Ten of my favourite Hindi film double roles

Some of you may know that besides being devoted to old cinema, I also watch a lot of modern Korean dramas. My love for K-dramas probably has something to do with the fact that the average Korean TV show has more than a passing resemblance to classic Hindi cinema, from star-crossed lovers (with one usually very wealthy, the other poor), to disapproving parents whom one cannot dishonour by rebelling, to hate-turned-to-love, and so on. They’re addictive, and though I don’t get the time to watch much Korean drama, I have enjoyed pretty much all I’ve seen so far.

The last K-drama I watched was the 2018 show, Are You Human? In this one, a brilliant robotics engineer is forced to leave the country after her husband (supposedly) commits suicide and their little son, Nam Shin, is taken away by her tyrannical father-in-law, who’s a very wealthy and powerful chaebol. The engineer, missing Nam Shin desperately, creates a marvel of AI, a robot designed to be exactly like her son. Twenty years pass, and Nam Shin, now grown up, is nearly killed in an attempted murder and goes into coma. To stop his company (he’s on the verge of inheriting his grandfather’s business empire) from sliding into the hands of baddies, his mother, along with a couple of friends, gets the robot to impersonate Nam Shin.

While the story was entertaining enough, what really struck me about Are You Human? was the acting of the male lead, Seo Kang Joon. The human Nam Shin is an abrasive, arrogant man who hides pain and trauma behind a façade of swagger and brusqueness. The robot Nam Shin is completely different: guileless, innocent, emotionless but with the rule to help humans hardwired into him. Two diametrically different personalities, and Seo Kang Joon played them brilliantly. It wasn’t as if these two characters looked different—they were identical—but Seo Kang Joon, just through body language and expressions (his eyes!), was able to show the difference between them even without dialogue. Brilliant.

… and that brings me to the theme of this post: double roles in Hindi cinema. Or, to be more precise, ten of my favourite double roles. Some of these are people portraying twins; some have other ties of blood (parent and child, for instance). Some aren’t related at all, but are uncannily alike anyway. What marks these roles for me is the skill and talent of the actor who pulls off that double role convincingly.

As always, these are from pre-1970s (except for one, on the cusp) films that I’ve seen. These are in no particular order:

1. Ram aur Shyam (1967): Dilip Kumar as Ram and Shyam. It’s a shame that one of the greatest actors in Hindi cinema ended up playing only one double role. When I see him in Ram aur Shyam, I can’t help but wish he’d done many more. As the cocky, self-confident Shyam, who won’t let anything come in the way of his sense of justice, and as his long-lost twin brother Ram, who’s the very antithesis of Shyam—cringing, helpless, almost contemptible in his pitiableness—Dilip Kumar is not just hugely entertaining, he’s also showcasing his skills as an actor.

2. China Town (1962): Shammi Kapoor as Mike and Shekhar. Shammi Kapoor, though immensely popular (as well as being one of my absolute favourite actors), is never considered one of the acting heavyweights of the Indian silver screen. When given the chance, and a good role (or roles), Shammi could show, however, that he was far better than most people thought him to be. In China Town, for instance. Here, he played the happy-go-lucky guitarist Shekhar, and Shekhar’s long-lost twin brother (yes, lots of those in Hindi films) Mike. Mike has grown up in Calcutta’s Chinatown, and is a hard, brutal, but suave character. Shekhar, on the other hand, is genial and cheery, even to the point of being something of a buffoon. Kapoor’s usual role was rather more the Shekhar kind, but he pulled off the Mike angle very well too. And when Shekhar ends up impersonating Mike to infiltrate a Chinatown gang, the switching between Shekhar’s own personality and his assumed personality of Mike became even more interesting.

3. Do Behnen (1959): Shyama as Vasanti and Malti. Some of the finest double roles, the type which feature two very distinct and unlike-each-other characters, have sadly been reserved for men. Male actors seem to get all the meatiest double roles. But, more than a decade before Hema Malini did a brilliant turn as Seeta and Geeta, Shyama also acted the part of two sisters who are like chalk and cheese. Vasanti and Malti aren’t twins, though they look exactly the same. Vasanti is the elder sister, demure and gentle and bhajan-singing, perfect bahu material. Malti is the loud, brash, Westernized younger sister who doesn’t give a damn; she lives for herself and for her happiness. Whether that means running off with her lover and living with him, or teasing Vasanti for being so conforming. Shyama was very believable as both women: on the one hand, the quintessential ‘good’ Indian woman, on the other, a ‘wayward’ one who gets a chance to redeem herself.

