Rustam-E-Hind, Dara Singh the wrestler, the hero, passes away
HE wrestled his way from the ring to the big screen and the small one to enormous success. Dara Singh went from muscle man to hero and then uncle, father and friend in numerous character roles that endeared him to generations of fans.
Few people would have made the transition from the 'akhara' to the showbiz stage with the success of Dara Singh, who passed away at his home in Mumbai on Thursday morning at the age of 84 after a brief illness.
A wrestling hero to some and a much loved cine artist to others, it was a long and eventful life that triumphed many odds.
In his over five-decade long acting journey, he featured in over 140 films, including classics such as ‘Anand’ and ‘Mera Naam Joker’. It was a many splendoured life.
There was Dara Singh the wrestler, Dara Singh, the hero of 'B' category action films such as ‘Tarzan Comes to Delhi’ and ‘Samson’ in the 1950s and 1960s, Dara Singh, the friendly 'pehelwan' in ‘Anand’, and then Dara Singh who played Hanuman with great effect in the TV blockbusters ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’. He was last seen in the Kareena Kapoor-Shahid Kapoor starrer ‘Jab We Met’ as the stern, lovable ‘Daarji’ who ruled over a noisy, close-knit Sikh family. Quite like the real life man, who intimidated people with his 6' 2" frame but soon won them over with outgoing nature and warmth.
Born to Balwant Kaur and Surat Singh Randhawa on Nov 19, 1928 in a village in Amritsar, Punjab, Dara Singh was encouraged to take up wrestling due to his imposing physique and trained in 'pehelwani', an Indian style of wrestling. He became a star wrestler - and not just on Indian turf.
Dara Singh took on international wrestlers like Lou Thesz and Stanislaus Zbyszko, and had over 500 professional fights to his credit -- all undefeated.
He won the Professional Indian Wrestling Championship in 1953, and took away the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship trophy in 1959 by defeating Canadian champion George Godianko.
A recipient of titles like Rustam-E-Punjab (1966) and Rustam-E-Hind (1978), Dara Singh retired from active wrestling in 1983.
In 1989, he published his autobiography ‘Meri Atmakatha’ in Punjabi, and seven years later was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. And while he was wrestling, he was making a name in cinema -- both Hindi and Punjabi. His first release was the 1952 ‘Sangdil’ and then came a succession of films like ‘King Kong’, ‘Faulad’, ‘Sher-e-Watan’ that earned him the name of action king.
During his hey day as a hero, he teamed up with Mumtaz in 16 Hindi films, including ‘Jawan Mard’, ‘Raaka’, ‘Aandhi Aur Toofan’, ‘Daku Mangal Singh’, ‘Boxer’ and ‘Veer Bhimsen’.
Another successful phase in Dara Singh's acting career came when he bagged the role of Hanuman in Ramanand Sagar's epochal TV series ‘Ramayan’ in 1986. People liked him so much that B.R. Chopra roped him in to play the same role in ‘Mahabharat’.
Dara Singh gave viewers a glimpse of his humorous side through shows like ‘Hadd Kar Di’ and ‘Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka’.
He became a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from August 2003 to August 2009. Dara Singh also took on the role of a writer, director and producer. In 1978, he launched Dara Studio, a self-contained mini-city with all facilities within the compound, in Punjab's Mohali district.
Dara Singh, who was widowed and got married for the second time, leaves behind his wife, six children -- three sons and three daughters. And legions of fans of a man who defined machismo. — (IANS)
Dilip Kumar: Dara was a gem of a man, earthy and robust, with a heart of gold. I pray for his soul and for the family to bear the loss with fortitude.
Amitabh Bachchan: Dara Singhji was a great Indian and one of the finest humans. An entire era of his celebrated presence gone.
Shaad Randhawa: I am deeply hurt by my uncle’s demise. He was more than a father figure to me, always encouraging me, especially when my first film ‘Woh Lamhe’ was released.
Mahesh Bhatt: Memories of this warm ‘pehlwan’-turned-actor flicker in my memory. When childhood heroes die the world looks desolate.
Anupam Kher: Dara Singhji was larger than life but never made anyone feel dwarfed with his presence. The strongest and the humblest. A hero all the way.
Shah Rukh Khan: Wrestlers are made of sweat, determination and a hard to find alloy called guts. Most apt for Dara Singhji our very own superman. Will miss you sir.
Manoj Bajpayee: The symbol of physical strength, Dara Singhji is no more with us now. May god bless his soul with peace.
Madhur Bhandarkar: RIP Rustam-e-Hind. The strong man of India will be missed dearly.
Shekhar Kapur: RIP Dara Singh. At grand old age he used to stride down Juhu beach, body erect, smile on his face at a pace faster than 20-year-olds.
Arshad Warsi: Another great soul has left us. Dara Singh, a humble man who was made of steel and had a heart of gold. RIP sir.