"Itna Sanaata kyun hai bhai?" For Imam Saheb is no longer here to ask us why there is such an encompassing silence all around.
A.K.Hangal passed away on the 26th of August 2012, he was 95. A noted theatre actor, Hangal made his Hindi film debut at the age of 50. The 1970's was a busy period for the noted character actor, right from acting in more than a dozen Rajesh Khanna films, and performing his most popular role - that of Imam Saheb in Sholay (1975).
Imam Saheb is a subdued character, his blindness meant to convey pathos. In contrast to the film's powerful, vengeful persona, he is vulnerable and fragile, his only light been his young son Ahmed.Then there is the aspect of respect, the introductory lines that convey how everyone in the village is ever ready to help him.
Ahmed's brutal murder acts as a catalyst for the film's violent curve, but for Imam Saheb the loss is already irreversible. His hope dimmed, he still finds the courage to walk up the steps to offer his prayers.