Veteran actor Mehmood Ali — the man who made India laugh—had a tragic life himself. From selling eggs and being chauffeur, he started his career a child actor in Kismet (1943), where he played a young Ashok Kumar. Later, Guru Dutt noticed him and gave him his big break. Years later, he shot to fame with Rajendra Kumar’s film, Sasural, in 1961. Yet, while his professional life thrived, his personal life was ridden with several burning problems, ranging from his troubled marriages to heavy reliance on medicines.
During his interview with Wildfilms India, Mehmood opened up about his marriages and his addiction, saying, “I don’t know why I got into calmpose (a medicine), I do know one thing—wrong is always wrong. See look, you’re a married man, and you’re in love with someone else, not only one—seven-eight tracks in my mind are going. So I just went crazy, where to go. A phone call comes, ‘You’ve not come. You were talking to her?’ ‘No, no I’m coming. You’re my darling, I love you.’ Love has become bhelpuri,” he said. Mehmood was linked to several actors, including Aruna Irani, though they denied the rumours. He explained that there was ‘nothing serious’ and they just had a lot of affection for each other.
He added, “I said this is all wrong, how to come out from this? Forget all this, I lost my mother. As it is from childhood, I don’t get good sleep. My doctor told me to take calmpose,” he said, and added that he kept taking more, to the extent he would take ‘100’ tablets a day. “I would take more than 100 calmpose at a go. I used to drive the car, I used to act. All my movies, Kunwara Baap, Sabse Bada Rupaiyaa, all on calmpose.” He then realised that he was gaining weight and realised that he should finally stop.
Later his biography expounded his feelings towards women further, which read, “It’s true that women have been my weakness… But I never forced any woman to get into bed with me… Whatever I did, I did openly.”
Mehmood suffered innumerable losses in his life, including the death of his newborn daughter Masooma. “I’d sleep with the lifeless toy and remember my little child,” he was once quoted saying. He was further upset when his three sons left home. In his memoir, he recalled, “I’d given Rs 6 lakh each to Pakki Ali, Lucky Ali and Macky Ali so that they could invest the money… But they took a trip abroad and blew it all up. Later when they needed money, I refused to give them. The three left home.”
Mehmood passed away at the age of 71 in 2004.