BollyCurry is back once again, bringing to you yet another star from times
bygone in our Fragrance of Yesteryears
series. This time round, we feature the versatile actor Sanjeev Kumar
. Most known for his role as the strong Thakur
he has appeared in over a hundred films in a variety of roles!
Kumar was born on July 9th, 1938 as the eldest son of a
Gujarati Jain family in Surat, who later moved to Mumbai. He started his acting
career as a theatre actor with the Indian People's Theatre Association in
Mumbai. He then moved onto doing stage work with the Indian National Theatre
and appeared in low budget Bollywood movies. Kumar received his big break when he was spotted
by renowned filmmaker Gulzar during his portrayal of a sixty year old man in a play. Gulzar
was so impressed with Kumar's flawless execution of an old man, despite being only
twenty-two years old himself, that he cast Kumar in numerous roles of older men in movies such as Aandhi
(1975) and Mausum
(1975). Gulzar and
Kumar worked in a total of nine movies together over the course of Kumar's career,
(1973) where Kumar
gave a stellar performance as a deaf and mute individual and even went on to
win the BFJA Best Actor award for his performance.
From the moment he entered the movie industry, Kumar was an actor
who could not be easily typecast into a particular genre, owing to his wide variety of
movies. Some of his work included character driven roles such as Dastak (1970), Sholay (1975), Shatranj Ke Khilad
(1977), Trishul (1978) and Vidhata
(1982). He was also known for his
impeccable comic timing, which can be exemplified in movies like Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Pati, Patni Aur Woh (1978)and
Angoor (1981) to name a few. Kumar was well liked amongst the film
fraternity and had a reputation of being a simple man who had a distinct
of working. He gave everything to his work and was known to rarely ever
give retakes during his shots. His wonderful performances earned him two
National Film Best Actor awards for his role in Dastak
(1970) and Koshish (1973). He also
has two Filmfare awards for Best Actor and one Filmfare award for Best
Supporting Actor to his credit.
Unfortunately, Kumar inherited a congenital heart condition
which lead to his early death on November 6th, 1985 at the mere age of
Despite having previously undergone heart surgery in the US, Kumar
his disease in the form of a massive heart attack. Numerous other
his family also died before the age of fifty due to this condition,
including two of his brothers. Despite his early death, Kumar's legacy
continues to remain
alive in the form of amazing roles in some classic movies.
Did you know?
- Kumar's real name is Harihar Jethalal Zariwala
- He used to sleep in a kitchen as a child and this is thought
to be the root of his love for food.
- Kumar never married because he fell in love with
co-actress Hema Malini, but she never reciprocated his feelings.
- It is rumored that actress Sulakshana Pandit, one of the
sisters of the popular composers Jatin-Lalit, was in love with Sanjeev and
became mentally unstable when he turned her down.
- To honor his legacy, the Indian Postal Service released a
stamp with his face earlier this year in May.
Author: Gunia M.
Editor(s): Ritchelle C. and Jenifer Y.
Graphics: Shikha A.
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