Shyam Kumar: the cracktastic villain

One of the many blessings that Apradh brought to my life was finally putting this man on my radar. I watched him strutting around, barrel-chest thrust forward, acting his heart out, and thought: I must know his name. Not many people can out-chew Prem Chopra when it comes to the scenery, but Shyam Kumar gave his Boss some serious competition. He didn’t move so much as strike aggressive poses, and all of his dialogue was shouted at a point beyond the camera. His facial expressions ran the gamut of smarmy evil from A to B.

I knew I had seen this thespian before!

And his wardrobe enchanted me. That necklace of huge gold loops! The orange shirt with carefully contrasting purple tie and handkerchief!

Little did I know.

There WAS no costume too embarrassing for Shyam Kumar to wear.

I love people who aren’t afraid to look foolish (it’s why I love Halloween), and he was most definitely never afraid to look foolish.

His outfits varied from crazy tribal to crazy military to crazy Arabian Nights to relatively sane tuxedos and suits, but he rocked them all with confidence and the knowledge that he was contributing, dammit!—and that was all that mattered. He was always enormously pleased with himself whatever his ridiculous circumstances.

To every scene, he brought his all. Every word he spoke, every look that he cast, every fist he put on his hips, was suffused with his particular brand of enthusiasm. He maintained his intensity even when he was just a figure in the background.

This never ever changed, from his first films in the 1940s to his final films in the 1970s. His list of credits on imdb number 57, but I’ve seen him in at least that many. I would bet the true total is triple that, if not much more.

He was henchman to many leading villainous lights in Hindi cinema, from KN Singh to Prem Chopra. He’s been beaten up by Dara and Dharmendra; he has leered at Helen and Laxmi Chhaya; he has menaced Madhubala and Mumtaz.

He was a pirate, an international chor:

and a dueller for bread—beginning a downward spiral for Rajesh Khanna in Roti.

He could never be called handsome or a good actor (not even by me!); but with a stout silhouette as distinctive as Moolchand’s, a histrionic technique which drew attention no matter whom he shared screen space with, and a very long list of films spanning four decades to his credit, Shyam Kumar is definitely one of a cracktastic kind. His zeal remains undiminished. Sadly, there is not much about him on the internet that I can find besides a series of very incomplete filmographies.

I would be SO happy to learn more about the man who always added color—even to black-and-white—and who has become to me the dangerously unstable brother I never had.

Bless him, wherever he is.

Updated to add: Thanks to readers maheshks and Sunil D I have been informed that Shyam Kumar also sang playback! See comments below for more detail (and confusion on my part, sorry about that). Here he is singing in Dillagi with Suraiya, somewhat confusingly pictured on lead actor Shyam:

I didn’t think I could love him any more than I already did…but how fabulous is that?

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128 Comments to “Shyam Kumar: the cracktastic villain”

  1. Wow memsaab – thanks once again for celeberating the contribution of many unknown/unrecognised guys in hindi films. I have seen this actor in quite a few films too – never knew his name. A truly good piece – keep it up

  2. sorry about the typo it shd be celebrating

  3. How wonderful. Now I know who that guy is!! He is everywhere!

  4. Dharam is really handsome in that screencap!

    • Dharam is really handsome in every screencap :D

      • Actually, dare I say it, Shyam Kumar looks a little like Dharam. It always amazes me how the smallest, subtlest of differences in one’s visages makes a person good looking or uglly. I mean Esha Deol looks a lot like Hema yet one is beautiful and the other–well you know what I mean.

  5. Wonderful piece – thank you! Amazing how you pull it all together with great photos and I love your comments and captions. Makes me feel like I just saw all those movies.

    • Like Cliff Notes for Hindi cinema? ;-) Some of them are worth watching all the way through (some are not).

      • actually memsaab, “Cliff Notes for Hindi cinema” is PERFECT for your blog. I’ve not only learnt about never-heard-of movies in great detail through your blog (and some of those certainly piqued my interested in wanting to watch those movies), but also, I’ve gotten so excited about learning more about character actors like Shyam Kumar, just by your enthusiastic posts on them..!! so, .. GOOD JOB & KEEP IT UP!! =D

  6. Great. I never did have a name for that face. But seriously, how badly does one need a dangerously unstable brother :)

  7. Great job Memsaab! This website WILL turn into an encyclopedia of Hindi Film Info. No Doubt about that. Once again, great job. Where did you find the Black & White (nupur) screencap. I cant get over Shyam Kumar’s expression!

    • Ha ha! I’m trying to write everything down so that in a few years when I totally lose my mind I’ll be able to come back and look through here for answers. The b&w cap is from Dard, which I just wrote up. He has made that same face in just about every movie he’s made :D

  8. Superb Memsaab, so glad to see some1 giving exposure to all the co stars, I will not call them side actors, who despite being around for decades never got their due.Or let us say they are all but forgotten. Their contribution is as high as the lead actors.

