On his early films
After I settled down in Mumbai, I started hunting for people associated with IPTA. But that had disintegrated in Mumbai, so I took the initiative to re-build it. With the help of (legendary poet) Kaifi Azmi and (veteran actor) Balraj Sahani, I rented a place for stage rehearsals. I was earning well so I got completely involved with IPTA.
People like Balraj Sahani and Chetan Anand, who saw my stage work, always encouraged me to join the movies. But I was not interested. When I was about 40 years old, (director) Basu Chatterjee offered me Teesri Kasam. I did not want to work in the film but I was told to come for the shoot at 9am. I was to play Raj Kapoor's brother.
I reached on time but Raj Kapoor arrived at 2 pm. I was very angry. If he was a hero, I was an actor too! I had slogged on stage for 20 years before I did this film. But I did not say anything. In the final cut of the film, that scene was edited out. I was not even paid.
I got recognition in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's films like Guddi, Bawarchi and Abhimaan. All the leading ladies of those days -- like Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha -- wanted to play my daughter.
In the picture: Hangal's IPTA friends like Ila Arun, Anjan Srivastav and Sulabha Arya celebrate his 90th birthday. Son Vijay is in the extreme right.