Raaj Kumar (8 October 1926–3 July 1996), born Kulbhushan Pandit, was an actor. He worked as sub-inspector of Mumbai Police in the late 1940s before he turned to acting with the 1952 film Rangeeli. He appeared in the Oscar-nominated 1957 film Mother India and went on to star in over 70 Hindi films in a career that spanned over four decades.
Raaj Kumar made his acting debut in the 1952 film Rangili and appeared in films like Aabshar, Ghamand and Lakhon Mein Ek, but it was as Prince Naushazad in Sohrab Modi’s Nausherwan-E-Adil (1957) that he became famous. In 1957, he achieved prominence with his brief role as the husband of Nargis in Mother India. He followed this with the unglamorous role of a mill worker in Paigham (1959) alongside Dilip Kumar. He was cast with Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor and Balraj Sahni in Yash Chopra’s family drama Waqt. In Sridhar’s Dil Ek Mandir, Raaj Kumar played the role of a cancer patient for which he won the Filmfare Award in the Best supporting actor category for movies Dil Ek Mandir and Waqt. He became known for his distinct style of dialogue delivery.
His other notable films included Hamraaz (1967), Heer Raanjha (1971), Lal Patthar (1971) and Pakeezah (1972). He acted in fewer films by the mid 1970s and became a character actor in the 1980s with films like Kudrat (1981), Ek Nai Paheli (1984), Marte Dam Tak (1987), Muqaddar Ka Faisla (1987) and Jung Baaz (1989). In 1991, he reunited with Dilip Kumar after 32 years in Subhash Ghai’s Saudagar and appeared in the 1992 hit film Tirangaa. His last film appearance was in 1995’s God & Gun.
From his screen debut in Rangili in 1952 to his last film God & Gun in 1995, he played memorable characters in 70-odd films.
Today on the birthday of Bollywood’s ‘Jaani’ i.e. Rajkumar. Just like Rajkumar was on screen, he was also in his personal life. Absolutely fearless. Rajkumar acted in many films but always on his own terms. What they didn’t like, they didn’t do it. Even if you have to leave the film.
On his birth anniversary, let’s have a look at 10 interesting things about him which very few people know.
- In the year 1940, Rajkumar came to Mumbai. At that time Mumbai used to be Bombay. He started working as a sub-inspector in the police in this city. The police station where Rajkumar was working was often visited by people associated with the film industry. Once in the police station, filmmaker Baldev Dubey had come for some urgent work. The two talked and Rajkumar immediately resigned and became a hero.
- During a flight, Rajkumar met Jennifer, who was a flight attendant. Later, Jennifer married Rajkumar. After marriage, Jennifer changed her name to ‘Gayatri’.
- Raaj Kumar was born in Pakistan to a Kashmiri Pandit, his real name was Kulbhushan Nath Pandit.
- Kumar started his acting career with the 1952 film Rangili.
- The veteran actor worked in more than 70 Hindi films. His 1957 film Mother India was Oscar-nominated.
- Raj Kumar worked in films for four decades and gave many hits.
- Rajkumar played the role of a cancer patient in the film ‘Dil Ek Mandir’.
- He also received the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for this role
- Raj Kumar and Dilip Kumar did not get along with each other. But after 30 years both of them worked together in the film ‘Saudagar’. However, during the shooting of the film, they never spoke to each other except in their scenes.
- He was not the first choice for the 1972 film Pakeezah. Rajendra Kumar, Sunil Dutt and Dharmendra were earlier signed for this film. But they refused.
- He died of throat cancer on 10 July 1996 at the age of 69.