Denzongpa the voyage to the glittering world of films from distant Gangtok in Sikkim, where he was born and had his preliminary education, was quite eventful. In fact his entry into a film career was in many ways a matter of unexpected coincidence. Finishing college from Darjeeling, West Bengal, he made it to the prestigious Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, for he had always dreamed, like many from his region, to join the Indian Army. This desire was perhaps fuelled by his bagging the Best Cadet Award from West Bengal, and in being selected for the annual Republic Day parade in New Delhi. However, once in Pune, he switched over to the Film Institute instead of the Armed Forces College. That is when Tshering Phintso Denzongpa of Gangtok became the future “Danny” Denzongpa of the Mumbai film world. He had decided to change his name to a simpler sounding "Danny" as he realized that his original name would have been difficult to be pronounced once he entered films.
Danny’s film career due to its sheer length of 44 years and 200 plus films cannot be accommodated in a brief profile of his, but the high points of his career and sheer variety of his roles can be discussed, as well as the vicissitudes of his career. Although he had to manage with B-grade movies on his entry in 1971, just 2 years into his career, he drew attention for the role of crippled husband, emoting his frustrations, in “Dhundh” During the entire 70s he displayed his versatility, making a clear mark for himself in the industry. In fact, he portrayed as much of positive roles as he did villainous ones, narrowly missing the role of
in “Sholay” due to a mix up of shooting dates. In 1978 a major landmark came in his career for his role in “Devata” (1978) which saw him get substantial roles after that including big budget ones. However, in the beginning of the 1980s he suddenly lost interest in films, being type cast in villainous roles with the same setting over and over again.
This spell was broken briefly when he directed the
Phir Wohi Raat
” for N.N. Sippy in 1980, but although he went on getting any number of roles he wanted, most of them were not to his liking, as they seemed to be carbon copies of similar roles he had done previously. In between, however, there was something more satisfying for him when he made an international appearance in “Seven Years in Tibet”, co-starring with the redoubtable . Danny, however, reduced his appearances at the turn of the century and between 2003 and 2009 starred in only 10 movies, with very few appearances thereafter. Any profile of Danny would be incomplete without the mention that he was not only an accomplished singer for Nepali songs, but has sung alongside Lata, Asha and Mohd Rafi in Hindi films too.