12 July: Remembering Rajendra Kumar on his Punya Tithi
Rajendra Kumar (20 July 1929 – 12 July 1999) an Indian Film Actor, Film Producer, Film Director & Editor who was well-known for his work in Bollywood. He appeared in over 80 movies during a career that spanned over four decades.
Early Life and Career
Rajendra Kumar was born on 20 July 1929, in Punjab, British India. He started his film career as an assistant to H. S. Rawail. He worked with him for about five years on Pocketmaar, Sagai, and Patanga. His acting debut was in the 1950 movie Jogan, starring Nargis and Dilip Kumar. The producer Narendra Goel liked him a lot and offered him the lead role in Vachan in 1955. His pay for the film was just 1500 rupees, but it was a silver jubilee hit, so media called him “A star is born.”
In 1957, he played Nargis’s son in Mehboob Khan’s blockbuster epic Mother India. The first time he made a big splash as a romantic leading man was in Amit Saxena’s musical Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959), with Ameeta Sharma. As a result of this film, Rajendra Kumar had a series of silver jubilee hits like Saathi Mere Mehboob, Arzoo, Jhuk Gaya Aasman, and Talaash.
He rose to fame in the 1960s. During times when he had six or seven movies running simultaneously, he was called “Jubilee Kumar” because they ran for more than 25 weeks, which is called a “silver jubilee film” in India. He starred in many box office hits including Dhool Ka Phool (1959), Gharana (1961), Dil Ek Mandir (1963), Mere Mehboob (1963), Sangam (1964), Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964), Arzoo (1965), Suraj (1966), Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan (1968), Talash (1969) and Ganwaar (1970). In 1963, he won Filmfare’s Best Actor Nomination for Dil Ek Mandir, in 1964 he won for Ayee Milan Ki Bela, and in 1965 he won for Arzoo. He also appeared in Films like Gora Aur Kala (1972) and Do Jasoos (1975) were directed by Naresh Kumar.
From 1972 onwards, he competed with Rajesh Khanna and had a lot of flops. In the late 1970s and 1980s, he started doing character roles. A role in Saajan Bina Suhaagan opposite Nutan was offered to him in 1978. Additionally, he starred in Punjabi films like Do Sher and Teri Meri Ik Jindri.
His most famous role was playing a patient and silent actor who sacrificed his love interest for others. In his illustrious acting career, he rarely shouted and jumped. During that time, he worked with almost all the leading Bollywood actresses. His pairings with Sadhna were among the most memorable. His career included three nominations for Best Actor, but he never won.
Awards and Nominations
In 1970, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for his contribution to the entertainment industry.
In 1964, 1965 and 1966, Rajendra Kumar was nominated for three consecutive Filmfare Awards. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1965.
He died on 12 July 1999, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.