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Actor Mac Mohan: Cricketer who became Sambha in Sholay
24th April is the birthday of actor Mac Mohan popularly known as Sambha from the movie Sholay. Let me take this opportunity to write a small piece on the life and times of actor Mac Mohan whose contribution has been immense towards Indian Film Industry, which is currently celebrating the historic and most glorious moment - 100 Years of Indian Cinema (1913-2013).

First and foremost, my sincere thanks to all the family members of actor Mac Mohan for sharing their valuable time and information with me. My thanks to his wife (Minny Makijany), daughters (Manjari and Vinati) and son Vikrant Makijany.

Mac Mohan - A Fabulous Cricketer

Actor Mac Mohan was born in Karachi in British India. His father was an army officer. When the family relocated from Lucknow to Mumbai, Mac Mohan made up his mind to become a cricketer. He held the reputation for playing fabulous cricket and was also known to participate in cricket tournaments. But destiny had its own plans.

His Style of Dressing

I learnt from his daughter Manjari that most of the costumes her father wore in the movies were primarily his own choice. His designer costumes were usually stitched at Madhav’s in Bandra or Kachins Clothing located townside. A widely travelled person, his father considered Los Angeles his second home where he did most of his shopping be it his choice of expensive suite or owning an exquisite collection of imported perfumes.

Lover of Reader’s Digest Magazine

One thing the family admired the most in their father was his involvement into the discipline of reading. Mac Mohan had an excellent command over spoken and written English. Apart from reading newspapers at length, he loved reading the Reader’s Digest magazine a lot.

Travelled 27 Times to Bangalore for the Sholay Shooting

The three words “Poore Pachaas Hazaar” in the movie Sholay shot Mac Mohan or the gun toting Sambha to fame. Sounds difficult to believe but yes the actor who played the smallest roles in the film travelled 27 times from Mumbai to Bangalore to complete the take. Initially, the role of Sambha was much more but post editing it was reduced to just three words, says his daughter Manjari.

The movie Sholay ran and nobody could forget the character Sambha not even the tough looking Immigration Officer in New York who recognized Mac Mohan as the Sambha from Sholay. Such was the impact of his small, but significant character.

One Big Success Wipes Out All Your Previous Failures

Once Mac Mohan’s family had been to Pune and the crowd outside learnt that actor Mac Mohan was there and then they all started shouting “Sambha Sambha”. When the commotion became too loud the police had to be called in before Mac Mohan could leave quietly. An incident that totally shocked each of the family members as they never knew or guessed the impact could be so massive immortalized by just his three words “Poore Pachaas Hazaar.”

Rightly said, all it takes is one big success to wipe out all your previous failures and for Sambha the movie Sholay had been no exception.

Favourite Movies

As my conversation continued, I was inquisitive to know which movies of Mac Mohan were admired by the kids the most. The answers revealed Sholay, Don, Shaan and of course Kaala Pathar a scene that makes them cry even today where apparently Mac Mohan sacrifices his life so that his co-workers can live which only depicts he was so giving by nature with concern for all, be it in reel life or real life.

Mac Productions

Mac Mohan’s wife Minny is an ayurvedic doctor. It was when Mac Mohan’s father was admitted to Arogya Nidhi Hospital in Juhu that their interaction first started and later the relationship culminated into marriage. Mac Productions was founded by ‘Mac Mohan’ with an aim to produce feature films. The same is now headed by his two daughters Manjari and Vinati Makijany together with their efficient team.

Manjari is an emerging young filmmaker and Vinati is a talented theatre artist. “The Last Marble” short film written and directed by Manjari has just won a trophy at the 55th Rochester International Film Festival, USA. One advice Mac Mohan always gave to his kids: you can mould your career in anything one may aspire provided you take passion and pride in your chosen craft and give complete justice and total commitment towards it.

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