Star of the week - SANJEEV KUMAR


Name: Harihar Jethalal Jariwala
D.O.B: July 9, 1938
Star: Cancer
Birthplace: Surat, Gujrat, India
Profession: Actor

• Sanjeev Kumar was a noted Indian film actor. He won several major awards, including two National Film Awards for Best Actor for his performances in the movies Dastak (1971) and Koshish (1973).

• He is well remembered for his versatility and genuine portrayal of his characters. His double role in the film Angoor was listed among the 25 best acting performances of Indian cinema by Forbes India on the occasion of celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema.

Interesting facts:

• Sanjeev Kumar was born to a Gujarati Patel family and spent his early years in Surat. His family eventually settled in Mumbai. A stint in a film school led him to Bollywood, where he eventually became an accomplished actor. Kumar had two younger brothers and one sister.

• Kumar started his acting career as a stage actor and later joined the Indian National Theatre. Even as a stage actor, he had a penchant for playing older roles; at age 22, he played an old man in an adaptation of Arthur Miller's All My Sons.

• Kumar made his film debut with a small role in Hum Hindustani in 1960. Khilona (1970) brought Kumar immense recognition. In 1972, he played in an Indo-Iranian film, Subah-O-Shaam. This was when director Gulzar first spotted him; later he cast Kumar in nine movies, in the roles of older men in Koshish (1973), Aandhi (1975) and Mausam (1975).

• Sanjeev went on to star in the box office hits Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Manchali (1973) and Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

• The producers and directors of the South wanted to remake their films in Hindi with either Kumar or Rajesh Khanna in lead. It was these Hindi film remakes which elevated him to a great status. He has done many regional films in different languages including Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Sindhi and his mother tongue Gujarati.

• Kumar always demonstrated a willingness to take on unconventional roles that challenged him as an actor. His best remembered roles were in the blockbuster films Sholay (1975) and Trishul (1978). In Naya Din Nayi Raat (1974), Sanjeev Kumar gave a nine-role epic performance.

• Kumar remained single all his life. He had proposed to Hema Malini in 1973 and they remained in touch even after he suffered his first heart attack in 1976.

• His closest friends from the film industry were Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Tanuja, Deven Varma, Sivaji Ganesan and B. Nagi Reddy. Among his juniors, he was a very good friend of actor, producer and director Sachin Pilgaonkar and actress Sarika.

• Kumar was born with a congenital heart condition, and many members of his family had not lived past 50. On November 6, 1985, he suffered a massive heart attack which proved to be fatal. His younger brother Nikul died before him, while his other brother Kishore died six months later. Ironically, for an actor who had played many elderly roles, he died at less than 50 years of age.

• Over 10 movies starring Sanjeev Kumar were released after his demise.