    Shyam K looked like a guy from wrestling aakhadas, he had his own charisma, his own style of dressing and presenting dialogues , he could look menacing, again I would say all these guys were unique and no one tried copying each other, they were original, chip of da old block.

    Look at that little soul Kanhaiyalal, he could portray a nice soul like in Naata and a real mean soul like in Mother India.They were all simply out of this world. Total devotion. I will need pages to describe the fantastic performances they played in each and every movie.

    I go speechless really when discussing them.

    Cheers

    • He does have the physique somewhat of a wrestler, except that he’s short I think. His chest is just so HUGE. And not in a fat way, just his structure. Very interesting. I love these character actors…Hollywood just doesn’t have the equivalent to these people who were literally in hundreds of films over a period of 30 or 40 years. They do become like family after a while, at least to me (even if its family you would visit in an asylum) :D

  9. hahaha…I want that tribal chief outfit :)

  10. Actually Pran has some pretty cracktastic costumes. I was finally brave enough to see Raja Jaani (what with chunky Hema and the things they all wore). Pran’s getup will stay with me for a long time.

    • Sorry, I meant Prem Chopra. Here’s the award winning costume:

    • I think Hema looks beautiful in this! Not chunky at all. I love her sandals or boots or whatever they are.

      Villains always had the most colorful outfits, really. And wigs and everything else. I would have wanted to be a villain or a vamp for sure if I’d had the good fortune to be an actress back then.

  11. oh i love this man…..thanks memsaab..but i was confuse for his name….a lots of names were making me confuse of him…..but he is soooooooooooo handsome..i just love his body, his looks..he is just simply awesome…..he looked great in the song Nazar Meri Badi Idhar se….o thank you memsaab a lot….he is so mind blasting…..oh i don’t have words to explain he good he was…

  12. Hercules is another one who worked in many movies, same stature and size as SK except Hercules is a lil fairer,remember him as Zebisko in Amar Akbar and Antony ?

    And somewhere in the Frames of Apradh he is there also, I mean Hercules !

    You said it Memsaab, we have been seeing these fab performer for over 5-6 decades and still do so, then we are surely part of their/our family. I mean just the mere presence of these guys on the silver screen was so special that we never felt as outsiders, and will never do.

    Many of my movies collection is bought just to see these wonderful characters, its reviving childhood again, and keeping it alive !

    Right SK is short and has chest size 42 ?, like Hercules but no way they looked obese, just well built, put them in any costume and they cud beat the hell out of the main heroes many a times. Seen Hercules in his suit and bow tie in Amar Akbar and Antony ?, I wud say he has quite a few similar- ties with SK in Apradh, long lost brothers maybe .), ek goraa aur ek ‘tanned’ jodi… a Plot for Manmohan Desai, may his soul RIP. Late Manmohan Desai was another guy who bought some solid entertainment for many years !

    I will not be surprised if you will bring out some nice article on Hercules in due course .).), we look forward to that.

    Cheers to that .)

    • Hercules has many names, too! I think he eventually settled on Yusuf Khan, did he not? That’s how I think of him anyway…and yes, he is a favorite. He’s less OTT than Shyam, but very very beefy indeed. (Isn’t there another Hercules as well, older?)

      • Very interesting info on SK, frankly it has never occurred to me about the change in his name, now why he did that shud be interesting to know, maybe our good friend Trini bro has something to add. For me since 60’s there was one and only SK.
        Perhaps it was some Producer who made him do this, this is a real mystery. I will def ask Trini bro and my buddy in London if he has something to add to this interesting characters life .

        Older, and another Hercules ?? hm.m…… well I would put the big men like Sheikh Mukhtar, Jayant and his son Amjad ‘Gabbar’ Khan and another wonder Ajit, another man of so many disguises… ‘Monica Darling’ has left a huge impression on all of us.

        The fact is all these guys were original and each has its characteristics, I can not frankly think 2 guys doing the same thing or copying each other, they have all left footprints of their own, so unique were they !
        G8 people…….

        • You mean YK not SK? If Trini can shed light on the confusion I’d be very happy! Sometimes also Yusuf Khan and Hercules are both credited in the same film too…but then Yusuf Khan will be billed without a Hercules, and it’s still the same guy. Very very confusing indeed…

          • OOps sry, correct it is YK, yer right its a case of double ID and double names in quite a few billings, sometimes solo and sometimes simultaneously… why ? Waiting for a reply from buddies on this, lets see.

            Now we also had a guy called SAMSON, we saw him in Hub Sab Ustad Hain, Chaubees Ghante, Kabli Khan, Tarzan comes to Delhi, China Town,Passport,… most of the roles he was the henchman/goon of the BAZZ.
            I wish we had a photo montage a ready reckoner of these wonderful co stars, there are so many over the years that a ready reference would help us keep their contribution alive. I know Trini has been doing a few wonderful job on montages.

