A prolific Bollywood actor, he starred in films such as Surang (1953), Cha Cha Cha (1964), and Kaali Topi Lal Rumaal (2000) and portrayed Sumantra in the 1980s television series Ramayan.
He made his cinematic debut in the 1947 feature Arsi.
Late in his career, he was cast in a small role in the 2009 comedy film 3 Idiots.
His son Ashok Shekhar had a successful career as a television Producer, and his grandson Shakti Arora became a TV actor.
He and Amitabh Bachchan both played major roles in the 1984 Hindi film Sharaabi.