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Asrani Biography


Asrani (actor)

Occupation: actor, producer
Years active: 1969-present

Govardhan Asrani (Hindi: गोवरधन असराणी, born 1 January 1941 in Jaipur, India), popularly known simply as Asrani, is an actor in Indian films whose Bollywood career has spanned over 35 years.His wife 'Manju Bansal' is also an actress.

Early life

He was born to a middle class Sindhi family with not much acting blood. His father migrated to Jaipur and opened a shop selling carpets. He has a sister and three brothers- two younger and one elder. Asrani was highly uninterested in business and very weak in Mathematics. He completed his matriculation from Xaviers School and did his graduation from Rajasthan College, Jaipur. He simultaneously worked as a voice artise on All India Radio, Jaipur, to pay for his education. His ultimate aim was to become an actor.


He began to learn acting from Acting Guru- Sahitya Kalbhai Thakkar from 1960 to 1962. In 1962- he travelled to Bombay (Now Mumbai) and began to seek opportunities to act- in 1963- Hrishikesh Mukherjee advised him to learn acting professionally.

In 1964 Asrani joined the Film Institute in Poona and finished his course in 1966. He impressed many others and in 1967 he made his acting break in a Gujrati movie opposite budding actress Waheeda (Not legendary Waheeda Rahman but the Gujrati Actress). He acted in four other movies- mainly as Actor or supporting actor in Gujrati from 1967 to 1969 before landing his first Hindi movie role in Umang- a low budget movie- which also had Subash Ghai and Paintal. In 1969- he was offered the role of Rajesh Khanna's friend in Aradhana but Rajesh was more comfortable with an older person and preferred Sujit Kumar. His old advisor- Hrishikesh Mukherjee also passed him over for the movie- Anand giving the role to an older person- but gave Asrani a role in Bawarchee. This role set the tone for a number of supporting or comedic roles like Abhimaan (Supporting), Chala Murari Hero Banne (Comedy), Chupke Chupke Comedy, Choti Si Baat Comedy or his most remembered role- as the Jailer in Sholay. He was hugely talked about in the 1970s and was one of Amitabh Bachchan's close friends. In the 2007- Abhishek-Aishwariya Wedding- Asrani and Prem Chopra were the only two of Amitabh's old friends invited to the wedding.

In the 1980s- he acted in over 50 films but most of his roles were very minor mainly because the concept of a comedian was coming to a phase out and heroes preferred to do their own comedy. During this period in 1982- he set up a small Gujrati production company with fellow artistes Dinesh Hingoo, Harish Patel and Salim Parvez (son of famous supporting actor Yunus Parvez), the company dissolved in 1996 with a large profit. He also invested mainly in Cloth and acted as investor for other actors, until 1991 when he lost a lot of money. From 1988 to 1993- he also was a Director for the Film Institute in Poona.

The 90's and 2000's have also seen him in a number of blockbuster films like Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Hera Pheri, Chup Chup Ke, Hulchul and Deewane Huye Pagal and he is an integral part of comedies by Sajjid Nadiadwala or Priyadarshan- but his roles are very minor and he has a very short screen space.

His son- Naveen Asrani (Born 1969) is an established Dentist in Ahmedabad.

Other Facts

Asrani has acted in over 300 Films over the last 35 years and also in close to 150 Gujrati films.

Asrani has also directed some movies:

Udaan 1997
Dil Hi To Hai 1992
Hum Nahin Sudhrenge 1980
Salaam Memsaab 1979
Chala Murari Hero Banne 1977
Amdavad No Rikshawalo 1974

In 1977, Asrani sang two songs in the movie Alaap, both were picturised onto him. A year later he sang a duet with the singing legend Kishore Kumar for the film Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan.

Asrani recently made a special appearance in the Punjabi film Yaariyan.

Asrani and Mallika Sherawat were the judges of the 18th Annual Naya Andaz competition on April 17, 2010, in New Jersey.


Best Actor, Best Director Award from Gujarat State Government for "Saat Qaidi" (Gujarati)
Nominated Filmfare Award "Best Supporting Actor" - Abhimaan
Filmfare Award for best comedian - Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar 1973
Filmfare Award for best comedian - Balika Badhu (1976)
Shama Sushama Award for Best Comedian - Anhonee


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