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Gujarat, India

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Sanjeev Kumar


Sanjeev Kumar (born Harihar Jethalal Jariwala; 9 July 1938 – 6 November 1985) was an Indian actor. He is well remembered for his versatility and genuine portrayal of his characters. He acted in genres ranging from romantic dramas to thrillers and was voted the seventh greatest actor of Indian cinema of all time in a poll conducted by


 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.

He won several major awards, including two National Film Awards for Best Actor for his performances in the movies Dastak (1970) and Koshish (1972). 


Kumar did not mind playing roles that were non-glamorous, such as characters well beyond his age. Movies such as the iconic character Thakur in Sholay (1975) Arjun Pandit (1976) and Trishul (1978), along with the remakes of Tamil films into Hindi such as Khilona (1970), Naya Din Nai Raat (1974), Yehi Hai Zindagi (1977), Devata (1978) and Ram Tere Kitne Naam (1985) exemplify his versatility.


 He also did suspense-thriller films such as Shikar (1968), Uljhan (1975) and Trishna (1978), and Qatl (1986), Kumar also proved himself to do comedy in films such as Manchali (1973), Pati Patni Aur Woh (1978), Biwi-O-Biwi (1981) Angoor (1982) and Hero (1983).


Sanjeev Kumar was born as Harihar Jethalal Jariwala (also referred to as Haribhai) on 9 July 1938 in Surat to a Gujarati family, he came to Mumbai when he was very young. A stunt in a film school led him to Bollywood, where he eventually became an accomplished actor. 


He is widely acclaimed by the critics and general public alike to be one of the all-time greatest actors that Indian Cinema has ever produced. Kumar had two younger brothers and one sister. He spoke Gujarati, Hindi, and English fluently.


Kumar started his acting career as a stage actor, starting with IPTA in Bombay and later joining 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. In the following year, in the play Damru directed by A.K. Hangal, he again played the role of a 60-year-old with six children.


He made his film debut with a small role in Hum Hindustani in 1960. His first film as a protagonist was Nishan (1965). In 1968, he acted alongside the famous actor of that time, Dilip Kumar, in Sangharsh. He also starred opposite Shammi Kapoor and Sadhana in the superhit film Sachaai (1969).


He starred in the 1966 Gujarati film Kalapi, which was based on the poet Kalapi's life, with him playing the titular role, Padmarani playing the role of his wife, Rama, and Aruna Irani as the love interest. The film was directed by Manhar Raskapur. Later Aruna Irani was paired opposite Sanjeev in another Gujarati film, Mare Javun Pele Par (1968).


In 1970, the movie Khilona, which was the remake of the Gujarati film Mare Javun Pele Paar (1968), brought Kumar national recognition. In 1972, he played in an Indo-Iranian film, Subah-O-Shaam. This was when the director Gulzar first spotted him. 


Later he cast Kumar in the roles of older men in 4 films Parichay (1972), Koshish (1973), Aandhi (1975), and Mausam (1975). Gulzar cast Kumar in the role of a young man in the films Angoor (1981) and Namkeen (1982). 


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. 


He went on to star in the box office hit 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 performed in nine movies directed by Gulzar. Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed him in Arjun Pandit, for which he won the Filmfare Best Actor Award.

Known for

Sholay as Thakur Baldev Singh