Remembering Raaj Kumar on his Birthday: 8 October

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By Mohammad Shameem Khan

Remembering ‘Jaani’ of Hindi Cinema “Raaj Kumar” on his birthday. His original name was Kulbhushan Pandit. He was born on 8 October, 1926, in Loralai, Baluchistan (Now in Pakistan). He came from a Kashmiri Pandit family and was raised in a traditional environment. His father name was Jagdishwar Nath Pandit and Mother name was Dhnaraj Rani Pandit. He had 3 brothers and 4 sisters. His family later moved to Mumbai (then Bombay) after the partition of India, where he started working as a police officer (Sub-Inspector) in late 40s. However, after his alleged association in a murder case, he had to loss his police service.

Raaj Kumar, PC: Social Media

Raaj Kumar’s journey into the film industry began with his passion for acting. He was deeply influenced by his maternal uncle, the famous actor K. L. Saigal. He changed his name from Kulbhushan Pandit to Raaj Kumar in 1950s. His striking looks, deep voice, and powerful acting skills made him stand out in the film industry. He started his acting career from 1952 film Rangeeli but his screen debut was Neeli (1950). Although he auditioned for film Daulat (1949) but got rejected. After several release he was still unnoticed. He was first noticed in Sohrab Modi’s costume drama film Nausherwan-e- Aadil in 1958. He played the role of prince Naushazad in this film. However, his other film Mother India released in the same year and established him in the industry. This film was an official entry for Oscar awards.

Raaj Kumar, PC: social Media

The year 1959 he got Filmfare nomination for the category of Best Supporting actor for the film Paigham.  In the film, he portrayed the role of mill worker alongside with Dilip Kumar. He played the elder brother of Dilip Kumar. He got four more Filmfare nominations in the best actor category for the films- Dil Ek Mandir (1963), Waqt (1965), Kaajal (1965) and Neel Kamal (1968).

He reworked with Dilip Kumar in 1991 film Saudagar directed by Subhash Ghai.

Raaj Kumar became very famous after the film Pakizah (1972) where he played love interest of Pakizah (Meena Kumari).

Raaj Kumar in film Pakizah, PC: social Media

If we talk about his personal life, He was married to Anglo-Indian Airhostess Jennifer. After Marriage she changed her name to Gayatri. This couple had three children Puru Raaj Kumar, Panini Raajkumar and Vastavikta Pandit.

The 1993 Hindi film Tiranga is considered to his last film where he played the ‘Brigadier Suryadev Singh.’ His iconic dialogues are still popular among fans.   

Raaj Kumar’s career in Hindi cinema spanned several decades, and he became known for his intense and dramatic performances.

Raaj Kumar’s unique style of dialogue delivery and his ability to convey complex emotions through his acting endeared him to both critics and audiences.

Raaj Kumar received several awards during his career, including the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Waqt” (1965). He was known for his distinctive dialogue delivery and was often remembered for his powerful on-screen presence.

Raaj Kumar, PC: Social Media

Raaj Kumar’s legacy in Bollywood is marked by his memorable performances and iconic dialogue delivery style. He carved a niche for himself in the industry and left an indelible mark on Indian cinema. His influence on subsequent generations of actors is evident in the reverence with which he is remembered.

Raaj Kumar passed away on July 3, 1996, at the age of 69. His contributions to Hindi cinema continue to be celebrated, and he remains an enduring figure in the history of Indian film.

His notable films were: Kaajal (1965), Hamraaz (1967), Neel Kamal (1968), Mere Huzoor (1968), Heer Raanjha (1970), Maryada (1971), Lal Patthar (1971) and Pakeezah (1972). After a period of flops in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, he had successful films like Bulundi (1981), Kudrat (1981), Dharam Kanta (1982), Marte Dam Tak (1987), Jung Baaz (1989), Suryaa: An Awakening (1989) and Police Public (1990).

In 1991, he returned to work with fellow veteran actor Dilip Kumar after 32 years in Subhash Ghai’s blockbuster action drama Saudagar. His last major hit was Tirangaa (1993) and his final film was God & Gun (1995).

Raaj Kumar and Dilip Kumar in Film Saudagar, Pc: Internet

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