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|Born||Harihar Jethalal Zariwala
9 July 1938
Surat, Gujarat, India
|Died||6 November 1985
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Sanjeev Kumar (Gujarati: હરિભાઈ જરીવાલા) 9 July 1938 - 6 November 1985) 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 acted in various genres ranging from romantic drama to thrillers. Much unlike his peers, Sanjeev Kumar did not mind playing roles that were non glamorous, such as characters way beyond his age. Movies like Sholay and Trishul exemplify his talents. He is well remembered for his versatility and genuine portrayal of his characters.
Early life and background
Sanjeev Kumar, born Harihar Jethalal Zariwala in Surat, Gujarat, (also referred as Haribhai) to a Gujarati Jain family 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. Sanjeev Kumar had two younger brothers and one sister.
Kumar started his acting career as stage actor, starting with IPTA in Mumbai and later he joined the Indian National Theatre. Even as a stage actor, he had a penchant for played older roles, at age 22, an old man in an adaptation of Arthur Miller's All My Sons. This when director Gulzar first spotted him, later he was to cast Kumar in the roles of older man in Koshish (1973), Aandhi (1975), Mausam (1975). In the following year, in a play directed by AK Hangal, he again played the role of a 60-year-old with six children .
Sanjeev Kumar made his film debut with a small role in Hum Hindustani in the year 1960. Sanjeev's first film as a protagonist was the 1965 Nishan. In 1968, he acted alongside the famous actor of those times, Dilip Kumar in Sangharsh. In 1970, the movie Khilona brought him recognition. He went on to star in the box office hits Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Manchali (1973) and Aap Ki Kasam (1974). In 1973, he made a guest appearence during a song in a Tamil movie, Bharatha Vilas (1973). He started working with Gulzar, a well-known director in the early 1970s. He performed in a total of nine movies with Gulzar, including Koshish (1973), Aandhi(1975), Mausam (1975), Angoor (1981) and Namkeen (1982). Sanjeev Kumar deservedly won the BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) for his exemplary portrayal of a deaf and mute person in the movie Koshish in which the female lead was played by Jaya Bhaduri, who acted as his deaf and mute wife and was herself nominated for Best Actor award by Filmfare for the same role. These were some of his best movies. His portrayal of the character Thakur, from the movie Sholay, released in August 1975 was one of his stellar performances. With his humble origins in B Grade stunt movies, Sanjeev Kumar eventually rose to become one of the most versatile and recognized faces of Hindi cinema.He had also played an incomplete flim love and god
He demonstrated a willingness to take on unconventional roles that challenged him as an actor. His role as Mirza Sajjad Ali, a chess-obsessed Lucknowi (citizen of Lucknow), in Satyajit Ray's classic Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) exemplified that aspect. Perhaps his best-remembered roles were in the blockbuster films Sholay (1975) and Trishul (1978). In Naya Din Nayi Raat (1974) Sanjeev Kumar reprised the nine-role epic performance by Sivaji Ganesan in Navarathri (Tamil; 1964), which was also previously reprised by Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Navarathri (Telugu; 1966). This film enhanced his status and reputation as a serious player in Bollywood. He stood his ground against leading superstars such as Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor in the Yash Chopra multi star cast film Trishul (1978) and with Dilip Kumar in the Subhash Ghai film Vidhaata (1982).
During the early 1980s, Sanjeev Kumar took to acting primarily in supporting roles. In 1980, he starred in a Punjabi movie Fauji Chacha. The movie Raja Aur Runk, released in 1968, starring Sanjeev Kumar was a great success. The song 'O Phirki Wali' and "Mera Naam Hai Chameli" were the some of the best produces of the evergreen Bollywood composers, Lakshmi Kant Pyarelal.
Sanjeev Kumar remained single all his life. He fell deeply in love with fellow actress Hema Malini, although she never reciprocated his feelings. He was involved with actress Sulakshana Pandit, but he remained unmarried until the end.
Health problems and death
Kumar was born with a congenital heart condition, and many members of his family hadn't lived past 50. After his first heart-attack, he even underwent a bypass in the US. However, on November 6, 1985, at the age of 47, he suffered a massive heart attack, which resulted in his death. His younger brother Nakul died before him, while the other brother Kishore two years later. Ironically for an actor who had played many elderly roles, he died at less than 50 years of age.
Over ten movies starring Sanjeev Kumar were released after his death, with the last one Professor Ki Padosan being released in 1993. At the time of his death, only about three-fourths of this movie was complete, and it was decided eventually to alter the story line in the second half of the film to explain the absence of Sanjeev Kumar's character.
National Film Awards
Sanjeev Kumar was nominated for 14 Filmfare Awards. Thrice as Best Supporting Actor and remaining as Best Actor. He won the awards twice as Best Actor and once as Best Supporting Actor, as shown below.
- Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Nominated
1971 Khilona – Vijaykamal S. Singh
1974 Koshish – Hari Charan Mathur
1976 Sholay – Thakur Baldev Singh
1977 Mausam – Dr. Amarnath Gill
1978 Yehi Hai Zindagi – Anand Narayan
1978 Zindagi – Raghu Shukla
1979 Devata – Tony/Tarun Kumar Gupta
1979 Pati Patni Aur Woh – Ranjeet Chhadha
1983 Angoor – Ashok R. Tilak
- Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Nominated
1979 Trishul – Raj Kumar 'R.K.' Gupta
1983 Vidhaata – Abu Baba
- "Salt-and-pepper memories with Sanjeev Kumar". Hindustan Times. November 4, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- "He was an actor for all seasons". The Sunday Tribune. August 13, 2000. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- "Whatever happened to....... Sulakshana Pandit". Filmfare.
- "Sanjeev Kumar". upperstall.com.
- "20th National Awards For Films (1971)" (PDF). dff.nic.in. Directorate of Film Festivals. p. 41.
- "Sanjeev Kumar Awards". Bollywood Hungama.
- "BFJA Awards". BFJA Awards. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011.
- "BFJA Awards". BFJA Awards. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011.
- Tilak Rishi (2012). Bless You Bollywood!: A Tribute to Hindi Cinema on Completing 100 Years. Trafford Publishing. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-1-4669-3963-9.