Bollywood actor Chunky Pandey’s career graph provides for interesting reading, with all its ups and downs and twists and turns. For the sake of records, he has an impressive list of over 80 films against his name and in 2015 has achieved a silver jubilee in his filmy career, but these figures can hardly convey the vicissitudes that his career had to go through. It would be best to look at his career in three distinct phases – the initial phase when he entered the industry and within a short time got noticed for his roles, (although not really in lead ones); the second phase when he suffered from the frustration at not being able to break the jinx in Bollywood of being cast in successful lead roles, and deciding to foray into Bangladeshi cinema; and the last and most recent phase when he decided to try his fortune once again in Bollywood, and still continuing his efforts in the rather changed circumstances compared to his initial years there.
It may be difficult to pass judgement on which of these phases has been his most successful one, as they were all in different circumstances and at different periods. In an isolated manner, may be his Bangladeshi phase was the most successful, as all his films there were in lead roles, and he had been able to build up a good fan base which was quite overawed by a Bollywood star “condescending” to work in their midst, although all this happening without his being able to speak a word of Bengali. More rationally, his first phase was perhaps the most eventful and successful too, with his bagging the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his “Tezaab”. At the same time from a personal perspective it must have been a disappointment for him as he did not get many lead roles. He did act in several films like “Aag Hi Aag” released in 1987, having Dharmendra & Mousumi in the lead; followed in 1988 by two Dharmendra starrers “Paap Ki Duniya” and “Khatron Ke Khiladi” ; “Ghar Ka Chiraag” in 1989 with
and finally “Mitti Aur Sona” in the same year where he at last got a lead role. The irony is that with the advent of new generation actors like the Shahrukh Khans and Amir Khans he could not come into the lime light, and continued to fester as the aide or friend to the main heroes like Rajesh Khanna,
, Govinda etc. Even in hits like “
” the limelight was on Govinda although they formed an equally creditable pair.
In his return phase in 2003, after the sojourn in Bangladesh, he made a determined effort to claw back into a niche position, but ended up with mixed results. Starting off with minor roles and some good acting, though in bizarre movies of
Ram Gopal Varma
, he could ultimately make a mark with “
”, appearing both in the original and the sequel, both of which were hits, offering some solace and hope of better times to come.