4. Nishaan (1965): Sanjeev Kumar as Kiran and Baadal. Sanjeev Kumar, by the 1980s, had made a name for himself as not just an actor, but an actor, too, who was extremely versatile. And good at playing multiple roles. His double role in Angoor (1982) is arguably one of the best, and funniest, bits of acting in that genre, but even before this, in 1974, Sanjeev Kumar had acted not two, not three, but a total of nine different characters in the very offbeat Naya Din Nayi Raat.

It’s somewhat fitting, really, that his first major role was a double role. In Nishaan (which is only loosely related to the Ranjan-starrer Nishaan of 1949), Sanjeev Kumar played twin brothers who are heirs to a throne. Baadal, brought up without an inkling of his royal heritage, is rather conventional ‘hero’ material: upright, brave, a bit hot-headed, but always good. Kiran, who actually rules, is not an outright villain, but he’s not the pattern card of propriety, either: a drunk, boorish, selfish and arrogant, this is a man who is taking undue advantage of power and wealth. Even this early on in his career, Sanjeev Kumar showed just how good an actor he was. 

5. Sharmeelee (1972): Raakhee as Kanchan and Kamini. Though it was released in 1972, Sharmeelee is so distinctly late 60s in feel (the music, the fashions, the still fresh-faced Shashi Kapoor, even the somewhat old-fashioned tropes that played out in the story) that I think of this film as fitting well into the 60s. This, therefore, is one entry on this list that’s technically from after 1970, but is in spirit part of an earlier era. Raakhee plays two sisters (and no, they aren’t separated at birth). Kamini is the Westernized miss: smart, bold, outgoing, the sort of girl who falls in love with an Army officer while on holiday, and has no qualms about romancing him when she finds him again. Kanchan is (as in Do Behnen) the polar opposite of her sister: the Indian sati savitri who is painfully shy and demure, to the extent of being pretty much asocial (her best friends are animals). These women, in fact, are the extremes of the two characters they embody; one too meek and docile for her own good, the other perhaps a tad too reckless and impulsive for her own good. And Raakhee plays them both perfectly.

6. Hum Dono (1961): Dev Anand as Anand and Major Manoharlal ‘Mani’ Verma. Like his contemporary Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand was hugely popular, but never really acclaimed for his acting skills. Personally, I think he let his star status go to his head: very early on, by the time the 60s dawned, you only ever saw Dev Anand onscreen, not the characters he played. His mannerisms, that ludicrous puff of hair, the swinging arms and characteristic drawl—most times, you forgot who the character was, you only knew that this was Dev Anand playing (or often not even attempting to play) the character.

But Hum Dono was a bit of a change. For once, the mannerisms are mostly toned down, and for once, he does a credible bit of acting. As the fairly conventional but torn hero Anand, as well as the philosophical thinker, Major Verma, who thinks and loves too deeply.  Anand was much like most other Hindi film heroes; Major Verma was somewhat different, a little extreme but contained enough to not end up being a caricature.

7. Apradhi Kaun (1957): Gajanan Jagirdar as Shrinath and Dinanath. In a cinema where the choicest of double roles invariably came only to the biggest stars (though in later years, other character actors as well as comedians were to play double roles too), Gajanan Jagirdar came as somewhat of a surprise in Apradhi Kaun. Jagirdar usually played the avuncular father, wise (or at least trying to be wise), dignified, well-respected.

In Apradhi Kaun, not only did he play two parts, but one of which was very different from his usual style. Dinanath, a poor, broken man, has obviously been afflicted by what looks like a paralytic stroke; his mouth droops, one eyelid droops, one arm is useless, he drags a leg, and his speech is slurred. A pathetic man, who looks and comes across as very different from his identical twin, Shrinath, who is a suave, wealthy man, very sure of himself. Besides the difference in appearance, there is a distinct difference in demeanour; Dinanath comes across as tired, worn out, inherently a gentle and humble soul; Shrinath is diametrically opposite, brusque, unscrupulous, brash. Not a nice man.

It’s a pity Gajanan Jagirdar usually ended up in such predictable roles; he was capable of so much more, as this film showed.

8. Izzat (1968): Dharmendra as Dilip and Shekhar. I remember an interview with Dharmendra in which he’d admitted that after he was passed for any awards for his roles in films like Anupama and Satyakam, he simply gave up trying to act. Which is why, I suppose, barring a few films that he made relatively early in his career, he tends to have very similar roles, undemanding ones that only need him to be himself, and no more. Sing songs, woo a pretty heroine, show occasional angst, swing a fist now and then.

