung its title song and a duet with Deepa Narayan, wife of Udit Narayan. Later, this film was made in Hindi as Bandhu (1992) by Chopel himself and loosely adapted as the Indian television series Ajnabi for Doordarshan by Denzongpa.


2003 Government of India Padma Shri Honoured


1979 Filmfare Awards Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Devata Nominated
1985Kanoon Kya KaregaNominated
1990 Agneepath Nominated
1992 Sanam Bewafa Won
1992 Filmfare Best Villain Award Hum Nominated
1993Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award Khuda Gawah Won
1995Filmfare Best Villain Award Krantiveer Nominated
1995 Vijaypath Nominated
1996 Barsaat Nominated
1997 Ghatak Nominated

As director

1980 Phir Wahi Raat Yes


1971 Mere Apne Sanju
1972 Zaroorat Danny
1972 Milap Raju
1972 Rakhi Aur Hathkadi Raja
1972 Yeh Gulistan Hamara
1973Nai Duniya Naye Log
1973 Dhund Thakur Ranjit Singh (crippled husband)
1973 Naya Nasha NarratorUncredited
1973 Khoon Khoon Raghavremake of Dirty Harry (English)
1974 Khote Sikkay Danny
1974 Chor Machaye Shor Raju Ustad
1974Ek Ladki Badnaam Si
1974Vada Tera VadaDanny
1974 36 Ghante Dilawar Khan
1975 Apne Rang Hazaar
1975 Zorro Sher 'Sheroo' Singh
1975 Dharmatma Jangoora
1975 Kala Sona Shera
1975 Raftaar Pramod Kumar
1975 Ponga Pandit Rocky
1975 Aakhri Dao Robert
1975 Rani Aur Lalpari Himself(Special appearance)
1976 Kalicharan Shaaka
1976 Fakira Munna / Ajay / Toofan
1976 Laila Majnu Prince Bahksh
1976SangramSalim / Altaf
1977 Abhi To Jee Lein Danny
1977 Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka Vikram (Jamunadas' son)
1977 Paapi Abdul
1977 Chandi Sona Bikram
1977 Khel Khilari Ka
1978 Naya Daur Mark
1978 Devata Inspector Lawrence
1978Lal KuthiBengali film
1979 Griha Pravesh Danny
1979 Lahu Ke Do Rang Suraj
1979 Heera-Moti Ajay / Moti
1979 Aaj Ki Dhara Danny
1980 Kali Ghata Kishore
1980 Chunaoti Thakur Ajay Singh
1980 The Burning Train Randhir
1980Choron Ki BaraatHeera
1980 Phir Wahi Raat Ashok
1980 Abdullah Khaleel
1980 Bandish Kapil Kumar
1981 Bulundi Lobo
1981 Love Story Ram Dogra
1981 Hum Se Badkar Kaun Raju / Johny
1982PrahariBengali film
1982 Kachche Heere Arjun
1982 Dial 100 Sangeet Samrat Shambhu Sen
1982LakshmiJagdishchandra Mathur
1982Raj Mahal
1982Jeeo Aur Jeene Do
1982Do UstadDaku Badal Singh
1983Kanku Ni Kimat
1983 Ganga Meri Maa Malan
1983 Andha Kanoon Akhbar Ali
1983 Lovers David
1983 Mujhe Insaaf Chahiye Dayashankar Ray
1983Mujhe Vachan DoJabbar Khan
1983Hum Se Hai ZamanaKaran Kalicharan
1983Naukar Biwi KaHimself
1984 Boxer Dharma
1984 Dharm Aur Qanoon Superintendent of Police Kader
1984 Andar Baahar Shera
1984 Jagir Danny
1984 Manzil Manzil Gautam (Pahadi Baba)
1984 Karishmaa Raja Saab
1984 Meraa Dost Meraa Dushman Shaitan Singh
1984Kanoon Kya KaregaRaghuvir Singh
1985PaththarMajor Balwant Rai
1985 Pyar Jhukta Nahin Bhanu Pratap
1985 Aitbaar Inspector Barua
1985 Aandhi Toofan Balbir
1985JawaabSeth. Jagmohan
1985 Yudh Gama Maating / Mr. Chinoy
1985Bayen Hath Ka Khel
1985Maha ShaktimanMaharudraaka Maharudra (India: Bengali title)
1985 Oonche Log Thakur Maan Singh
1985 Zulm Ka Badla Shambhu / Bunty
1985Patthar DilJung Bahadur
1985Ram Tere Kitne NamHimself(scene from "Devta"), Uncredited
1986 Bhagwaan Dada Shambu Dada
1986Chambal Ka BadshahSultan
1986 Adhikar Vishal's lawyer(special appearance)
1986 Allah Rakha
1987 Itihaas Alexander
1987 Aag Hi Aag Daulat Singh / Choudhury
1987 Mit Jayenge Mitane Wale
