Sham Kaushal is an Indian action director and stunt coordinator. Sham Kaushal is the recipient of five Filmfare awards and has worked in films such as Krrish 3 (2013), Bajirao Mastani (2015), and Padmaavat (2018). Sham Kaushal has worked as an action director and stunt coordinator for Hollywood movies such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011).
Sham Kaushal (also known as Shyam Kaushal) was born on 24 November in Mirzapur, Punjab, India. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius.
Sham did his Post Graduation in English Literature from Government College in Hoshiarpur, Punjab.
He moved from Punjab to Mumbai and worked as a Sales Representative for a year.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Sham Kaushal’s mother and father are deceased. His father used to be a shopkeeper. There is not much known about his siblings.
Wife & Children
Sham Kaushal is married to Veena Kaushal. Veena is a homemaker. Sham Kaushal has two sons, Vicky Kaushal and Sunny Kaushal. Both his sons are prominent actors in the Hindi film industry. Sunny Kaushal has worked as an assistant director and an actor.
Sham Kaushal follows Hinduism.
Sham Kaushal worked as a stuntman for seven years after his first job as a Sales Representative. Sham became a stuntman after coming across other stuntmen in his neighbourhood. Sham became a part of the stunt artist union on 8 August 1980. He became a member with the help of Veeru Devgn (Ajay Devgn‘s father). Sham borrowed Rs. 1000 from a friend to pay the membership fee. The first film that Sham Kaushal worked in as a stuntman was Sawaal (1982), where he performed stunts as a police constable.
In an interview, Sham shared the story of how he shifted from a stuntman to an action director,
How I got my first film as an action director was a stroke of destiny. On 6 May 1990, I was shooting at Filmistan Studio, playing a dacoit. I used to stay at a chawl in Adarsh Nagar at that time. A production controller, Ravi Nair knew that I am well-versed with action work and want to venture out independently…He introduced me to Thampi Kannanthanam…They wanted an action director who was new and could speak English because the director didn’t speak Hindi. The director liked me…When we met, Thampi Kannanathanam told me the sequence and asked me how I would do it. I shared my views and he liked it.”
30 years ago(07/05/1990) got break to work as Action Director with a Malyalam Film #Inderjalam Directed by Mr. Thampi Kanantham & staring mega star @Mohanlal & Dop @santoshsivan thanking all the wonderful people who gave me the chance to work with them during this journey. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/Fl6I41GdRo
— Sham kaushal (@shamkaushal09) May 7, 2020
Sham Kaushal used to put himself in dangerous situations to pull off stunts as a stuntman. Speaking about the lack of safety measures, Sham’s son Vicky Kaushal spoke in an interview about his father’s experiences,
He’s lit himself on fire, he’s fallen off 10-storey buildings, there were no safety measure… He’s done all of that. The other day, he was telling me, the first time he rode a horse, he didn’t know how to. But if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been paid. He fell, and he fractured his hand. But he didn’t have the money to get it treated because he needed food. So, the bone is still broken.”
Sham Kaushal has also worked as a stuntman in films such as Aap Ke Saath (1986) and Do Qaidi (1989).
In 1990 Sham Kaushal got his first job as an action director in the Malayalam film “Indrajalam” (1990). The film was directed by Thampi Kannanthanam and had Mohanlal as a lead actor.
To work as an action director, Sham Kaushal gave up his membership in the stunt artist union to get his action director membership card. After that, he worked on the Bollywood film Prahaar: The Final Attack (1991) which Nana Patekar directed. His work in Prahaar earned him the Salaam Bombay’s Best New Action Director Award in 1991. Sham Kaushal went on to be the action director of Bollywood movies such as Dhanwaan (1993), Devdas (2002), Kabul Express (2006), Om Shanti Om (2007), Quick Gun Murugan (2009), Guzaarish (2010), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Dangal (2016), Padmavati (2018), and Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022) among others. As of 2023, Sham Kaushal has been the action director of well over 90 Bollywood movies. Sham Kaushal has worked in Malayalam cinema in films such as Naadody (1992), Yoddha (1992), and Chukkan (1994).
In an interview, Sham Kaushal spoke about how actor Mohanlal brought him back for more projects after working with him in Indrajalam (1990).
Sham Kaushal has also worked on the Telugu films Panjaa (2011) and Wild Dog (2021). Sham Kaushal has worked in the Punjab film industry in films such as Shaheed Uddham Singh: Alais Ram Mohammad Singh Azad (2000), Hashar (2008), Sajjan Singh Rangroot (2018), and Ik Sandhu Hunda Si (2020).