But even, sometimes, in films like this, you do come across a glimpse of the thespian that is Dharmendra, the man who could act. In Izzat, he has a double role as two half-brothers. Shekhar, half-Adivasi, is quiet, studious, a man whom circumstances of birth have made a cynic. Dilip, his half-brother, on the other hand, exemplifies the privileged scion of a wealthy family: happy-go-lucky, carefree, oblivious of the trials and tribulations of the less fortunate. Izzat wasn’t a great film, but Dharmendra was able to portray two different men effectively.

9. Anhonee (1952): Nargis as Roop and Mohini. One of Nargis’s most interesting roles is the one (or two?) she played in Raat aur Din, as the ‘good’ woman Bani, who has a split personality, which every now and then surfaces as the party-loving, flirtatious Peggy. It was a fine portrayal of a woman who is actually two very different women at the same time. That role, while I definitely did want to highlight it in this post, isn’t strictly a double role; but 15 years before Raat aur Din, Nargis acted in a double role, as half-sisters, in this film opposite Raj Kapoor.

In Anhonee, Roop is the ‘good’ sister, brought up in a wealthy household: a little snobbish and imperious to begin with, but (having been transformed by love, perhaps?) kinder, gentler later on. Always dignified, always—with her long hair, her smile that never shows all her teeth, her soft voice—the ‘oonche ghar ki ladki’. A far cry from Roop is her half-sister, the tawaif Mohini. Mohini dresses provocatively, smokes like a chimney, wears her hair short, and is brash and bold. Her eyes flash, she laughs out loud (not bothering that the gap between her teeth shows), she is hard and brassy, yet occasionally oddly vulnerable too, when you see the bitterness in her, her helplessness at having been made into what she is, through no fault of her own. Nargis played these two women very well indeed.

10. Afsana (1951): Ashok Kumar as Ratan and Chaman. To end this list, another of Hindi cinema’s greatest actors. Ashok Kumar was one of those early actors who was refreshingly real, even at a time (in the 30s, for instance) when theatrical acting was the norm. Unlike his contemporary Dilip Kumar (who, sadly, got stereotyped and ended up almost invariably in very similar tragic roles) Ashok Kumar was able to show his versatility in a very wide range of roles, assaying an array of characters.

In Afsana, for instance, he plays two twins, separated at the age of ten (at a mela, no less). Ratan, the ‘good’ twin, grows up away from family and friends, suffering from amnesia and brought up in an orphanage. Though he doesn’t know who he is, his goodness has asserted itself; he’s now a mild-mannered, very popular and upright magistrate, a man whose goodness is being taken for granted by his adulterous wife and cheating best friend.

Chaman, the ‘bad’ twin, on the other hand, is angling after Ratan’s childhood sweetheart, while carrying on an affair with another woman. He’s low enough to attempt to murder Ratan even after discovering that Ratan is his long-lost brother. Though they look different (Ratan is bearded, and wears a sherwani while Chaman is always in Western clothes, is clean-shaven, smokes, and chews paan), the difference is palpably there in their expressions:  in the clear, naïve eyes of Ratan (who is innocent to the point of being somewhat stupid) and the shrewd, contemptuous look in Chaman’s. In Chaman’s sardonic smile, in Ratan’s simple, trusting one. Even when Ratan ends up pretending to be Ratan, you can’t really mistake him for his brother: this man looks different.

Which are your favourite double roles? Please share!  

62 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Hindi film double roles

  1. As always, an interesting theme, Madhu.

    Straight off, a film that comes to mind is Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Kaminey” (2009), where Shahid Kapoor appears as twin brothers, Charlie Sharma and Guddu Sharma, both with speech impediments.

    Set against the backdrop of the Mumbai underworld, “Kaminey” follows a rivalry between the twins- one with a lisp (Charlie) and the other with a stutter (Guddu) over the course of a single day.

    Apparently, both characters were not to appear as caricatures; accordingly, Shahid Kapoor prepared for both roles by meeting and interacting with speech therapists and people with these impediments.

    As the film completes 12 years, Shahid wrote why it would always remain special for him. “12 years ago this film allowed me to express myself as an actor. Not a face… not that cute boy next door… not that done to death ‘I am such a sweet guy, good guy, please like me’ rubbish. My first double role. My first shot at a ‘kamina’ no holds barred. A straight out performing part. This was when it all started. So this one will always be special,” his note read….