            This is gettin; very interesting indeed .)

            Cheers

          • Check out my Artist Gallery! ;-) I’m working on it!

          • Now how did I miss that wonderful effort of yours-‘ Artist Gallery’.
            Memsaab yu deserve a GOLD medal for this. Over the years, and I mean with the age catching up .), it is so easy to forget these wonderful guyz n dollz, so this Ready Reckoner will come very very handy. Thank yu for allowing me to copy them .).)
            lot.

            They are going to be stored in a safe for sure. I tell ya haven’t seen any1 doing this in India, at least I have not come across any Website or Blog, so this is truly a phantasikkk effort. Thx a lot once again.

            Cheers .)

          • Well, it’s a work in progress so keep checking in. I’m adding people to them all the time!

          • G8 will do, THX Memsaab.

            I hope you have the one and only Al Capone aka gangster Nisar Ahmad Ansari (N.A.Ansari) on your list, He has been around since 1940’s and his own style of making films, besides being an actor, he was also Director, Producer. Yu may have noticed I am a fan of him and released WAHAN KE LOG, JURM AUR SAZAA and on the decks BLACK CAT on the ‘other’ sites !!As a kid and even now just loved his film making. If I am not mistaken he married Nilofor/Nilofour ? Some of the names of movies he was part of were out of the world like-
            MANGU
            MR LAMBU
            DADA
            MR MURDER
            USTAD
            CIRCUS
            GUNDA
            DO THUG
            GUNHAON KA RASTA
            MULZIM
            KHOTA PAISA
            MAHA BADMAASH

            AND SO ON.

            He died on 11 January 1993 in Canada. May his soul RIP.

            And if I may please add another lady who just went away without any fan fare Vijaya Choudhury , she was seen in Dara Singhs movies, besides in Saheli with Pradeep Kumar, Saraswatichandra, Aarti, Burmah Road (also posted on the ‘other’ site), Banarsi Thug, Bada Aadmi(will be posting in due course), Captain Kishore, Palki, and….. quite a few more in her carrier.Movies were few but life span was almost 17 years. She def deserves to be remembered as I feel she is forgotten. Thanks to Blogs like yours and Internet we can revive these wonderful characters .)

            Cheers

      • If I may add Shetty as another villain, he spoke rarely but his looks were good enough to get the message across .)

        Cheers

        • Ash ji,
          This Nisar Ahmed Ansari,which you mentioned was also a noted director of many films and invariably,he would act in them.In your above list,many films are directed by him.Another Director who had a compulsive hobby of acting in his films was Jugal Kishore.
          -AD

          • Arun bhau
            Yep yer spot on Jugal Kishore was a man of all seasons also, including his Punjabi movies, I never miss him and our other g8 N.A., what ever roles they played or Directed/Produced, its a must grab, hv quite a few collection of these stalwarts, cheers :)

  13. Ooh, could it be Shyam Kumar playing the old family retainer, Ramu in Ek Se Badhkar Ek?

  14. Thanks, Memsaab. This is a tribute that was long overdue, even though I didn’t know that — or what it’s subject’s name was — until I saw it.

  15. Shyam Kumar is one of the best villain. Roti which was released in 1974 the movie begins with Roti, in the fighting scene were Super Star Rajesh Khanna with Sham Kumar not allows to drop the roti on the ground. It was a great scene in this movie.

  16. Shyam Kumar in “Johny Mera Naam” was also very interesting. I still recall his blood smeared face in the climax scene.

  17. “He was always enormously pleased with himself whatever his ridiculous circumstances.”

    At first I was all OMG is memsaab making a dig at me? Then I realised I’m not the only one with such propensities :D This man is retina-scarringly bad. Which is of course, good.

  18. I first saw him in “ek phool do mali” and I remember I was so scared of him, especially of his eyes. His expression in the b&w screencap from “Dard” is just out of this world.

    Shyam Kumar and the guys like him def. added masala to hindi movies and made the scenario complete with their presence. Thanks to all of them for entetaining people like us….and thanks to you memsaab for giving us an opportunity to express our love for them through this blogg!

  19. When I was watching movies in the 1970s, I used to see this face in movie after movie.
    Usually as a henchman.
    He “tortured” me for years.
    Till I visited your blog for the first time.
    Cannot quite recall how I chanced upon your blog the first time (but I so thank my stars that I did :-) ), but I spent hours on it.
    And then, in one of your movie reviews, I saw his screenshot and a name to go with it.

    You cannot imagine how thrilled I was to be able to put a name to that face. :-)

    He indeed has a strong screen personality.

