(born 26 September 1962), better known by his stage name Chunky Pandey, is an Indian film actor who works in Bollywood films. He has appeared in over 80 movies in a career that has spanned over three decades.
His most successful movies in Hindi were in the period 1987-1993. After the failure of his Hindi films as lead hero since 1994, his career in Hindi films faded away. Chunky then worked in Bangladeshi Cinema from 1995 and most of his movies in Bangladesh were successful. He has been acting as a character actor since 2003 in Hindi films. He is the father of actress Ananya Pandey and the uncle of actor and model Ahaan Panday
Chunky Pandey worked as an instructor in acting school in 1986. He used to be senior to many junior budding artists such as Akshay Kumar.
1987–1993: Debut and early success
Pandey debuted his acting career with the 1987 multi-starer film Aag Hi Aag opposite Neelam Kothari. Film producer Pahlaj Nihalani gave Chunky Pandey his first break in 1987 by signing him up for two films, his debut film and Paap Ki Duniya. His second successful film was Paap Ki Duniya with Sunny Deol and Neelam. Subsequently, Pandey appeared in many multi-hero films from 1987 to 1993. In 1988, Pandey was appreciated for his supporting role in N. Chandra’s movie Tezaab featuring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. Pandey played the character of Babban, Munna’s (Anil Kapoor) friend. For his performance in Tezaab, Pandey was nominated for the Filmfare Award for the Best Supporting Actor.
Since then he has appeared in many films with mixed success throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. Most of his films where he had the leading role did not fare well at the box office from 1992.In most films, he was cast in supporting roles to senior actors like Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Sunny Deol and Sanjay Dutt. Some of those hit films with him in second lead, are Paap Ki Duniya (1988), Khatron Ke Khiladi (1988), Ghar Ka Chiraag (1989), Nakabandi, Zahreelay (1990), Rupaye Dus Karod, Vishwatma (1992), Lootere (1993) and Aankhen (1993). His solo hit was Parda Hai Parda (1992).
1994–2003: Career slump and hiatus
The advent of the 1990s saw a new wave of actors like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan taking on roles as “romantic heroes”, while Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Ajay Devgan grabbed the “action hero” roles. Pandey found it difficult to slot himself in either category. In addition, by the late nineties, solo-hero films were back in vogue instead of the multi-hero films in which Pandey was generally cast.
Chunky grew increasingly tired of playing second fiddle to more prominent actors, but had difficulty being seen as marketable, other than supporting household names. “I was offered hero ke bhai ka (lead actor’s brother) roles,” Chunky said. “I (told them), ‘Boss, not happening.'” He moved to act as hero in Bangladesh films. In 1995, he was offered his first films as the lead hero in Bangladeshi films. He acted in six films between 1995 and 1997 as hero in Bangladesh and all of them were successful. Between 1997 and 2002, he received minimal work in Bollywood, playing supporting roles in low-budget films like Tirchhi Topiwale, Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan, Kaun Rokega Mujhe and Jwalamukhi.
2003 to present: Return to Bollywood
Chunky Pandey returned to Bollywood in 2003 playing minor supporting roles in Qayamat: City Under Threat, Elaan, Don: The Chase Begins Again and Apna Sapna Money Money.
In 2005, Pandey played an underworld gangster in the Ram Gopal Varma film D – Underworld Badshah. Later, director Ram Gopal Varma roped him in for Darwaaza Bandh Rakho, a dark comedy thriller in which he played one of four robbers who hold a family hostage.
Pandey has played the role of the Indo-Italian “Aakhiri Pasta” in the 2010 comedy hit Housefull followed by his reprised roles in the sequels Housefull 2 in 2012, Housefull 3 in 2016 and in Housefull 4 in 2019.
Though he has recently been starring a character actor, Chunky doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into doing comic roles. “I don’t think I am restricting myself to doing only comedy. I am hoping that someone offers me something else,” Pandey said. “It requires a lot of guts for someone to cast me in something else. I am just hoping that someone sees something else in me other than comedy.”
Pandey married Bhavna Pandey in January 1998. They have two daughters, including actress Ananya Panday