    Source:
    https://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/shahid-kapoor-celebrates-12-years-of-kaminey-7455050/

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  2. That is a fine list. The best double roles seem the ones where the actor has to play one role as either the evil twin or character with grey shades. Most of the ‘other’ roles in this list are like those.Both characters being good is not too common.
    I almost thought Afsana (1951) was ignored till I saw the last entry. That film was BR Films first big hit and actually seems a precursor to China Town and the evil twin genre. isn’t it? deserves to be known better.
    BR Films remade it in 1972 as ‘Dastaan’ with Dilip Kumar. He was good in it, the film was so so. ‘Bairaag’ (1975) where he plays a triple role also has one character as the evil twin. As you mentioned in your review of it, of the many shades he showed in ‘Ram aur Shyam’ , this is one side of his acting that film did not have.
    I was distracted by the moustache in ‘Hum Dono’ (did not seem real) and the dark paint on Dharam’s “tribal” twin in ‘Izzat’. but agree that the acting is good in both.
    Would rate Nargis acting in ‘Raat aur Din’ better than in ‘Anhonee’ and will even rate both performances superior to her classic role in a certain Mehboob Khan film.

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    • “The best double roles seem the ones where the actor has to play one role as either the evil twin or character with grey shades.

      Very true. I think, to refine it further, I’d say that there should be an appreciable difference in the two characters for the actor to be able to do justice to them. For instance, in Jigri Dost, both characters played by Jeetendra are ‘good’; one is a gaonwala and the other is an urbanite, so that’s the difference. Not that Jeetendra is a good actor – he still didn’t do a very convincing take as two different men!

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  3. An interesting post with a nice list of double roles.
    It can be divided into two – one where the characters meet each other and one where they dont meet throughout the film

    Besides the ones listed (Hum Dono, China Town, Anhonee, Afsana),my other favourites are:
    Yakeen (1969) – Dharmendra
    Sachcha Jhutha (1970) – Rajesh Khanna
    Seeta Aur Geeta (1972) – Hema Malini
    Mausam (1975) – Sharmila Tagore’
    Don (1978) – Amitabh Bachchan
    Angoor (1982) – Sanjeev Kumar
    Biwi O Biwi (1981) – Sanjeev Kumar
    Chaalbaaz (1989) – Sridevi
    Aakhree Raasta (1986) – Amitabh Bachchan
    Andaz Apna Apna (1994) – Paresh Rawal
    Kaho Na Pyar Hai (2000) – Hrithik Roshan
    Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015) – Kangna Ranaut
    Fan (2016) – Shahrukh Khan

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    • Thank you for that interesting list! I must especially applaud Seeta aur Geeta, Angoor, Don and Biwi o Biwi, all of which were excellent when it came to the portrayal of the double roles. And, yes – Andaz Apna Apna! How delightful that movie is. :-)

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  4. Some of my fav. double roles have been mentioned in the post itself like
    Seeta aur Geeta, Angoor, Raat aur Din,Naya Din Nayi Raat.
    Raat aur Din is not a double role but I consider it as one. Chehre Pe Chehra (1981) , with Sanjeev Kumar as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is also similar. but an ok film.
    Here are some more,
    1. Sharmila Tagore in Mausam (1975) and earlier in ‘An Evening in Paris’ (1967)
    2.Rajesh Khanna in ‘Sachha Jhutha’ (1971)
    3. Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968), Shashi Kapoor as the evil twin.
    4.Yakeen (1969) with Dharmendra
    5. Satte pe Satta (1982) with Amitabh. the 2nd half is actually inspired from ‘Yakeen’ only. ( or was it some hollywood noir or something??)
    6.Biwi O Biwi (1981) with Sanjeev Kumar.
    7. Amitabh Bachchan in Don (1978) and Kasme Vaade (1978)
    8. Neetu Singh in ‘Do Kaliyaan’ (1968).
    9. Sridevi in ‘Chaalbaaz’ (1989). always found it different to Seeta aur Geeta. more like a funny homage than a serious copy.
    10. Mamta (1966), Suchitra Sen
    11.Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968), Rajendra Kumar
    12. Pran in Jungle Mein Mangal (1972)

    and some which are hardly known ,
    1. Madhuri Dixit in Sangeet (1992). I rate this higher than all the acclaimed roles of Ms. Dixit in early 90s.
    2. Do Dulhe (1955), Sajjan
    3. Papi (1953) with Raj Kapoor
    4.Chhote Sarkar (1974) with Shammi Kapoor as the evil twin. maybe the most evil twin ever. you may want to check it. It was an obviously very delayed film. Shammi already had put on a beard in ‘Manoranjan’ at the same time.
    5.Garam Khoon (1980) , Vinod Khanna as the evil twin. a strangely overlooked film.VK was good in it.

