Actor Satish Kaushik© GettyImages

Revisiting The Late Satish Kaushik’s Most Iconic Roles

The world of Indian cinema has lost a legend today with the passing of Satish Kaushik. An actor who embodied versatility and brilliance, Kaushik’s passing is a mammoth loss to the industry. His performances on screen were a testament to his immense talent, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations of actors to come.

Kaushik’s career in Bollywood spanned over three decades, during which he acted in over 150 films. Apart from his acting prowess, he was also an accomplished director and writer, having directed films like Tere Naam and Mere Apne and written screenplays for popular movies like Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja and Saajan Chale Sasural.

As an alumnus of Delhi’s Kirori Mal College, which he joined to do theatre with its well-known group ‘The Players’, he went on to the National School of Drama (NSD), and the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), his dream was to become an actor. But ‘that boy from Karol Bagh who came to Mumbai’s maya nagri with 800 rupees in his pocket’, as he often described himself, became much more: dialogue writer, director, producer, all-round entertainer.

His immense contribution to Indian cinema has earned him numerous accolades and awards, including the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi for Siskiyaan in 2006. Satish Kaushik’s legacy in the industry will forever be remembered as one of immense talent, passion, and dedication to his craft.

Late Satish Kaushik’s Iconic Roles

Ahead, we take a moment to remember and celebrate some of his most unforgettable roles, each of which showcased his exceptional range as an actor.

As Calendar in Mr. India (1987)

Kaushik’s portrayal of Calendar, the quirky and endearing sidekick of Anil Kapoor’s character in Mr. India, remains one of his most beloved performances. His effortless charm and impeccable comic timing added a layer of joy to the already iconic film.

Watch it here.

As Pappu Pager in Deewana Mastana (1997)

In Deewana Mastana, Kaushik played Pappu Pager, a smooth-talking con man who constantly finds himself in hilarious situations. His chemistry with co-star Anil Kapoor and his natural flair for humour made this film a laugh riot. The Mumbai’s gangster had his unique way of insulting his enemies. Thanks to his unique curses including ‘Tamatar ke akhiri daane’ and ‘dhoodh ke fatele hisse,’ Pappu Pager is one of the most memorable characters played by Satish Kaushik.

Watch it here.

As Chanu Ahmed in Brick Lane (2007)

This is a masterpiece of the first rank, as if Satyajit Ray had come back from the dead to do one final great work, and yet the director is a young English girl named Sarah Gavron. The film begins with a young woman from Bangladesh, whose mother’s suicide causes her father to arrange her marriage with a man now living in London, older than her, who she has never met. Nazneen (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is a stunning beauty at 17 when she marries Chanu (Satish Kaushik), who is fat, balding and easily 20 years older.

So this will be a story of her servitude to this beast, right? Not exactly. Chanu is neither a hateful man, nor is he a fountain of warmth and understanding and has few insights into his wife. But, he is an earnest, noble citizen, a hard worker, and there is sometimes a twinkle in his eye.

Director Gavron balances intimate moments against the increasingly tense atmosphere in Brick Lane as the tightly knit community reacts to the events of 11 September 2001, and public attitudes towards Muslims or anyone who just looks ‘different’ afterwards.

When Kaushik appeared on screen as Chanu in this 2007 British drama, audiences witnessed a different side of the actor. His portrayal of the Bangladeshi immigrant living in London was a masterclass in subtlety and nuance.

Watch it here.

As Chaurasia in Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999)

In this romantic drama directed by Rishi Kapoor, Kaushik played the role of Chaurasia, a loyal friend and confidante to lead actor Akshaye Khanna’s character. In a film dominated by romantic melodrama, Kaushik’s performance added a much-needed dose of humour and warmth. Teeming with Indians settled abroad getting sentimental on ‘apna desh’, the movie’s saving graces are cabbies Jaspal Bhatti and Kader Khan and friends Satish Kaushik and Vivek Vaswani, who provide the comic angle. Kaushik’s portrayal of Chourasia remains one of his most enduring roles, a testament to his ability to infuse even small supporting characters with depth and personality.

Watch it here.

As Kashiram in Ram Lakhan (1989)

Kaushik’s performance as Kashiram in Ram Lakhan was a comedic tour-de-force. Directed by Subhash Ghai, Ram Lakhan had an ensemble cast of Rakhee, Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Madhuri Dixit, and Amrish Puri in lead roles. Kaushik was seen as Kashiram, a servant working at Devdhar’s (Anupam Kher) shop, making them one of the funniest twosome in Indian cinema.

Watch it here.

As Mutthu Swami in Sajan Chale Sasural (1996)

Shyamsunder (Govinda), who is from a village, has a great interest in music. He travels to the city, making friends with Muranchand ‘Mutthu’ Swami (Satish Kaushik), a south Indian tabla player. Directed by David Dhawan, the comedy featured a star-studded cast, including Govinda, Karisma Kapoor, and Tabu, but it was Kaushik’s performance as Mutthu Swami that left a lasting impression on audiences.

Watch it here.

As Prakash Choudhury in Hadh Kar Di Aapne (2000)

Whether it was his character of Pappu Pager or his antics with Govinda in Hadh Kar Di Aapne, Kaushik was the go-to man for good, clean humour. Right through his career, his comedy never once veered into over-the-top slapstick. It was always understated yet extremely hilarious, and this film was a great example of that.

Watch it here.

As Mohan Sharma in Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001)

Kaushik’s portrayal of Mohan Sharma, Raj’s (Govinda) friend and also a lawyer, who invites Raj to live with him in his house, was truly unforgettable. Loosely based on Jim Carry’s Hollywood film Liar Lair, the movie shares a few elements from the movie such as Govinda being a lawyer who succeeds professionally by constant lying. His persistent dishonesty infuriates his wife (Sushmita Sen), who threatens to leave him if he doesn’t straighten out. Fearful of his parents‘ divorce, Raj’s son wishes that his father could not lie, and creates a sort of curse that prevents Raj from speaking anything but the truth. He soon finds that honesty, while sometimes vexing, yields its own rewards.

Watch it here.

As Kunjbihari Lal in Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999)

David Dhawan, Govinda and Sanjay Dutt collaborated on a madcap entertainer for the first time in Haseena Maan Jaayegi. The trio joined hands twice again with Jodi No 1 (2001) and Ek Aur Ek Gyarah (2003). Haseena Maan Jaayegi saw Dutt and Govinda play the spoilt sons, Sonu and Monu, of rich businessman Seth Amirchand (Kader Khan). The two fall for sisters Pooja (Pooja Batra) and Ritu (Karisma Kapoor), respectively, and go to great lengths to impress the girls‘ father. Kaushik masterfully played the role of Seth Amirchand’s manager Kunjbihari Lal, introducing a comedic breath of fresh air in the movie.

Watch it here.

As Ashok in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983)

This award-winning film, directed by Kundan Shah, was a social commentary on the country’s bureaucracy, politics and media. In the years to come, this dark comedy went on to achieve a cult status because of its plot and portrayal by actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Satish Kaushik, Neena Gupta, Pankaj Kapur and others. Satish Kaushik was also a co-writer for the film.

Watch it here.