Best remembered for his roles in Khilona, Aandhi, Mausam, Parichay, Koshish, Anamika, Seeta Aur Geeta and Sholay, Sanjeev Kumar covered the wide gamut of characters.
Born on July 9, 1938 as Haribhai Zariwala, Sanjeev Kumar was one of the most capable yet underrated actors of his times. Today is his 24th death anniversary.
He is still remembered for his role of a mentally challenged individual in Khilona and the helpless husband of a high profile wife in Aandhi believed by many to have been modeled on the life of Indira Gandhi.
He did many more memorable roles and dared to play roles older than his age. His unforgettable troika of old man roles in 1975 in films like Sholay, Aandhi and Mausam barely a decade after making his debut in 1965 with Nishana only proves that he defied the industry's unwritten-rules by choice.
His portrayal of a successful romantic leading man in a string of films like Anhonee, Anamika, Seeta Aur Geeta and Manchali in 1972-1973 goes to prove that he could touch cord with any character.
His portrayals of two differently troubled husbands in Dastak and Anubhav won him accolades. His association with Gulzar in films like Mausam and Aandhi, Parichay and 'Koshish' where he brought alive the hopes and heartbreaks of a deaf-mute couple remains unmatched even today.
His other memorable films include 'Sangharsh', 'Khilona', 'Pati Patni Aur Who', 'Silsila', 'Namkeen' and 'Vidhata'. He performed nine different roles simultaneously in the film 'Naya Din Nayi Raat' (1974).
He won the Filmfare Best Actor Awards in 1975 and 1976 for 'Aandhi' and 'Arjun Pandit'. Sanjeev Kumar also got two National Film Awards for Best Actor for 'Dastak' in 1971 and in 1973 for 'Koshish'. He had never married.
In 1985, when he was only forty-seven years old, he died of a heart ailment. Ironically for an actor who played many elderly roles, he did not live to the age of 50. Ten of his already completed films were released after his death with his final film ‘Professor Ki Padosan’ being released in 1993.
One of his other notable releases after his death was K Asif's much delayed ‘Love and God’, which was over 20 years in the making. After director K Asif died in 1971, production came to a halt and the film finally released in incomplete form in 1986, one year after Sanjeev Kumar himself also died.
With Inputs from News Tomorrow