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    • Thank you – I got some recommendations there (Garam Khoon for one) which I certainly intend to watch sometime son!

      Oh, I wish I’d remembered Sajjan in Do Dulhe; he was really good in that one. Several of the others were on my shortlist – Yakeen, Mamta, Do Kaliyan, Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan, Haseena Maan Jaayegi – but fell by the wayside because I didn’t think the difference in the characters was as well done. But yes, they’re all good examples of double roles.

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  5. A very good post!
    Enjoyed it.
    My favourite film on the list is Anhonee of course. I loved Nargis as Roop and Mohini. I too realised that Nargis didn’t care if the gap in the front teeth shows up.
    I don’t remember Sharmili at all.
    Dev Anand’s double role was good. Haven’t watched other films.

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  6. Actually, Dilip did play another Double Role! The movie was ‘Dastaan’ which interestingly, was a remake of ‘Afsaana’ mentioned by you! Bindu had a meaty role in the movie as the adulterous wife of the good twin!
    A really good compilation of double roles by you. Thank You!
    Nitin

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    • Thank you for telling me that! I must watch Daastaan sometime. Karan Bali told me that Dilip Kumar also did a triple role, in Bairaag.

      Thank you for the appreciation. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post.

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  7. Nice, never knew about Jagirdar double role in Apradhi Kaun Maybe next time you can share an article on Double Roles by Character Actors which not many know Paresh Rawal in Andaz Apna Apna Jeewan in Amar Akbar Anthony A few more let me recall regards

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    • Yes, Paresh Rawal was really good in Andaz Apna Apna! And, as someone else remarked, there was Sajjan in Do Dulhe (though he was in a lead role in that film). Plus, there have been a few multiple roles by comedians – IS Johar in Johnny Mera Naam has a triple role, and Mehmood does a triple role in Humjoli.

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  8. Such an interesting post, Madhu. I’d done one such some time back:
    https://anuradhawarrier.blogspot.com/2015/09/double-trouble.html

    I liked all the roles you mention – my favourite among them being Nargis in Anhonee.
    Other favourites, apart from those mentioned in the comments, and the usual AB films (he seems to have played the maximum number of double roles) is Vyjayanthimala in Madhumati, playing both Madhumati and Malti (and Radha in the last scene); Amol Palekar in Golmaal, which was hilarious; Kishore Kumar in Luko Churi; Sadhana in Geeta Mera Naam; and finally Kamal Hassan in Aboorva Sagothargal (or Appu Raja, if you prefer). :)

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    • Thank you, Anu! I’d forgotten about your list (though I’m happy to see that barring a few overlaps, there weren’t those many – probably because you went well beyond the 1970 cut-off I impose on myself).

      Oh, you remind me that I must watch Lukochuri sometime! I’ve had it bookmarked for several months now.

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  9. Great list!

    Sharmilee is my obvious favourite. Some others have already been mentioned by others (Seeta aur Geeta, Haseena Maan Jayegi, Don). Geeta Mera Naam is great but honestly the double role is pretty underserved in it, though Sadhana does do a great job distinguishing the two parts.

    I do also have a weakness for Paap aur Punya, even though it is deeply silly and uneven, and for Bhai Bhai, the Sunil Dutt movie.

    Finally, there’s Aurangzeb which is a more recent one I thought was really great.

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    • I have got to see Geeta Mera Naam, it’s a glaring omission from my Sadhana filmography. And I must admit that I’ve not watched Paap aur Punya or Aurangzeb (though the latter has been on my watchlist for a while, because of Rishi Kapoor and Prithviraj Sukumaran). Bhai Bhai, I agree. Sunil Dutt was good in that, though I remember not really caring enough for the film to even write up a review of it.

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      • No, there’s not much to Bhai Bhai though it’s entertaining and overlooked, I think. Only notable thing about it is Sunil Dutt wears a Playboy brand shirt lol.

        lol Geeta Mera Naam is one of my favourite films of all time, as I’m sure I’ve said before. Nutty to the extreme, but so funny and freaky and great. I really wonder what you’ll make of it.

