About Raaj Kumar

Raaj Kumar (Born Kulbushan Pandit, October 8, 1926 Ė July 3, 1996) was an Indian actor in Bollywood movies. Raaj Kumar started out as sub-inspector of Mumbai police in the late 1940s before he turned to acting with the unnoticed 1952 film "Rangili". He shot to fame with the Oscar-nominated "Mother India" in 1957 and went onto star in over 70 Bollywood films in a career that spanned nearly four decades. He was known for his special style of dialogue delivery and for having a gravelly voice.

He was born as Kulbushan Pandit in Balochistan which is now a province of Pakistan. He moved to Mumbai in the late 1940s and was a sub-inspector of the Mumbai police. He married Gayatri in the 1960s with whom he had three children, a son named Puru Raajkumar who is also an actor in the Bollywood industry and a daughter named Vastavikta who is also set to debut in films and Panini, who has not shown any move towards films as of now.

In the early 1950s, now known as Raaj Kumar he quit his job as a police inspector and turned to acting. He made his acting debut in "Rangili" (1952) which was unnoticed. After acting in a few more films in the next five years which failed to launch his career, his shot to fame in Mehboob Khan's classic Oscar-nominated blockbuster film "Mother India"(1957). His performance as a poor farmer who loses his arms in an accident and then abandons his wife and children was appreciated and he went onto play many leading and supporting roles throughout the 1960s and 1970s where his special style of dialogue delivery made him an icon in the industry.

Apart from his unique style of dialogue delivery which became his trademark, he was known for his show or scene stealing abilities even when he was not in the leading role. One of his most famous catchphrases was "Jaani" which he frequently used in many of his films and also addressed people with the same word.

His most notable performances were in hit films like "Paigham" (1959), "Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi" (1960), "Gharana" (1961), "Dil Ek Mandir" (1963), "Waqt" (1965), "Neel Kamal" (1968), "Pakeezah" (1971), "Lal Patthar" (1971) and "Hindustan Ki Kasam" (1973). He picked up Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Awards for "Dil Ek Mandir" where he played a man dying of cancer and "Waqt" where he played one of three rich aristocrats.

Towards the late 1970s and 1980s Raaj Kumar appeared in lesser films and often played central supporting or villain roles such as the father, uncle, friend, an elderly mobster. His most notable films during this period included "Kudrat" (1981), "Ek Nai Paheli" (1984), "Marte Dam Tak" (1987) and "Jung Baaz" (1989).

In 1991 he appeared alongside legendary actor Dilip Kumar in "Saudagar". The film was a huge success due to the hype of seeing both actors onscreen for the first time in 3 decades. Raaj and Dilip Kumar had previously appeared together playing brothers in "Paigham" (1959).

Due to his many years of smoking, Raaj Kumar started suffering from a throat disease in the early 1990s which reduced his signature trademack voice to a whisper and caused his health to decline. His last film appearance was in "God and Gun" (1995) before his death at the age of 69 in July 1996. His death came only a few months before his son Puru Raajkumar was due to make his debut in "Bal Brahmachari" which released later that year. It was dedicated to his memory.

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