Danny Denzongpa, born as Tshering Phintso Denzongpa, is an Indian actor, director, and singer of Sikkimese-Bhutia descent. Over a period of more than forty years, he has worked in several Bollywood films, and has also appeared in numerous Tamil, Nepali and Bengali projects. He has even starred in a few international movies, the most popular being ‘Seven Years in Tibet,’ in which he featured alongside Brad Pitt. His prominent Hindi film roles are in ‘36 Ghante’, ‘Agneepath’, 'Khuda Gawah', ‘Bandish’ and ‘'Ghatak’, to name a few. Born in a Buddhist family in Gangtok, Denzongpa dreamt of joining the Indian Army in his early days. He had also qualified for admission in an armed forces college. However, he withdrew his admission to attend the Film and Television Institute of India. He later settled in Mumbai with his wife and two children. Denzongpa is also an accomplished singer and has sung with many legendary Bollywood singers, including Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. He is also a writer, painter, and sculptor. In 2003, he received India's fourth-highest civilian honour, the Padma Shree, for his contribution to the Indian cinema.
Childhood & Early Life
Danny Denzongpa was born as Tshering Phintso Denzongpa on 25 February 1948 in Gangtok, Sikkim, India in a Buddhist family. He studied at Birla Vidya Mandir, Nainital, and St Joseph's College, Darjeeling.
Danny had four sisters and seven brothers. One of his older brothers passed away in 1988.
His love of horse-riding began in his childhood as his family was into horse breeding. He qualified for admission at the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. However, he later decided to join Film and Television Institute of India in Pune.
At the beginning of his acting career, Denzongpa changed his first name to "Danny" as his original name was difficult for many to pronounce.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Danny Denzongpa made his Hindi film debut in 1971 with .R. Ishara's ‘Zaroorat’. He got his major break in ‘Mere Apne’ in which he played a positive role. His first role as an antagonist was in B. R. Chopra's 1973 film ‘Dhundh’ in which he appeared as a frustrated and crippled husband.
Denzongpa had more positive roles in a few successful movies of the 1970s, including ‘Sangram’, ‘Kaala Sona’ and ‘Lahu Ke Do Rang.' During this time, he was also cast in negative roles in various film projects, such as ‘Fakira’, ‘Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka’, ‘Kalicharan’, ‘‘Chor Machaye Shor’, ‘Devata’, ‘36 Ghante’ and ‘Paapi’.
In 1980, Denzongpa made his directorial debut with the suspense-horror film ‘Phir Wahi Raat’ and also starred in it. The movie was regarded as one of the top five best horror suspense movies of Hindi cinema. That year, the actor also had negative roles in ‘Bandish’ as Kapil Kumar and in ‘The Burning Train’ as Randhir.
He played Ram Dogra, Kumar Gaurav’s father-in-law in the romantic flick ‘Love Story’ and also starred in the feature ‘Hum Se Badkar Kaun’ in 1981.
He next featured in Raj N. Sippy’s ‘Boxer’ along with Mithun Chakraborty, Tanuja, Rati Agnihotri and Sharat Saxena in 1984.
In 1985, he again appeared in a negative shade in ‘Aandhi Toofan’ as the notorious biker-gangster, Balbir. This was followed by another negative role as the slum crime lord Shambu in ‘Bhagwaan Dada’, a movie that follows a criminal who transforms through his love for a child.
Denzongpa was cast in a supporting role in the crime drama ‘Agneepath’. In the mid-1990s, he had roles in ‘1942: A Love Story’, ‘Krantiveer’, ‘Vijaypath’ and ‘Ghatak: Lethal’. During this period, the Indian actor also starred in the American biographical war drama flick ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ where he appeared alongside Brad Pitt.
He then played Maj. Ranjir Singh Gurung in Rajkumar Santoshi’s ‘China Gate’ (1998) which produced a hit item number, “Chamma Chamma". In the ensuing years, the actor did the action spy films ‘16 December’ and the war film ‘Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo’.
In the 2000s, he portrayed roles in ‘Frozen’, ‘Hattrick’, ‘Big Brother’, ‘Karzzzz’, and ‘Boss’. In the year 2014, Denzongpa played the role of Home Minister Dashrat Singh in ‘Jai Ho’, a big-budgeted film co-starring Salman Khan.
He played a coordinator named "Feroz Khan" in the hit movie ‘Baby’ alongside Akshay Kumar. He later reprised his role in the flick’s spin-off prequel titled ‘Naam Shabana’.
In 2019, the actor starred as Ghulam Ghaus Khan in ‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’, an epic biographical period drama flick based on the real life of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi.
In the early 1990s, Danny Denzongpa featured in the movies ‘Sanam Bewafa’ and ‘Khuda Gawah’. His performance in the movies as Sher Khan and Khuda Baksh, respectively, earned him two Filmfare Awards for Best Supporting Actor.
Family & Personal Life
Currently, Danny Denzongpa lives in Mumbai with his wife Gawa. They have two children: Rinzing and Pema.