    Another guy who acted in many movies (and tortured me for years) was Keshav Rana.
    Not quite as “in-your-face physical” as SK, KR was evil in a subtle, non-physical manner.
    Occasionally he would be a good guy too, acting a Police Inspector role (Jaali Note).
    But he tortured me for over 30 years. :-)

    Another villain of that time was Kuljeet. Tortured me for years !!!

    • Ha ha! Kuljeet is possibly even more crackers than Shyam! You are right—Keshav Rana is someone I need to put in my gallery. I think he’s missing from there.

      If I’d been lucky enough to be an actor/actress in the 60s etc. I would totally have been a villain. They really have the most fun!

  20. Dear Memsaab
    YOu have really bought back a lot of memories about Shyam Kumar
    As a kid i really remember him in a lot of movies
    dont know lately what has hapened to him
    Alas ….these are the unsung people of our bollywood

    Regards
    Dipak

  21. wow,always used to wonder who are these guys,hats off to you,incidentally shyam was a permanent feature in dev anands movies,jhonny..,etc.

  22. Very strange that no body has spoken about his songs sung during 40s. In 40s, he was more popular as a singer. You must have heard his famous duet with Suraiya….tu mera chand main teri chandni.

  23. Hero Shyam never sang any song. It is this man Shyam Kumar who sang songs with the name Shyam. There were two persons with the name Shyamsunder. One was the famous music director who gave music in the movies like Lahore, bazar and village girl and the other one was comedian shyam sunder who acted during 30s to 50s.

    • Now I am very confused.

      You are saying that Shyam Kumar sang but the song was picturized on the hero, actor Shyam? According to earthmusic the song you reference was sung by Shyam Sundar not Shyam Kumar. This Shyam was always Shyam Kumar, never Shyam Sundar. And looking at the song in the film, it is picturized on Shyam the hero and Suraiyya.

  24. Shyam the hero and Shyam the singer were different persons. The person who died during shooting was Shyam the hero. The person who sang the song “tu mera chaand main teri chaandni” was Shyam the singer.

    Shyam Sundar was none of them. Shyam Sundar was neither a singer nor an actor but a music director.

  25. Shyam is another name for Lord Krishna – so no surprise that they are too many shyams!

  26. Shyam the villain actually sang many songs. Shyam the hero (who died during shooting of Shabistan) did not sing songs.

    One of the ironical things is that in Dillagi (Shayam the hero with Suraiya and Shyam the villain were all in this movie), Shyam the villain is the background singer for the hero Shyam. It is even more ironic in Dillagi to hear Shyam (the hero) sing a sad song “zalim zamana tumko mujhse chuda raha he” and it is the villain Shyam giving the sad voice to the hero!

    Shyam the villain also acted in Rattan, a great musical success with Karan Diwan (hero) and Swaran Lata. One of the very famous songs in the movie (O jaane wale balamwa, laut ke aa laut ke aa) is sung by Ameerbai AND Shyam. The song is shot with two great dancers, one of whom seems to be an outstanding Kathak dancers (the male character).

    Shyam also acted in the Madhubala/Suresh movie Dulari. He was quite a villainous mean character in Dulari.

    The three Shyams:

    1) Hero Shyam (most famous movies Dillagi, Patanga). Died during filming Shabistan

    2) Villain Shyam (sometimes his name was spelled ShaamKumar to distinguish the hero and the villain). Villain Shyam was also the singer in some great and famous songs. The most famous being Tu mera chand mein teri chandni (with Suraiya; although in the movie a version of this song was sung by Shyam and Geeta Dutt). I forget Shyam’s real name and will try to find it. He was a Pathan and died sometime in 1980’s.

    3) Shyam Sunder was a music director

  27. I have forgotten his real name. It ended in Khan!

    • Of course it did!!!! :D

      BTW, thanks to you I found these other songs sung by him (it’s an incomplete list though). I have been meaning to watch Ratan and Dillagi, I have them (although I’ve been avoiding them since they are fIENDS dvds and so no doubt more trouble than it’s worth)…I really appreciate your clearing my confusion on this! :) I have added the song “Zalim Zamana” from Dillagi to the post (“Tu Mera Chand” is also from Dillagi).

      Do you happen to know if Shyam Sunder the music director and Shyam Sunder the comedian/singer were the same person (according to what I read somewhere about Jungle Ka Jawahar he was but I’m not sure how accurate that was)…

  28. I remember, a few years ago, there was a discussion in Hamara Forum about the different Shyams. I was not able to find it in their archives. As I recall (and my memory might be faulty). the villain Shyam’s name was Syed Gul.

    The hero Shyam’s full name was Shyam Chadha. I don’t know much about Shyam Sunder the musician, although I recently watched Gaon Ki Gori with Nazir and NoorJehan (1945) which has SS’s music direction and some very fine songs.

