Obituary: John Cawas

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The Independent Online
John Cawas, actor and bodybuilder: born Jabalpur 1910; died Bombay 4 October 1993.

JOHN CAWAS was a stuntman in Indian films who became a household name in the Forties and Fifties after he began acting in hugely popular Tarzan and adventure films.

Cawas joined Bombay's burgeoning film industry during the Thirties when outlandish adventure films were in vogue and was acclaimed as a swordsman in Hunterawali ('Lady with a Riding Crop'), starring oposite the voluptuous Nadia, a pin-up favourite of the day. Hunterawali, which has had several re-makes since, was a hit, and the muscle-bound Anglo-Indian with the smooth good looks became an instant success. His Western looks and manly antics endeared Cawas to India's growing cinema-going population, reminding them of Hollywood stars.

Born in Jabalpur in central India in 1910, Cawas concentrated more on bodybuilding and fencing than on education. He moved in 1935 to Bombay where he attracted the attention of Homi Wadia, the father of Indian stunt films, and was cast in Hunterawali. Cawas went on to star in a series of equally popular Tarzan films - Toofani Tarzan ('Hurrican Tarzan'), Jungle King, Sher-e-Baghdad ('Lion of Baghdad'), Diamond Queen and Carnival Queen - from the early Forties til the early Sixties.

Cawas's last film was Khilari ('The Player', 1981). A genial man, Cawas was well liked by his film crews and supporting casts.