Anil Dhawan – Bollywood actor of ‘Piya Ka Ghar’ and ‘Chetna’ fame

Anil Dhawan is an Indian actor associated with Hindi films and TV serials. He marked his film debut with 1970 controversial film, Chetna in a lead role and also played lead role opposite Jaya Bhaduri in 1972 film, Piya Ka Ghar which helped him to establish as an actor, mostly playing romantic roles. Annadata, Honeymoon, Hawas, Do Raha, Yauwan, Samjhauta, Nagin etc are a few more noted works in the 1970s. When lead roles started drying up, he took supporting roles in the 1980s, and played numerous memorable supporting roles till now. In 2018 he returned to silver screen after 5 years playing the role of yesterday star Pramod Sinha in Andhadhun, who got murdered by his wife.

Anil Dhawan hails from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He was brought up in Delhi. His father was a banker. His younger brother David Dhawan is an established director of Bollywood, known for comedies. Noted actor Varun Dhawan and director Rohit Dhawan are his nephews. To pursue his dreams as an actor, he joined FTII Pune. As a film actor he got the major break through 1970 bold film, Chetana. He was introduced to the filmmakers by his classmate of school days and FTII, Shatrughan Sinha who was only a new actor in the industry then. Sinha also played an important in the film. After the film’s big success he went on to sign projects one after another. He played many memorable romantic roles in the 1970s, and slowly got sidelined in the era of action movies.

He was fully active in Bollywood in the 1990s playing supporting roles, and later started accepting Television roles too. Parampara, Tum Bin Jaaoon Kahaan, Main Lakshmi Tere Aangan Ki, Pyaar Ka Dard Hai Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara, Bhagyalaxmi and Roop – Mard Ka Naya Swaroop are the shows in which he appeared. As a supporting actor of Bollywood, he was seen in several films directed by his brother, apart from Himmatwala, Andhadhun, Kyon Ki, Shikaar, Hogi Pyaar Ki Jeet, Hote Hote Pyar Ho Gaya, Tarazu, Geet, Khuddar, Ekka Raja Rani, Teesra Kaun etc.

Playing a former Bollywood star of 1970s in Andhadun, his character gets easily related to his real life. His hit songs of 1970s as a romantic hero were used in the background. Movie clips of his popular films – Chetna (1970), Annadata (1972), Honeymoon (1973) and Hawas (1974) were also included in the film to make his character more realistic. Movie’s background score included his all-time chartbusters – Teri Galiyon Mein and Yeh Jeevan Hai. His daughter worked as an assistant on Raghavan’s Johnny Gaddaar (2008) who was deeply impressed by the director’s work. That’s why Anil decided to work with the director in Andhadun, his return to movies after a hiatus of 5 years.

Anil Dhawan – Some interesting and less-known facts

A screen grab from Honeymoon

1. He had a string of solo hits in the early 1970s. But his career didn’t survive too long when action oriented films conquered the full stage in the mid era.

2. His son Siddharth Dhawan has appeared in TV shows and movies.

3. Both Anil and his younger brother David Dhawan joined FTII to study acting. Anil completed the course and became an actor while David switched to editing.

4. His popular co-actress Jaya Bachchan and co-star Shatrughnan Sinha were his classmates at St. Xavier’s School, Kanpur. The trio studied in the same class. Interestingly his most memorable films starred his classmates – Jaya Bhaduri in Piya Ka Ghar and Shatrughnan Sinha in Chetna.

5. While his friend Shatrughnan Sinha was working in Chetna, Anil approached him for a role. Sinha suggested him to talk to film’s producer, which he did and landed into the lead role.

6. His wife Reshmi was his batchmate at FTII. They fell in love and got married before Anil established in Bollywood. Anil was never linked with any of his co-actresses.

7. Shatrughnan Sinha was his classmate at FTII too. He worked with Anil Dhawan and Reshmi in one less-known movie, Gulam Begam Baadshah.

8. Chetna worked wonders for Anil Dhawan. This adult film, which was immensely loved by youngsters almost put a full stop to the career of extremely talented Rehana Sultan who played the lead role of a prostitute.

9. He was one of the most sought actors of B-grade filmmakers, and he frequently worked with Ramsay group.

10. He worked with Amitabh Bachchan in Pyar Ki Kahani. But the movie was a flop.

11. Usha Khanna composed music for some of his best films like Honeymoon and Hawas.

12. In the 1990s, he assisted actress Asha parekh in the Doordarshan TV serial, “Kora Kogaz” and joined television as an actor almost at the same time.

13. He was a junior of Navin Nischol at FTII Pune. Both remained good family friends.

14. He has been regularly featured in his brother’s films of 1990s such as Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi, Yaraana, Rascals, Jodi No: 1, Aandhiyan, Loafer, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, Hero No: 1 and Chal Mere Bhai released in 2000.

15. Among his contemporaries though he played lesser number of roles onscreen, the actor feels that he had a satisfying innings in Bollywood. The actor says that if you are not over-exposed, your longevity increases.

16. He and director Punit Malhotra’s father are first cousins. His sister-in-law Karuna Dhawan (David’s wife) is designer Manish Malhotra’s cousin sister.

Anil Dhawan – Popular Bollywood Songs

His most popular song – Teri Galiyon Mein Na Rakheinge Kadam from Hawas sung by Rafi

1. Mere Pyase Mann Ki Bahar from Honeymoon

2. Jeevan Hai Ek Sapna from Honeymoon

3. Itne Din Tum Kahan Rahe from Haar Jeet

4. Teri Galiyon Mein Na Rakheinge Kadam from Hawas

5. Yeh Jeevan Hai from Piya Ka Ghar

6. Yeh Zulf Kaisi Hai from Piya Ka Ghar

7. Main To Har Mod Par Tujhko Doonga Sada from Chetana

8. Guzar Jaye Din from Annadata


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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1 Response

  1. Shabnam says:

    awesome. very nice info about my old golden hero Anand ji. Thanks for post

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