    BTW, the Forum lists some songs by Suraiya and Shyam from a 1943 movie called Kanoon. I guess Naushad must have liked Shyam as a singer (although in his biography, Naushad was quite condescending when he mentioned Shyam the singer/villain). I don’t remember the exact words, but Naushad described Shyam as an extra who used to move chairs on the sets and bring tea for people…

    • I love Hamara Forums, but I really HATE their new format for displaying discussion threads. It’s impossible to follow a conversation at this point.

      I need to find Naushad’s biography!!!! Just finished reading Nasreen Munni Kabir’s “Conversations with Lata Mangeshkar” and it is brilliant. Feel like I spent an afternoon with her, listening to her reminisce. Lovely photos too…

      And Shyam could have brought tea for me any time he wanted. You mentioned that he passed away sometime in the 80s? :(

  29. Good lord our Shyam sure has many facets of life which we still do not know, I wish we could get hold of him and hear his journey thru the years. Btw is he alive ? Any idea ?

    And while we are at it, why not share another SS from Heera Panna of Dev Saheb from 1973, here we have all 3 amigoes namely-
    Shyam
    Jeevan
    Sudhir
    all together.

    Make a interesting trio.
    MayB Greta cud add this in the Forum along with the other SS .)

    The link then-

    Cheers.
    p.s.
    My Master PC is ailing OR MY Mistress as my wife calls it, have some more rare guys for AG.

  30. Oh for sake of good order SWARINT is same as Ash, hamare bhi do naam hain !!.)

  31. Shalini directed me to a site where Shyam Kumar and his singing are discussed, and this information about him courtesy of Surjit Singh and other commenters is also there (paraphrased a bit):

    …There is [a] Pathan called Saiyad Gul Hamid. He was a playback singer and actor going by the name of Shyam Kumar. He was often credited as Shyam. He acted and sang but never sang for himself. He is the bad guy in Dulari (1949) whom Geeta Bali likes and Madhubala hates. He was also a bad guy in Johnny Mera Naam (1970). He died in 1981 [apparently of cancer]. His daughter Zarina has acted in Cobra (1980) etc.

  32. Super update Shalini and Memsaab on SK via Surjit Singh another encyclopedia of Goldies.
    May SK RIP.
    Can not find much on Zarina or Cobra, perhaps readers can share any info they may have. Thx

    Cheers

  33. Many of you seem to be confused about the actor/singer SHYAM KUMAR. He started his acting career in a film called BIRADIRI released in 1942. He is the same person who also sang the hit duet Tu Mera Chand Main teri chandni with suraiya composed by Late NAUSHADSAAB. Later on he went to act as a villain in many movies till the mid seventies.( most of the movie names have been mentioned in ur article). As for his real identity and whereabouts, even I would be interested in knowing. In the forties and fifties he was a regular in all A R KARDAR’s movie. ( DARD, DULARI, DILLAGI, DIL-E-NADAN,YASMIN,JADOO, etc.)

    • We did manage to finally clear up the confusion :) As mentioned above, I discovered from another site that he died in 1981 and has a daughter Zarina who acted in one film at least.

  34. SHYAM ACTOR WAS HINDU MARRIED TO AFLUENT MUSLIM
    GIRL. AFTER HIS DEATH SHE MOVED TO PAKISTAN
    WITH TWO DAUGHTERS. THEY (DAUGHTERS) ARE
    NOW CONNECTED TO TV PROGRAMS.

    SHYAM’S MOTHER DIED IN VERY EARLY AGE. HE WAS RAISED BY STEP MOTHER WHOM HE LOVED
    VERY MUCH. HIS SURNAME IS ALSO CONNECTED
    WITH CHITKARA’S OF DELHI.

  35. Hey guyz wat happened to Yusuf Khan {Zebisko in Amar Akbar Anthony}??
    I really wanted to know abt him….

  36. Yusuf/Zebisco of AAA’s real name was Herculus. He expired in 1981/84. Am not too sure, but definitely in one of these years.

    He has acted in many movies apart from AAA like in Bombay to Goa and also in Hotel (1981) in which I think he does not have any dialogue at all.

  37. Adding further, even the CD/DVD of Hotel is not available but one can view this movie on youtube wherein the Ultra video probably has its own section.

    There are many more movies like Saboot (1980?)-Prem Chopra, and also Paanchvi Manzil (1980-81) starring Raj Babbar for which no cd/dvd is available in the market.Many people have not even heard about Paanchvi Manzil.

    • Hotel is available on an Ultra DVD, I have it (reviewed it here :)…

      I have seen films where both Yusuf Khan and Hercules were names in the credits (AAA is one, I think)…it’s very confusing. He must have been very young when he died—I’ve seen him in films as late as 1982 (Star, with Kumar Gaurav) but I don’t watch much 80s cinema :D So maybe he died in 1984—do you know how/why?

  38. Who is the guy who is sitting on the bar stool behind Zeenat Amaan in Yaadon Ki Baaraat.Just before the song starts,he can be seen in one of the frames when Zeenat is describing the looks of Vijay Arora.This guy has been seen in so many movies as a college student,Anti Corruption Officer,party guests.Does anyone know his name?