1987 Diljalaa Ratanmuni Gupta
1987Kaun Kitney Pani Mein
1987Faqir BadshahVijay and Raja
1987 Deewana Tere Naam Ka Shambhu
1988Anjaam khuda jaane
1988 Mardon Wali Baat Raja Sunder Singh
1988 Paap Ki Duniya Pasha
1988 Ek Hi Maqsad Inspector. Deepak
1988 Commando Ninja
1988Soorma Bhopali
1988Janam JanamMukhiya
1988 Yateem Girivar Prasad Mathur
1988 Zalzala Sona Singh
1988 Mera Shikar Changez
1988 Jeete Hain Shaan Se J.P.
1988 Gunahon Ka Faisla Dacoit
1988 Saino Nepali film
1989UstadShamSher Singh / DK
1989Sau Saal Baad
1989 Saaya Rakesh
1989 Kasam Suhaag Ki Lohari - Sultan's goon
1989Do Yaar
1989 Jung Baaz Mahakal
1989 Khoj Father Anthony
1989 Shehzaade Thakur Roshan SinghUncredited
1989Paanch Papi
1989 Galiyon Ka Badshah Inspector Vijay
1990 Pyar Ke Naam Qurbaan Prince Yeshwant Singh
1990 Agneepath Kancha Cheena
1990 Shandaar Dhaga
1990Gunahon Ka DevtaRaghuvir
1990Shesh Naag
1991Woh Subah Kabhie To Aayegi
1991 Sanam Bewafa Sher Khan
1991 Hum Bakhtawar
1991 Vishnu-Devaa Thakur Shamsher Singh / Samppat
1991 Yodha Daaga / Justice Dharmesh Agnihotri
1991 Lakshmanrekha Birju
1991 First Love Letter Thakur Ajit Singh
1992BahadurBahadurBengali film
1992 Khule-Aam Insp. Uday Singh / Insp. Ranvir Singh Rathod
1992 Khuda Gawah Khuda Baksh
1992 Bandhu Bandhu
1992 Balwaan Bhaiji
1992 Antham J.P.Sethi
1992Kisme Kitna Hai Dum
1993 Sangram Madhu's father
1993 Dhartiputra Kripal Singh
1993 Gurudev Khakan
1993 Tahqiqaat Bhanu Pratap
1993 Prateeksha Dinesh Khanna
1993Jai Devaa
1994 Ajnabi CaptainTVseries Doordarshan Episode: "Introductory"
1994 Chauraha Baba Bhatti
1994Mohabbat Ki ArzooJagpal Singh alias Jaggu dada
1994 1942: A Love Story Major Bisht
1994 Krantiveer Chatursingh
1994 Vijaypath Dilawar Singh
1995Faisla Main KarungiInspector Nadeem
1995 Sarhad: The Border of Crime Kundecha
1995 Barsaat ACP Neghi
1996Muthi Bhar ZameenThakur Raghuvir Singh
1996 Rajkumar Ali
1996 Army Naagraj
1996 Shastra Babu
1996 Ghatak: Lethal Katya
1996 Ram Aur Shyam Tatar
1997 Seven Years in Tibet Regent
1997 Udaan Mr. Rana
1997 Himalay Putra Narsingh Rana
1997 Dhaal: The Battle of Law Against LawAdvocate Diwan
1998 Vinashak – Destroyer Jailer Lankeshwar
1998 Zulm O Situm Sikander
1998 China Gate Maj. Ranjir Singh Gurung
1999 Silsila Hai Pyar Ka Jabbar Khargoshi
1999 Kohram Minister Virbhadra Singh
1999 Dahek: A Burning Passion Jabbar Bahkshi
2000 Pukar Abhrush
2000Tune Mera Dil Le LiyaRaja Sahab
2001 Jagira
2001 Officer Pratap Rai/Dushyant Singh
2001 Lajja Gajendra
2001 Aśoka Virat
2001 Indian Shankar Singhania
2001 Moksha Bachelor Simon
2002 Yeh Mohabbat Hai Aman Khan
2002 16 December Major General Vir Vijay Singh
2002 Ab Ke Baras CBI Officer Sikander Baksh
2002 Soch Nautiyal
2003 Sandhya
2003Ek HindustaniSpecial Appearance
2004 Shikaar Darshan Damania
2004 Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo Colonel Ashfaque Khan
2005Dil Jo Bhi Kahey...Narrator
2007 Hattrick David Anna
2007 Big Brother Police Commissioner Kulkarni
2007 Frozen Karma
2008 Chamku Baba
2008 Karzzzz Kabira
2009 Luck Lakhan Tamang
2009 Acid Factory J.D. / Om / Sultan / Sarthak Sanghv / Inspector Balwant
2010 Enthiran Professor BohraTamil film
2013 Boss Big Boss
2014 Jai Ho Home Minister Dashrath Singh
2014 Bang Bang! Omar Zafar
2015 Baby Feroz Ali Khan
2017 Naam Shabana Feroz Ali Khan
2018 Bioscopewala Rehmat Khan
2019 Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi Ghulam Ghaus Khan

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