Sanjeev Kumar

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For the politician from Jharkhand, see Sanjiv Kumar (politician).

Sanjeev Kumar
संजीव कुमार
Sanjeev kumar-3-650x700-2008-12-12.jpg
Sanjeev Kumar
Born Harihar Jethalal Jariwala[1]
(1938-07-09)9 July 1938
Surat, Gujarat, India
Died 6 November 1985(1985-11-06) (aged 47)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Cause of death Heart attack
Other names Haribhai
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–1985

Sanjeev Kumar (born Harihar Jethalal Jariwala 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 genres ranging from romantic drama to thrillers. 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[edit]

Sanjeev Kumar was born as Harihar Jethalal Jariwala (also referred as Haribhai)[1][2] in Surat, Gujarat, to a Gujarati Leuva 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. 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.[2] 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. Sanjeev Kumar made his film debut with a small role in Hum Hindustani in 1960. Sanjeev's first film as a protagonist was the 1965 Nishan. In 1968, he acted alongside a famous actor of those times, Dilip Kumar, in Sangharsh. In 1970, the movie Khilona brought him recognition. In 1972, he played in an Indo-Iranian film Subah aur Shaam. This was 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 "Damru" directed by AK Hangal, he again played the role of a 60-year-old with six children .[1] 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 appearance 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 nine movies with Gulzar, including Koshish (1973), Aandhi (1975), Mausam (1975), Angoor (1981) and Namkeen (1982). Sanjeev Kumar won the BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) for his exemplary portrayal of a deaf and mute person in 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.

It was the producers and directors of the South, who wanted to remake their Tamil and Telugu films, in Hindi with either Sanjeev or Rajesh Khanna in lead. It was these Hindi film remakes which elevated him to a great actor. The film Khilona and it's Tamil version Engirundho Vandhaal were made simultaneously. Sanjeev reprised the role played by Thengai Srinivasan in Yehi Hai Zindagi which was remake of Kaliyuga Kannan. He played the role which N.T.Rama Rao did originally in Devina Chesina Manushulu,in its Hindi version Takkar. He starred in the lead in the film Shaandaar in 1974 which was remake of Kasturi Vilasa which had Kannada actor Rajkumar in the lead. Tayaramma Bangarayya was remade as Shriman Shrimati, Navarathri was remade as Naya Din Naya Raat, Raman Ethanai Ramanadi was remade as Raam Kitne Tere Naam and Gnana Oli was remade as Devata.Sanjeev reprised the role played by R.Muthuraman in Alukuoru Aasai in its Hindi remake Itni Si Baat.

Sanjeev Kumar's excellent comic timing entertained audiences in films like Seeta Aur Geeta, Biwi O Biwi (1981),[3] Pati, Patni Aur Woh, Angoor (1982) and Hero (1983) to name a few. He made guest appearances in two Tamil films Bharata Vilas and Uyirandhavargal (remake of Koshish).

His performances in the films like Charitraheen, Angaare, Grihapravesh, Chehre Pe Chehra, Sawaal, Yaadgaar which became box office flops was appreciated by critics and during its subsequent screening in television.He always demonstrated a willingness to take on unconventional roles that challenged him as an actor. His role as Mirza Sajjad Ali,[4] 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). His portrayal of the character Thakur, from Sholay, released in August 1975 was one of his stellar performances. 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 Rajesh Khanna in Bandhan, Aap Ki Kasam, 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. He did 3 films opposite Tamil actress L.Vijaya Lakshmi which were Husn Aur Ishq, Badal which became hits.Their first film was Alibaba Aur 40 Chor which was unsuccessful.Raja Aur Runk, released in 1968, starring Sanjeev Kumar was a great success. He did Kangan, Rivaaz, Zindagi, Beraham, Archana, Do Ladkiyan opposite Mala Sinha. He did films like Priya, Anubhav, Gustaaki Maaf, Bachpan, Khuddar with Tanuja. He was paired with Rakhee in Angaare, Paras, Trishna, Shriman Shrimati, Hamare Tumhare.His hits with Leena Chandavarkar included Apne Rang Hazar, Manchali and Anhonee. He was paired regularly with Sulakshana Pandit in Uljhan, Waqt Ki Deewar and with Moushmi Chatterjee in Itni Si Baat, Daasi. He has done many regional films in different languages including Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Sindhi and his mother tongue Gujarati.

Personal life[edit]

Sanjeev Kumar remained single all his life. He had proposed Hema Malini in 1973 and they remained in touch even after Sanjeev suffered his first heart attack in 1976. Later he was involved with actress Sulakshana Pandit, but both of them remained unmarried.[5] Sanjeev refused to marry her, as a result of which Sulakshana vowed to never marry anyone.

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

Health problems and death[edit]

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 underwent a bypass in the US. However, on 6 November 1985, at the age of 47, he suffered a massive heart attack, which resulted in his death. His younger brother Nikul died before him, while the other brother Kishore died six months later.[1][6] 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 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 to explain the absence of Sanjeev Kumar's character.


National Film Awards[edit]

Filmfare Awards[edit]

Sanjeev Kumar was nominated for 14 Filmfare Awards.[8] 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.

Other awards[edit]

  • 1974 - BFJA Best Actor for Koshish[9][10]
  • 1969 - Naval Stars Awards. Shanoo Varun Trophy by S.M. Nanda.
  • 1971 - Surat Jilla Leuva Patidar Gnyati.
  • 1975 - Cinegoers Council (Delhi) film Awards
  • 1976 - Lion Club of North Calcutta Actor of the year for "Mousam"
  • 1984 - Maratha Seva Sangh Dist Khed
  • Award for best actor (stage) for the Gujarati Play "Koi no Ladakh Vayo"
  • Uttar Pradesh film Patraka Sangh
  • Kalashri Art & Network "Lifetime Achievement Millenium 2000 Award" at Surat.
  • 18th National Award "Bharat Puraskar" by Information & Broadcast State Minister Mrs. Nandini Satapthi at Shanmukhanand Hall (Mumbai).
  • Army Officers Voice Association Trophy.
  • Andhra Pradesh Film Journalist Award.
  • Chitralok Cine Serjak Award (Ahemdabad).


Government recognition[edit]

A road has been named after him in Surat, Gujarat as Sanjeev Kumar Marg, which was inaugurated by Mr Sunil Dutt.

A school has been named after him in his home town Surat, Gujarat, and was inaugurated by then Mayor Kadir K Pirzada.

A postage stamp, bearing his face, was released by India Post to honour him on 3 May 2013.[11]

An Auditorium was opened in his home town Surat by the Gujarat State at the cost of 108cr,in the name of Sanjeev Kumar Auditorium, which was inaugurated on 14 February 2014 by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi who was then the CM of Gujarat.[12] He is the first and only (2014) Indian Film Actor to have an auditorium named after him.


The Sanjeev Kumar Foundation is a national level development organisation (NGO) directly benefiting children and their families every year, mainly focusing on education, healthcare, environment, culture and nutrition. From 2015 onwards the foundation is also the sponsor of the annual Sanjeev Kumar Drama Competition held by the Surat Municipal Corporation. The awards and cash prizes will be given in memory of Sanjeev Kumar to the Best Actor, Actress, Director and Back Stage Technician every year.


External links[edit]