    He was also in Anamika(1971).He appears in a scene with a Sardar playing with snow in Shimla when Jaya Bhaduri Starts screaming bachao bacaho….Anyone??

  39. Don Key .)
    g8 original name .).)
    or pls post some SS for us, am sure many readers, including under signed here will help and try solve the query.
    Cheers .)

    p.s. sry Memsaab been quiet here on Blogging lately for some time, been busy with family visits and today off to the Northern Hemisphere, but wil keep a watch on what interesting posts come up.

    Cheers and all the best .)

  40. @Ash

    Glad you liked my name.Remember,it is DON Key:-)

  41. Hey guyz…got some info on YUSUF “ZEBISKO” KHAN…he last acted in movie called Bhediyon Ka Samooh: A Pack of Wolves which released in 1991….Wikipedia states that he died in Hyderabad in the 90’s….

  42. It is this very Shyam Kumar of the barrel chest fame who sang that wonderful duet ‘Tu mera chand main teri chandni…’ with Suraiya in Dillagi!

  43. Did he play a role in Yaadon Ki Baaraat?Right hand man to Ajit?

  44. I have read with keen interest all that has been written about the late shyam kumar whom we often saw in the villainous roles. He had a good physique which was indeed an asset, for the roles he played required it.
    But, strangely, no one has mentioned that shyam kumar was a good singer who was first noticed by Naushad while he was composing the music of of a film of AR Kardar. Shyam kumar was then working as a sort of factotum there , fetching cups of tea for the bigwigs who visited the studio. Shyam kumar requested Naushad to give him a chance to sing. Naushad never disappointed those who had talent.
    So, when Naushad came to compose the music of ‘Rattan’, starring Karan Dewan and Swarnlata, he asked Shyam Kumar to sing a duet with Amirbai Karnataki – and the duet was, ‘O jane wale balam va, lot ke lot ke, ja mein na tera balam va, bewafa bewafa…’ The song became extremely popular.
    Next Naushad gave him the chance to sing in ‘Dilagi’ (1949), one song was a duet with Suraiya, ‘Tu mera chand mein teri chandi..’ and the other a solo, ‘zalim zamana mujh ko tum se chhuda raha hai..’ Both songs became extremely popular.
    Shyam Kumar sang a few more songs for films, but he could not compete with the likes of Mohamada Rafi, Talat Mahmood. Mukesh et al. So he switched to acting in films.

    • Um…actually if you read to the end of the post, and then the comments, there has been a wide discussion about that and I have even put up one of his songs to listen to :)

  45. very educative!!!sudheer, mac mohan ,hiralaal, ajay agrawal, manmohan, …!!! can we have somethings on them also??

  46. Memsaab ji,

    I have gone thru above comments about the 2 Shyams and I give below my take on them in short,to remove the confusion.
    These were 2 different persons.

    ACTOR SHYAM’s real name was Shyamsunder Chadha and he came from Lahore.His mother died when he was 2 years and was brought up by his stepmother who was very much attached to him.He too loved her very much.
    Shyam was active in the 40s.Urdu writer Saadat Hassan Manto and actor Omprakash were his close friends.Shyam and Rehman were the handsome Heroes of the II level.Shyam’s acting was ordinary,but his films became hi due to his Heroines and its Music.
    Patanga(N.Sultana and Purnima),Bazzar(N.Sultana),Kaneez(Munawwar Sultana),Meena Bazaar(Nargis),Nirdosh(Rehana),Naach(Suraiyya),Kamara No.9(Geeta Nizami),Mann ki Jeet(Naina) were his hit films.In Samadhi-1950,he was Ashok kumar’s elder brother.
    Shyam had married a rich Muslim girl-Taazi Yasmin.His affair with Kuldip Kaur was staple of the film mags,and it is said that due to this Yasmin left for Pakistan,with her friend Aziz and her 2 daughters.The daughters-Nasreen and Shama later came on Pak TV.Yasmin died in 1979.
    Shyam was A.R.Kardar’s favourite and acted in many of his films.Shyam died while shooting for Shabistan-1951,when he was riding on a Horse back.When he died in the Hospital,his make-up was on !

    Singer Shyamkumar’s real name was Syed Gul Hamid,from Karachi.He too acted in films(sometimes in actor shyam’s films also),but in Villain or character roles.He gave playback to others,but never sang a song for himself,may be his roles did not warrant it.
    He stopped singing in 1952,as his style became outdated and new singers took over.He continued acting small roles in films till he died in 1981.
    As singer shyamkumar also gave playback to actor Shyam,many people thought that Shyam was a singer/actor.hence the confusion compounded.

    I do hope that the readers are now clear about the 2 Shyam s .

