Sanjeev Kumar – The Unforgettable Thakur of the Bollywood
Born as Harihar Jethalal Jariwala, he is popularly known as the Thakur of Bollywood, and an actor who was noted for playing challenging roles in the cinemas. Yes, I am talking about the legendary actor Sanjeev Kumar who was born on 9th July 1938.
Kumar was born to a Gujrati family and started his acting career with Indian People’s Theatre Association in Mumbai and later he joined Indian National Theatre. Kumar hit the screen with his debut movie Hum Hindustani (1960) where he played a very small role. Nishan in 1965 showcased the actor as the protagonist and in 1968 he worked with Dilip Kumar in the movie Sangharsh. Kumar gained a lot of appreciation for his work in the movie Khilona (1970) and then there was a series of hit movies with which Kumar struck the silver screen. Manchali (1973) and Aap Ki Kasam (1974) were the movies that established Kumar as a great actor.
Gulzar was the first one to notice Kumar while he was still working with theatre and later with Gulzar, Kumar went on doing nine movies together which included Aandhi (1975), Mausam (1975), Angoor (1981) and Namkeen (1982) and Koshish (1973) for which he won BFJA Awards in Best Actor (Hindi) category for his portrayal of a deaf and dumb person. Kumar was appreciated in the film industry for his versatile acting. From serious to comedy, every aspect of acting holds record in Kumar’s name. If Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) portrayed the unconventional side of Kumar, movies like Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Biwi O Biwi (1981), Pati, Patni Aur Woh (1978), Angoor (1982) are some of the movies that showcased the comic timing of the actor.
Kumar was also renowned for taking up roles older than his age, a trend which he started following from the days of his theatre. His role as Thakur in Sholay (1975) manifested a fabulous actor within him and it became a historic role in the records of Hindi cinema. Kumar also rendered the nine role epic performance by Sivaji Ganesan in Navarathri (Tamil; 1964), in the movie Naya Din Nayi Raat (1974). His supreme acting expertise came in front of the public with Yash Chopra’s Trishul (1978) where he shared the screen with actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor.
Kumar was the recipient of two National Film Awards for best actor category which he won for his performance in Dastak (1971) and Koshish (1973). The great actor died at an early age of 47 in November 1985 leaving behind a versatile range of movies to be cherished by his fans not only in Hindi language but also in Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Sindhi and Gujrati. Kumar still reigns at the heart of the movie lovers as Thakur of the Indian cinema and will be always irreplaceable.
Some memorable tracks of Sanjeev Kumar which has mesmerized listeners across generations.
1) The classic song of Aandhi which tops the list of romantic songs even today.
2)Sanjeev Kumar describing his Anamika.
3) Yet another unforgettable romantic track from the movie Aandhi
4) Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore in the ‘Chhadi’ song
5) ‘Gaana aaye ya na aaye gaana chahiye’ , a fun track filmed on the actor.
6) Another beautiful song from the movie Mausam.
7) The jolly actor in the movie Manchali.
8) The movie which established Sanjeev Kumar as a great actor.