Mumbai, December 8
Junior Mehmood, the child star remembered for his endearing performances in films such as “Caravan”, “Brahmachari” and “Mera Naam Joker” in the late 1960s and early 1970s, died in the early hours of Friday following a battle with cancer. He was 68.
The actor, who was born Naeem Sayyed and got his pen name from his idol Mehmood, was laid to rest at the Santa Cruz Cemetery in the presence of family and associates from the film industry in the evening.
“My father passed away at 2 am following his battle with stomach cancer. He was in a critical condition for the last 17 days. He had lost 35-40 kg in a month,” Junior Mehmood’s younger son Hasnain Sayyed told PTI.
Junior Mehmood began as a child artist with “Mohabbat Zindagi Hai” (1966) and “Naunihal” (1967). He was given the name Junior Mehmood by late comedy icon Mehmood after they starred together in the 1968 film “Suhaag Raat”.
Cinema personalities such as Johnny Lever, Raza Murad, Raju Shreshtha, Rakesh Bedi, Avtar Gill, Aditya Pancholi and Ram Sethi (Pyarelal) were amongst those who reached his residence to pay their last respects.
Johnny Lever, who visited Junior Mehmood’s house last week, said he and the late actor were like family for the last five years.
“He was such a big star, but he always gave us love... We were still together. We kept visiting each other’s houses. But, sadly, we have lost one of our brothers. A very big artist of the industry is not with us anymore,” the actor-comic told reporters.
According to Murad, Junior Mehmood is the “first and last child artist” whose name sold record tickets.
“In our 110 years of Indian filmmaking, he created history. I don’t think anyone will be able to break this record till date,” the veteran actor said.
Shreshtha, better known as Master Raju, said he used to play cricket with Junior Mehmood.
“I was in touch with him but this news came suddenly. He was not just my co-actor; he was like my elder brother. I spent many days and years at his house, so it is sad,” he added.
Javed Jafferi, Ali Asgar and Sunil Pal were at the cemetery to bid adieu to the actor, who was a huge success as a child actor but could not make it big as an adult star.
“You were an integral part of my childhood which was all about the movies. Rest In Peace Jr. Mehmood. Many thanks for the years of entertainment,” director Sanjay Gupta wrote on X.
Trade union Cine & TV Artistes’ Association (CINTAA) also expressed its condolences on the death of the actor, who was its member since 1966.
Veteran actors Jeetendra and Sachin Pilgaonkar visited the actor at his residence on Tuesday after he expressed a desire to meet them.
Jeetendra shared screen space with the actor in several movies, including “Suhaag Raat” and “Caravan”.
In a career of over four decades, Junior Mehmood featured in over 260 films across seven languages. His other popular films include “Kati Patang”, “Mere Naam Joker”, “Hare Raama Hare Krishna”, “Geet Gaata Chal”, “Imaandaar”, “Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri”, “Aaj Ka Arjun”, “Gurudev”, “Chhote Sarkar” and “Judaai”.
As a child actor, Junior Mehmood memorably recreated Mehmood’s iconic song “Hum Kaale Hain To Kya Hua” from 1965’s “Gumnaam” in the Shammi Kapoor-starrer “Brahmachari” in 1968, mimicking his idol’s mannerisms to the T.
The actor played the brother-in-law of Mehmood’s character in “Suhaag Raat”. They became friendly during the shoot of the 1968 film, also starring Jeetendra and Rajshree.
In an interview with ‘Amar Ujala’, Junior Mehmood recalled how the bond was born. He said the comic icon invited the entire film unit to his house for his daughter’s first birthday. At the event, the child actor danced to “Hum Kale Hai Toh Kya Hua”.
“He was so happy to see me dance that he picked me up in his arms and told my father, ‘You don’t worry about this boy, I will take care of him’. Next day, he called me to Ranjit Studio in Dadar and tied a ‘gandha’ on my wrist and made me his disciple.
“From then on, people started calling me Junior Mehmood. I gave him ‘guru dakshina’ of Rs 5.25 and I bought sweets for 50 paise and distributed it amongst people,” Junior Mehmood had said in the interview.
Pilgaonkar, who worked with Junior Mehmood in “Brahmachari”, remembered his childhood friend in a post on Instagram.
“I have so many beautiful memories with him that I will always cherish. Om shanti,” he captioned a still from the film.
In an X post, filmmaker Khalid Mohammed expressed gratitude to “the livewire actor who regaled us with fun n laughter in countless films”.
“Very sad to hear about #jrmehmood sad demise .. RIP,” said “Gadar 2” director Anil Sharma.
The actor also appeared on TV shows such as “Pyaar Ka Dard Hai Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara” and “Ek Rishta Saajhedari ka”.
According to the actor’s close friend Salaam Kazi, Junior Mehmood had pain in his stomach and was getting treated by a local doctor. But when he started losing weight, his family decided to take him to the Tata Memorial Hospital.
Junior Mehmood is survived by two sons and a wife.
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