Danny Denzongpa who was originally born Tshering Phintso Denzongpa on 25 February 1948 is an Indian actor, singer and film director of Bhutia descent from Sikkim. He has mainly worked in Bollywood films, though he has also appeared in several Nepali, Tamil, Bengali and Telugu films.
Here are 5 things you probably did not know about the famous star:
#1 Denzongpa’s love of horses and horse riding began at an early age, as his family was into horse breeding. He is also a painter, a writer and a sculptor.
#2 He nursed an ambition to join the Indian Army and won the Best Cadet award from West Bengal and participated in the Republic Day parade. In an interview to The Times of India newspaper, he said that he had qualified for the prestigious Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, but withdrew admission to join the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.
#3 He decided to change his name to a simpler sounding “Danny”, on recommendation from his then-colleague Jaya Bachchan, as his original name – Tshering Phintso Denzongpa – was found to be hard to pronounce.
#4 During his early film career, Danny used to practice learning Hindi by talking to the ocean.
#5 It is said that Danny was the first choice to play the iconic role of “Gabbar Singh” in the film Sholay. However, since he was away on the shoot of the Feroz Khan film Dharmatma, eventually Gabbar’s role went to Amjad Khan.
He is also an accomplished singer, having sung with Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle, three stalwarts of Indian music. He has sung a Nepali duet with Asha Bhosle, “Aage aage topai ko gola pachhi pachhi machinegun barara” in 1976.
All of his Nepali songs are hits and people like them even today. “Hiun vanda chiso, Aago vanda taato…” (“Colder than snow, hotter than fire..”), “Naachana hoi maichyan hau nachana”, (“Dance o lovely girl”), “Jhimkai deu pareli manma bajchha mitho murali…”, (“Please blink your eyes and sweet sound of flute plays in the heart), “Rato rani phulay ghain sanjama”, “Pani Hai Paryo Jhyaure” etc. are some of his few hit numbers. He gained popularity as a singer in the period 1975-1990 especially in places like Nepal, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Assam.
He wrote and acted in the Nepali film Saino which was a superhit. His nephew Ugyen Chhopel directed it. He has sung its title song and a duet with Deepa Narayan, wife of Udit Narayan. Later, this film was made in Hindi as Ajnabi as a telefilm for Doordarshan.