Sanjeev Kumar, a stalwart of Indian cinema, has some acclaimed roles to his name. Born as Harihar Jethalal Jariwala, his screen name was given to him by filmmaker, producer and lyricist Sawan Kumar Tak. Sawan spotted him in a play and produced Naunihal with him.
Sanjeev, who was fondly known as ‘Haribhai’ among his colleagues, started his acting career as a theatre actor in the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) in Mumbai and then worked with the Indian National Theatre.
He played nine roles in the film ‘Naya Din Nayi Raat’, that represents the nine rasas (love, joy, disgust, fury, compassion, heroism, horror, astonishment and compassion).
Indian cinema lost one of the most talented actors on November 6, 1985 to heart attack. On his 34th death anniversary, let’s take a look at five of his best works in the Indian film fraternity.
Shatranj Ke Khiladi
A cult classic, this film was cine maestro Satyajit Ray’s first film in Hindi. The film is based on Munshi Premchand’s short story by the same name. Sanjeev Kumar played the role of Mirza Sajjid Ali, one of the two noblemen who were oblivious to the political, social and economic crisis, and spent all their time to play chess.
Kumar’s portrayal of Thakur in this drama was so perfect that his dialogues are repeated and imitated even today. Kumar never shied away from playing roles which were much beyond in actual age. This story of Thakur’s ambition to seek revenge from the dacoit Gabbar (Ahmad Khan) went on to become a Bollywood classic.
In this landmark film, Kumar played the role of a deaf and mute man, married to a deaf and mute woman to portray the plight of their life and the struggle to carve a niche for themselves. Kumar even won the National Award in Best Actor category for this powerful performance.
Kumar showcased his versatility in acting by taking up comic films as well. The film is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Along with Kumar, Deven Verma also played a pivotal role in the film.
Pati Patni Aur Woh
This film by BR Chopra is a comical take on the concept of extramarital affair. Kumar played the role of the ‘Pati’ and Vidya Sinha and Ranjeeta Kaur played the role of wife and lover respectively. An modern version of this 1978 comedy is set to release this year, starring Kartik Aaryan, Ananya Panday and Bhumi Pednekar.
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