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  10. One of the most memorable double role movies would have to be Chalbaaz – for Sridevi’s great performance as well as Rajnikantth’s cameo. Of course this was based on Seeta and Geeta – which was again based on Ram aur Shyam.
    And what about Angoor – with 2 sets of twins!!

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    • Yes, Angoor is a hoot! Both Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma were fantastic. In comparison, Do Dooni Chaar (the Kishore Kumar-Asit Sen original of Angoor) was rather lacklustre, and their acting didn’t stand out either.

      I remember Chaalbaaz; Sridevi was indeed good in that. So was Hema Malini in Seeta aur Geeta.

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  11. Interesting post. Indian films do seem to love this aspect of twinning. And so do Korean Dramas ( this genre I have discovered only lately thanks to Hyun Bin). The Korean Drama that comes to my mind is ‘Hyde Jekyll, Me’ starring Hyun Bin, in which his character Seo-jin has a dissociative identity disorder and thus plays another character of Robin.

    Anyhow , on the Hindi Film lists, I would add the following few, not discriminating on any merit:
    Judwa (Both with Salman Khan and then reprised by Varun Dhawan)
    War (A double character role by Tiger Shroff)
    Lamhe (Sridevi in a mother daughter dual role)
    Duplicate (Shah Rukh as the titular duplicate ) His Rab de Bana di Jodi doesn’t qualify though.
    Is reincarnation a double role ? In that case we will be flooded !
    The same actor playing a double is a very very convenient trope to maximise TRP :)

    However, to end with , do check the stand out role , as an actor and also as a directorial tool/method, of Paresh Rawal in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, where he plays all that is wrong with Lucky’s life.

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    • Thank you for those many recommendations, ak! I have to admit I hadn’t seen more than a couple of those films. And while Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi isn’t a double role, I think it’s a fairly good instance of one person acting as two fairly different characters. :-)

      Yes, reincarnation is definitely a double role! True, too, that there are loads of examples there. Several people have mentioned Vyjyanthimala in Madhumati (it was on my shortlist too), but there have been dozens since too. Which always makes me wonder why someone would have exactly the same face and voice etc in a reincarnation…

      Totally agree about Hyun Bin In Hyde Jekyll Me. In fact, the idea of this post had initially come up in my mind when I saw that drama a few years back, I was so impressed with his acting! I forgot about it after a while, though, only to be reminded again when I saw Are You Human.

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      • Well in that case ( reincarnation twins) there is :
        Karan Arjun
        Mehbooba
        Om Shanti Om
        Neelkamal
        And a slew of new ones …
        ( And I completely agree on ‘ why should they have the same face ! ‘ Karz was an unusual one .)

        RaOne for a ‘Are you Human’ kind of human/humanoid role .

        Will Sridevi’s Nagin/ Nagina count ?

        On Hyun Bin … CLOY was stupendous :)

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        • Yes, I too was thinking of Karz (which I rewatched recently, after Anu reviewed it) – that was certainly unusual. :-)

          Do you know, I haven’t seen Nagin/Nagina yet. Sridevi is rarely my cup of tea, and somehow, having watched the songs – that Main naagin tu sapera business – I didn’t think this was a film I’d like.

          Also, I must admit I haven’t got around to watching CLOY yet. Yes, yes. I know. But that is partly because the last North-South romance series I watched, The King Two Hearts, was so simply awful. But I do have CLOY on my Netflix list, so I will watch it, hopefully sometime soon.

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  12. It’s great to hear that you watch KDramas too!!
    Like you said it does resemble classic Indian cinema…almost like Bollywood with a Bigger Budget😅
    I had been wanting to watch ‘Do Behnen’ for quite a while but had pushed it off thinking it would lean towards melodrama..but will watch it now for Shyama.

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    • “almost like Bollywood with a Bigger Budget😅

      Exactly! So well described. :-D

      Do watch Do Behnen; it is more progressive than I had thought it would be. And Shyama is really good in it.

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  13. This was quite an interesting list! I haven’t watched some of the films you mentioned so thanks for the recommendation.
    I’d like to mention a movie with a double role I really like – Kanoon (1960). Ashok Kumar played both Badri Prasad, an upright and honest judge who is accused of the murder of Dhaniram, and his lookalike, the actual murderer.

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    • Glad you enjoyed this list, and you’re welcome – I do hope you get to watch some of these films. They’re all fairly good films, too.

