Wrestling Icon-Actor Dara Singh Dies at 84
Mumbai, Jul 12 (IBNS): India's iconic wrestler turned actor Dara Singh, who entertained audience with his acting skills and brawn for over nearly five decades and played the Hanuman in epic teleserial Ramayanan, died on Thursday morning. He was 84.
The end came at home after his family decided to take him back from the hospital to his residence in Juhu, doctors said.
Family physician R K Agarwal said he died surrounded by his family.
He might be cremated at around 2 pm, said the doctor.
The actor who made his entry in Bollywood in 1960s was on ventilator for the past days in Mumbai's Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital where he was admitted on July 7 after a cardiac arrest.
Dara Singh, who played every role from hero to the large-hearted grandfather in his last film Jab We Met starring Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor, was an iconic figure in Indian celluloid and he was truly the original He-man of Bollywood.
His on screen pairing with Mumtaz in the 1960s led to several entertaining films of that era.
Singh, who was born in 1928 in Dharmoochak in Amritsar district of Punjab and was encouraged in wrestling due to his strong physique.
He had a glorious career in professional wrestling besides showcasing his acting talent on the silver screen.
Singh was popular in wrestling tournaments in the country.
He also wrestled on invitation of kings of Indian princely states and wrestled frequently in haats and melas (fairs and carnivals).
Singh successfully competed against some of the greatest names in the world of wrestling and professional wrestlers in the United States.
Dara went to Singapore in 1947 and became the Champion of Malaysia in Indian style wrestling by defeating Tarlok Singh in Kuala Lumpur.
He has toured almost all far-east countries as a Professional Wrestler. Dara Singh returned to India in 1952 and became the Indian Champion in 1954.
The strong wrestler toured all Commonwealth countries and defeated Oriental Champion King Kong, George Gordienko (Canada), John Desilva (New Zealand). Singh became the Commonwealth Champion in 1959.
He defeated Lou Thesz of America and became Champion of the World on May 29, 1968.
He again visited countries world-wide and defended title of the World Champion.
Singh retired from the world of wrestling in 1983 as an undefeated wrestler.
Interestingly several Indian Prime Ministers including Jawaharlal Nehru, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Morarji Desai, Chandrashekhar, Rajiv Gandhi. visited his fights.
However, Singh not only captivated his fans with his wrestling moves in the arena but also charmed them with his performance as an actor.
Popularly called as Bollywood’s he-man of the 1960s, he acted opposite yesteryear's actresses like Mumtaz .
He became quite popular as an actor in the 1960s and was seen in films like King Kong, which were inspired by Hollywood movies.
He was nominated member of Rajya Sabha by Bhartiya Janata Party during Aug 2003 – Aug 2009.
Singh had a successful career in television also and was a popular face in many of the TV serials since the 1980s.
But with the role of Hanuman in Ramayan on TV, he reached every household.
His films in the 1960s included titles like Toofan (1969), Jawan Mard (1966), Thakur Jarnail Singh (1966), Boxer (1965), Hum Sab Ustad Hain (1965), Khakaan (1965), Lutera (1965), Mahabharat (1965, played Bheem), Raaka (1965), Rustom-E-Hind (1965), Sher Dil (1965), Sikandar E Azam (1965) , Tarzan and King Kong (1965), Tarzan Comes to Delhi (1965), Teen Sardar (1965), Aandhi Aur Toofan (1964), Aaya Toofan (1964), Badshah (1964), Darasingh: Ironman (1964), Dara Singh Hercules (1964), Samson (1964), Veer Bhimsen (1964), Faulad (1963), Rustom-E-Baghdad (1963) and King Kong (1962).