    -AD

    • Manto wrote a lovely tribute to Shyam (the hero) which is in his wonderful book “Stars from Another Sky”…According to him, Shyam’s affair with Nigar Sultana was the chief cause of his rift with his wife (in another essay Manto talks about Kuldip Kaur’s ongoing affair with Pran). But who knows—I think in that industry in those days (and possibly still) romances were revolving doors, depending on whom one was working with at the time. It’s a different world!

  47. very nice to see that someone ha actually admired his work so much..glad to see..and to inform you all that i am shyam kumar’s grandson..his name wasnt shyam kumar though.it was Sayeed Ali..and had three sons and a daughter..the name change was only for the films sake..i was unfortunate to not see him in person but have dozens of family pics..thankyou for the respect..

    • Oh welcome Mustafa! I absolutely adore your grandfather, wish I could have met him too. I would bet he had a lot of stories to tell. Would love to see some of those family pictures if you ever feel like sharing; I am sure I am not alone here in that! Cheers :)

  48. Hello Greta, Ash here, have to share this info, maybe already known but all the same let us share it again :), it is this hilarious melodious movie which has come on YT, Dil Daulat Aur Duniya (been searching this since ages )- for reasons here under-

    our own Sayeed Saheb is here as a Marwari, the get up is abso fab and the way he portrays a Marawari even more fantastic

    we have Bela and Helen and Sadhana in a super dance together ‘ deep jale dekho’ here

    C the star cast
    Rajesh Khanna (Vijay), Sadhana (Roopa), Ashok Kumar (Seth Kalidas / Kalluram ‘Kalwa’), Helen (Rita), Om Prakash (Udharchand Shikarpuri), Sulochana Latkar (Mrs. Rani Kalidas / Mishrain / Bawarchan (as Sulochana)), Jagdeep (Kanhaiya ‘Kunnu’), Agha (Raju), Mehmood Jr. (Munnu), Shyam Kumar, Ram Avtar (Hari (as Ram Awtar)), Keshav Rana (Veterinarian (as Keshov Rana)), Tun Tun (Baby’s Mother), Indira Bansal (Baby), Polson (Havaldar), Satish, Gurnam Singh (as Gurnam), Kabir Kumar, Parasram, Altaf, Doo Prince, Bela Bose (Kiran), Harbans Darshan M. Arora (Kalidas’ business partner (uncredited)), Moolchand (Kalidas’ business partner (uncredited))

    the full movie avail for download, along with the other melodious songs by super duo of Shankar Jaikishen, and Helen is here again twice… let me just give the full link for songs and phillum and yu can check these out yourself
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dil+daulat+duniya&oq=dil+daulat+duniya&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=84l245l0l902l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0

    This movie in my opinion is full2 entertainment, Onji another g8 is superb as always and btw we have a another star, a pomerian as another star.
    check ’em out yu wil not regret this phillum, cheers :)

  49. Oh good to have you on board Mustafa bhai, and we’d love to know more about SAYEED Saheb :), Cheers :)

  50. Yes Mustafa is correct ..his name was Syed Ali and died in Iran…A great actor


  51. A LOVELY SONG FROM FILM FAULAD WITH DARA SINGH AND SHYAM KUMAR….THE ACTOR IN COMIC ROLE IS KAMRAN KHAN FATHER OF DANCE DIRECTOR/FILM DIRCTOR FARAH KHAN AND SAJID KHAN.

  52. Kamal Mehra is the comedian, Randhir is the Maharaja (and now I know who played the minister, yay!) and imdb is once again wrong :)

  53. After looking carefully and watching the movie ,you both seem to be correct..thanks

  54. Memsaab is correct. The small-statured man in the picture is Kamal Mehra, a small-time comedian who was seen in many films of the 60s. As regards, Kamran, the father of Farah Khan and Sajid Khan, he worked in many stunt films of the 60s. In a few films he even played the role of hero. I have now forgotten the name of the film in which Kamran and Shashi Kala were hero and heroine.

    • @ A C Tuli, think you mean Sakhi Lutera and btw Kamal Mehra played Devdas alongside Shammi Kapoor in Budtameez, and I came across Kamal Mehra as a Director in just seen Naami Chor, I can not confirm if indeed it is the same Kamal Mehra aka Devdas, cheers

  55. Alas we have our Shyam bhai as the main hero, my search a success, ripping to XVID his
    Rashtraveer Shivaji 1965? and should be on DEETEE either tonite or early tmrw :), one point to note is that Director/Producer Suleiman has so many character artist/s names in his run up, this is rare to see because truly this phillum has many of them, Good to see this tribute, kudos Suleiman bhai, where ever you are :) Do get it if you have not got it already, cheers :)

  56. good story its always nice to read about known faces with unknown stories

  57. A.C. Tuli
    I am coming back to this blog after a long time. I have read Arunkumar Deshmukh’s contribution in this blog. He is quite accurate in his information about actor Shyam. But he wrongly mentions that in ‘Man Ki Jeet” (1944), his heroine was Naina. It was not Naina; it was Neena. Neena was also the heroine of the film “Meera” released in 1947 or 1948. She was in the eponymous role.