      And yes for Kanoon. I wish I’d remembered that, because it is not just a good example of a double role, but also a superb film.

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  14. There is one movie that you should watch … I don’t know if a subtitled version is available. It is “Bale Pandiya” which has Sivaji Ganesan in three roles and if that were not enough it has the inimitable M R Radha in a dual role.
    Before You cry off saying that Sivaji G is too melodramatic let me assure you it is a comedy and he plays a guy short of confidence( movie starts with him attempting a suicide, a thief and a scientist.
    The movie has wonderful songs and it is mostly a breeze. I love it and so would you!

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  15. Enjoyed reading your list of double roles in Hindi movies. Except Nishaan I had not watched any other movie from the list. Resisting the desire to watch Nishaan one more time, decided to watch Izzat. Shekhar’s black paint was so distracting that left the movie after the first few minutes, ended up watching Nishaan. Today finally I watched Izzat, did not like it much. Although Shekhar come to take revenge, except when he goes to Thakur’s bedroom to kill him, there is nothing in the movie that shows that he really wants to take revenge.

    One movie with a double role is Devta where Shabana plays mother and daughter. It has two of my favourite Gulzar songs – Gulmohar gar tumhara naan hota and Chaand chura ke laya hun.

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    • Glad you enjoyed this list. Yes, Izzat isn’t a good film, but I thought Dharmendra’s acting (not his makeup!) as two different men was pretty good.

      I haven’t seen Devta, though of course I am very familiar with those two songs. I will make a note of that – Shabana is an actress I like a lot.

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  16. Excellent list as usual.

    I personally like those double roles which make me forget that I am watching the same person play both. For example, Raakhee in “Sharmeelee”. Though her movies are outside the scope of this blog, I found the same quality in Sridevi’s performance in “Chaalbaaz”. Come to think of it, I felt the same way about her performance in “Lamhe”.

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    • Exactly my criterion: I wanted to highlight roles in which I forgot that it was one person playing both. Raakhee does that brilliantly. I had watched Chaalbaaz and Lamhe too long back to remember much, but yes, several others also have praised Sridevi in the Chaalbaaz roles.

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  17. Couple of more double roles that I wanted to mention:
    1. Gustakhi Maaf (1969), another copy of Comedy Of Errors, has Tanuja playing the twin sisters who get separated.
    Had seen the movie years ago and I remember enjoying it with some scenes being quite funny and hilarious with the bubbly and energetic Tanuja doing a good job.

    2. Anokhi Raat (1968) had Zaheeda in a double role of a village belle and a city girl. Though n limited actress, she did fairly well in depicting two dissimilar characters.

    Talking of character artistes, one of my favourite artiste Lalita Pawar played good and bad sisters in Tumse Achha Kaun Hai (1969), a later Shammi Kapoor movie that I am not fond of except for a couple of songs.
    And of course, Kader Khan played a double role in many movies of late 80s and 90s.
    Not really worth mentioning except Hum and Main Khiladi Tu Anari.

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    • I love Gustakhimaaf, and it was on my shortlist, though since I didn’t get the time to rewatch it (which I wanted to do), I had to skip it. From what I recall, the emphasis is on only one of the twins Tanuja plays, not both. My lasting impression was not of great acting as two people, but great acting as that one very feisty woman.

      Thank you for the other suggestions, too – I have seen both Anokhi Raat as well as Tumse Achha Kaun Hai, but had forgotten that there were double roles in them.

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  18. Tanu Weds Manu return is where you find yourself rooting for Haryanvi athlete, little gauche yet confident Datto against pampered, vain Tanu and suddenly you realize that both played by same actor. In recent years, I haven’t seen such good characterization especially in double roles.

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  19. I worked as a cook at a Korean restaurant in my late teens. The owners kept a television in the “house” of the restaurant set to SBS at all times–captions on, sound off. I must admit that the impression I got of K-series during my brief forays out of the kitchen at that time tended toward the bewildering (although I did admire the rich costuming of the period shows).

    I’m pleased to find that I’ve seen and enjoyed almost everything you mention, with the exception of “Do Behnen.” It was recommended to me years ago, but I have never happened upon a copy. I see that it’s on YouTube these days. Wonders of the internet!

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    • I wonder if, if you went back to Korean dramas now and actually sat down and watched one, you might not find it quite so bewildering. A lot of the ‘standard’ ones tend to be surprisingly similar to the average old Hindi movie – which is of course perhaps one reason so many Indians are jumping on the K-drama bandwagon. :-)

      Oh, yes – please do give Do Behnen a try. I like the somewhat unusual way of treating the ‘bad girl’ in it. She is obviously not the demure, chaste ‘good girl’, but the character is a nuanced, interesting one that doesn’t end up the usual way ‘bad girls’ do in Hindi cinema.

