A book on Sanjeev Kumar’s journey from struggle to stardom

A new biography, Sanjeev Kumar: The Actor We All Loved, takes readers by way of the ups and downs of his life and profession

A new biography, Sanjeev Kumar: The Actor We All Loved, takes readers by way of the ups and downs of his life and profession

In the early Sixties, the legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor watched a stage adaptation of Arthur Miller’s ‘All My Sons’ in Mumbai. He was curious to know who performed the previous man, and was shocked when he was advised that the actor was 23-year-old Haribhai Jariwala, who finally grew to become well-known as Sanjeev Kumar in movies.

Filmmaker-lyricist Gulzar remembers this incident within the recently-released book, Sanjeev Kumar: The Actor We All Loved, by Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta and Uday Jariwala (the actor’s nephew). “He couldn’t have got a bigger compliment,” says the veteran.

Sanjeev Kumar may effortlessly match into any position. In the brief span of his life (he died on the age 47), he gave Hindi cinema some really memorable moments. When he handed away actor Tanuja had mentioned, “There will never be an actor of his calibre again. His legacy is untouchable.”

Film profession

Fondly referred to as Haribhai, he acted in 155 Hindi movies, together with an uncredited look in Hum Hindustani (1960), and a cameo in Aao Pyaar Karen (1964). After H.S. Rawail’s Sunghursh with Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, he performed supporting roles in two of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies, Aashirwad and Satyakam. However, it was Chander Vohra’s Khilona (1970) that immensely boosted his profession. His efficiency within the movie of a person who loses his psychological stability after witnessing a disturbing incidence gained him rave evaluations. Incidentally, it was his thirty sixth Hindi movie, a sign of his lengthy struggle. But after Khilona, there was no stopping Sanjeev Kumar.

In the early Seventies, when Rajesh Khanna was the reigning celebrity and Amitabh Bachchan was starting to make a mark, Sanjeev Kumar held his personal place by enjoying various and fascinating roles. After Khilona, he performed a deaf and mute character in Gulzar’s Koshish (1972), co-starring Jaya Bhaduri. Koshish fetched him his second National award, after Rajendra Singh Bedi’s 1970 launch Dastak, co-starring Rehana Sultan. He then went on to play 9 roles in A. Bhimsingh’s Naya Din Nayi Raat. In 1974, he shared display area with Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz in J. Om Prakash’s Aap Ki Kasam, impressing in a smaller position. The yr 1975 was maybe his most profitable, with Aandhi, Mausam and Sholay. In 1982, Gulzar’s Angoor and Namkeen added to his lengthy record of versatile performances.

The book, printed by Harper Collins, not solely talks about his profitable movies and the not-so-successful ones, but additionally highlights different elements that made him what he was. These embody his love life, determination to keep single, shut friendships, deteriorating well being, love for meals, smoking and ingesting. It talks of how he was eager to marry Hema Malini, who he met on the units of Ramesh Sippy’s Seeta Aur Geeta. Even his mom, whom he was very shut to, was in favour of the connection, however she finally married Dharmendra. Then, there was Sulakshana Pandit, who was in love with Sanjeev Kumar.

In the book, Tanuja is quoted as saying about how his mom’s demise led to his alcohol habit. “After her passing, he wouldn’t listen to anyone.” Actor Parikshat Sahni remembers an incident when the 2 of them visited a Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas, whereas capturing for the 1982 movie Suraag. Sanjeev ordered a lot meals that the waiter thought there have been some extra individuals becoming a member of them. He was shocked to see that besides the small portion that Parikshat had the actor ending all of it by himself.

The actor in Sholay.

The actor in Sholay.
| Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

In the latest previous, that is the second book on the actor, after the Penguin Random House India publication, An Actor’s Actor by Hanif Zaveri and Sumant Batra. This book carries a foreword by Paresh Rawal, an introduction by filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and epilogue by Vidya Balan. “He used his voice exceptionally well. He didn’t have the baritone of Amitabh Bachchan, but he was extremely intelligent and knew what to do with his voice. He was a powerful actor; he owned the screen when he was on it,” writes Paresh.

The book is stuffed with anecdotes, just like the one about how Amitabh Bachchan satisfied him to settle for Silsila, after he had mentioned ‘no’ to director Yash Chopra. There are chapters the place shut pals Gulzar, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Shatrughan Sinha, Randhir Kapoor, Tanuja, Anju Mahendru, Sharmila Tagore and Moushumi Chatterjee describe his persona.

As Vidya Balan says within the epilogue, “(He) was limitless because he had no set ways. He imbued truth into the most banal of moments. He made everything believable. He just became the character.” That’s an ideal evaluation of the genius that was Sanjeev Kumar.

The author is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist.

2022-07-07 18:07:39

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