  58. Hello, i am back here after a long time i do have family pictures, and i am willing to share it too.I will be posting on my blog some time later.

  59. Hi Mustafa, glad a family member is there to give factual information rather than wild guessing. share all personal & professional info for people like your grand father have been associated with this industry since its infancy. By the way were your parents or uncles staying near Bhavans college, Andheri (W)

    • That’s right, my uncles did stay near Bhawan’s College in Andheri (W). Unfortunately i am not in touch with them now. My dad (Syed Mubarak – youngest son of Syed Ali or Shyam Kumar) and i stay in Dubai now

      You’ll can connect with me on https://twitter.com/mubarak_sayeed

  60. Found this on a very reliable site. Confirms what most of you have written about ‘Shyam Kumar’: SHYAM was also an ideal example how similar names in HF industry caused confusion. He was active in the same period when the other actor/singer Shyam Kumar was operative. In film Dillagi” Shyam Kumar gave playback to Shyam in the song Tu mera chand main teri chaandni and it became a hit. It also gave rise to a misunderstanding that actor Shyam also sang his own songs-which is NOT TRUE.
    They were 2 different persons.
    SHYAMSUNDER CHADHA was from Lahore. He lost his mother when he was just two years old, but his stepmother brought him up with the same mother’s love, inspite of having her own children.
    Shyam loved his stepmother and the siblings very much and looked after them till the end. They too loved him equally.
    The first tier of actors like DEV, RAJ and DILIP ruled the industry, but the second tier of actors like Shyam and Rehman were more handsome and had their own fans.
    Shyam was not a great actor but his luck was great. He always worked with beautiful Heroines like,Suraiya, Nargis, Poornima, Rehana, Geeta Nizami, Munawwar Sultana, Nigar Sultana etc. His films always had good songs too.
    Shyam was married to Taaji Yasmin and had two daughters. Shyam was a colourful personality and he had many affairs. Finally his wife Taaji left him and went to Pakistan with two daughters.(Writer Saadat Hasan Manto gives a lucid account of Shyam’s affairs in his book ‘Stars from another sky’).
    Shyam was a good friend of Omprakash who hailed from the same Mohalla of Lahore. He was also a favourite of Kardar and acted in many of his films.
    Shyam could not sing outside his Bathroom and never sang in any film.
    The singer actor SHYAM KUMAR’s name was Syed Gul Hamid, who was born and brought up in Poona. He sang many songs, gave playback to many actors, but NEVER sang for himself in any film till the last.
    He started as a Hero in 4 films, but then got side and character or villain roles in films.
    He stopped singing in films from 1952, but continued acting in films. He had acted in more than 50 films from 1942(Sukhi Jeevan) to 1976 (Dus Numbari). He died on 22-4-1981 in Bombay. His daughter Zarina also acted in films in the 80s.
    Thanks for the gen on Shyam Kumar, Memsaab!

  61. Terrific conversation about Shyam Kumars, resolving an old puzzle which seemed to have no solution. I first got hint that these were different people reading Raju Bharatan’s Naushadnama.
    Re Kamal Mehra, watch him with Biswajeet and Babita in Kismet (1966), and that super musical Shikari (Ajit, Ragini and Helen). He was probably the producer too.
    Don’t forget Shyam Kumar’s villanous role in Phool aur Patthar, the film that made Dharmendra.

  62. Really wonderful work, Memsaab and everyone else here! I was in the process of identifying some images from Razia Sultana ( 1961) and came across Kamran playing Yaqut. A bonus is Agha playing the dancing Shehzada Firoz. :)

  63. Hei Memsaab, I am back ash aka swarint ( still very active on DT :).
    Found one movie of our man of the moment Shyam Bhai -Soldier as Thakur Daler Singh 1969.
    This is on DT, my recent share and Trini bros share. Excellent print but no Esubs.
    Back in Nairobi I was hoping this film would be released but it did not unfort.
    First we see the Producer as Shyam.. our Shyam ?
    Veterans galore, will load a few SS, have a look and see how many you spot :)
    Director is Pachhi, brother of my fav Om Prakash :), former and his bro in the film, latter a cameo role.
    Kumar Ajit… acted in one movie only ? If I am not mistaken bro of Dharam PaaG ? And father of Abhay Deol? Dharm PaaG has a cameo role also.
    And Shyambhai in this phillum has many scenes and he talks a lot :)
    If you wanna watch dakus and gangs, dances and qawaalis, its worth a watch and esp for the many artists of yore who came in so many films but went unnoticed.
    p.s. and Parshuram bhau is there also.

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