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  20. (Meanwhile, in immense excitement, Simrita’s computer decided to go ahead and post the comment without waiting for the numbered points to appear!)

    1. I LOVED that a Kdrama inspired this post. Loved, loved it!
    And that reminded me of a popular Kdrama trope that is used- men pretending to be women or women pretending to be men. And I was trying to think of hindi movies with a similar premise. But I can only think of Rafu chakar where a gender disguise was not caricatured and where the disguise was somewhat believable.

    2. I Love all the movies you selected and I want to add my favourites – Seeta Geeta, Chalbaaz and Angoor. All brought to life by the leads. Chalbaaz is my absolute favourite. There was something about growing up with Sridevi’s movies and a recent rewatching of the movie made me realise how ahead of its time was Chalbaaz! As was Lamhe where she played a mother-daughter role.
    Sridevi payed a double role in a movie called Gurudev too- the movie was dull but Sridevi was good- she always seemed to enjoy her roles and make everything look effortless. Oh this is turning out to be a Sridevi appreciation post!

    3. The only movie I didn’t enjoy from the list – Sharmelee. I wanted to shake up docile Rakhee all.the.time and scream, woman please. Granted Rakhee was good but uggghh the movie!

    Thank you! This was a very fun post to read!

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    • Yes, I do agree about the docile female Raakhee played in Sharmeelee – she made me grit my teeth, she was so irritatingly spineless! But I still like that film a lot; Shashi Kapoor looks fabulous, the songs are great, and all said and done, I do think Raakhee acts really well. ;-)

      I must admit I don’t remember too many K-dramas featuring cross-dressed people. Coffee Shop Prince (which was the first K-drama I ever watched), of course, and I know there was one featuring a young novice who masquerades as her twin brother, in a band? (I think); haven’t watched. Oh, andNokdu Flower. Which others do you recommend?

      While there aren’t too many men in Hindi cinema disguised as women for any length of the story (there are many in drag for a song or two), there are Biswajit and Keshto Mukherjee in Biwi aur Makaan, doing a really good job pretending to be women for much of the film. And there are many women disguised as men for large parts of films – Kalpana Karthik in Taxi Driver and Nau Do Gyarah;, Nargis in Miss India, Asha Parekh in Love in Tokyo

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      • Yes, Coffee Prince and Tale of Nokdu/ Nokdu flower. Then there are:

        1. Empress Ki: If you enjoy historical dramas, then this one is for you!

        2. The Secret Garden: Our two main leads keep swapping bodies and finding themselves in very awkward positions. I didn’t enjoy this much, though this is a highly rated drama of its time.

        There are many others but there is so much Korean drama to watch, I fear I shall run out of time!

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        • Oh, yes. I should have remembered Secret Garden, since I’ve seen that too. And later I recalled a couple of others – Sungkyunkwan Scandal and Love in the Moonlight, both with women disguised as men. I do need to watch Empress Ki – have heard so much about it, but the length daunts me.;-)

          “There are many others but there is so much Korean drama to watch, I fear I shall run out of time!

          Totally echo that!

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  21. Quite a nice post from you as always expected. Dilip Kumar played a double role in B.R. Chopra’s Dastaan (1972) also which was nothing but a remake of Afsana (1951).He played a triple role in Bairaag (1976) which was his last movie as a romantic hero. Bairaag is a highly entertaining movie, take my word for it. You won’t regret after watching it. And Dilip Kumar played a double role in his very last movie Qila (1998) also, playing an evil brother and a nice brother. Qila is a murder mystery in which the evil brother is the murder victim whereas the other (nice) one is a judge who takes upon him to investigate this murder of his brother and unmask the murderer. My personal favourite double role is Dev Anand in Banarasi Babu (1973) and Gajanan Jagirdar in Apradhi Kaun (1957). Apradhi Kaun is perhaps one of the best suspense movies ever made in Bollywood. Not just Gajanan’s performance in the twin roles but the movie as a murder mystery had simply enthralled me.

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    • Thank you. Yes, a couple of other people – both here and on Facebook – told me about Dilip Kumar’s other, later, double roles too.

      I completely agree about Apradhi Kaun being a very good murder mystery. Classic Christie-style!

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