New Delhi, Veteran actor of Marathi and Hindi films Viju Khote, who was popular for his Kalia character from the 1975 cult classic “Sholay” is no more. He was 78.
Viju passed away early on Monday, family sources said. He is survived by his actor sister Shubha Khote, who was elder to him by five years. Their father Nandu Khote was a noted stage actor too, and he worked in movies during the silent era.
Viju Khote made his big-screen debut with “Ya Malak” in 1964 and went on to do some of the most remembered characters in the Hindi film industry.
In a career spanning almost six decades, Viju worked in over 300 films, including “Phir Hera Pheri”, “Andaz Apna Apna” from the modern era besides some television shows and ads.
Renowned for comedy roles, Viju was famed for the evergreen reply to Gabbar Singh’s “Kitne Aadmi The?” in “Sholay”. “Do, Sarkar” was the bumbling sidekick was Kalia’s response, which said it all — that they failed their gang lord Gabbar Singh played by Amjad Khan.
He is also fondly remembered as the naive Robert from the film “Andaz Apna Apna” and was loved for his dialogue “galti se mistake hogaya”.
On television he is most remembered for his role from the 1993 sitcom “Zabaan Sambhalke”, the Indian version of the British sitcom “Mind Your Language”.
Viju played the character of Vittal Bapurao Pote, a Maharashtrian who worked in a local “Nautanki”. He often came to class in play costumes.
His other work includes “Golmaal 3”, “Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani”, “Money Hai Toh Honey Hai”,”Halla Bol”, “Garam Masala”, “Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya”, “Club 60” and “China Gate” among many others.
Viju was also seen in Indian actress Priyanka Chopra’s Marathi venture “Ventilator”, in which he played the character of Shirish Appa.