He has worked in Tamil cinema as well. Sham was the action director for the hit film Ponniyin Selvan: Part I (2022). Sham Kaushal has worked in T.V. serials such as Chanakya (1991) and Shaktimaan (1997). Sham Kaushal has worked in several TV commercials as well. Sham Kaushal has also worked in Hollywood films such as One Night with the King (2006), where he was the stunt coordinator. He was the action director and stunt coordinator for Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
Sexual Harassment Allegations
In 2018, during the #metoo movement, two people working in the film industry accused Sham Kaushal of incidents of sexual misconduct. One person mentioned that during an outdoor shoot in 2006, Kaushal showed her an explicit video on his phone. Another woman provided details of text messages she claimed Sham Kaushal sent her during a shoot. Sham Kaushal took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to issue an “unconditional apology” for any “unintentional hurt or anguish caused”. Nameeta Prakash, an assistant director in Bollywood, shared on Facebook that during a 2006 outdoor shoot, Kaushal suggested she visit his room for vodka after work. Prakash stated that she was uncomfortable with the idea, and lied to Sham saying she does not drink. When she resisted, Kaushal allegedly showed her a pornographic video on his phone. Sham Kaushal shared a statement on Twitter saying,
Ever since I have been working in this industry I have tried my best to be a good human being professionally and personally, never wishing to hurt or disrespect anyone. I have read the allegations made against me by some crew members. If I have unintentionally caused any hurt or anguish, I unconditionally apologise to the ladies, to the production houses, and to each & every member of the film fraternity.”
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Sham Kaushal won the Best New Director Award from Salaam Bombay for his work in Prahaar, in 1991.
- Sham Kaushal won Salaam Bombay’s Best Jury Award for his work in the film Pathreela Rasta in 1994.
- Sham Kaushal won the 2006 GIFA ‘s (Global Indian Film Awards) Best Action Award for his work in the film Krrish (2006).
- Sham Kaushal won the 8th IIFA’s Best Action Award in 2007 for his work in the film Krrish (2006).
- Sham Kaushal won the Filmfare Awards’ Best Action Award for his work in the films Don: The Chase Begins Again (2006) and Krrish (2006).
- Sham Kaushal won the 2007 Filmfare Award for Best Action Director for his work in the film Krrish (2006).
- Sham Kaushal won the 2010 IIFA’s (11th International Indian Film Academy Awards) Best Art Director Award for his work in Kaminey (2009).
- Sham Kaushal was awarded at the 19th Annual Screen Awards, 2013 for his work in the film Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).
- Sham Kaushal won the Filmfare Award 2013’s Best Action Award for his work in Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).
- Sham Kaushal was awarded at the IIFA (International Indian Film Academy Awards) Awards in 2013 for his work in the film Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).
- Sham Kaushal won the Best Action Director Award at the 15th IIFA Awards in 2014.
- Sham Kaushal was awarded at the Zee Cine Awards 2014 for his work in the film Dhoom 3.
- Sham Kaushal received the Filmfare Best Action Award in 2015 for his work in the film Gunday (2014).
- Sham Kaushal won the IIFA (International Indian Film Academy Awards) award for Best Action Director in 2016 for Bajirao Mastani (2015).
- Sham Kaushal was awarded the Zee Cine Award for Best Action Director in 2016 for Bajirao Mastani (2015).
- Sham Kaushal won the Filmfare Best Action Award in 2016 for his work in Bajirao Mastani (2015).
- Sham Kaushal won the 62nd Jio Filmfare Awards’ Best Action Award in 2017 for his work in the film Dangal (2016).
- Sham Kaushal won the award for Best Action at the Zee Cine Awards, in 2018, for his work in the film Kaabil (2017).
- Sham Kaushal was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th Bollywood Festival, in Norway in 2022.
- Sham Kaushal was diagnosed with cancer in September 2003. He underwent an operation and after a struggle, was cancer-free. In an interview held in 2022, he said,
I was not sure whether I would survive or not. I have not shared this with anyone. I was in the hospital for 50 days. I came back to work after that. they kept testing me for a year. But luckily, the cancer did not spread. It’s been 19 years since that incident.”
- In an interview held in 2022, Sham Kaushal revealed that he worked as the action director for all of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies. he said,
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has worked with only me for all of his films from Khamoshi (Khamoshi: The Musical, 1996) to Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022). It’s a big achievment for me to be able to work with one director for 25 years.”