Star of the week - MANOJ KUMAR


Name: Harikishan Giri Goswami
DOB: 24 July, 1937
Star sign: Leo
Birthplace: Abbottabad, NWFP, British India
Occupation: Actor and director


• Manoj Kumar is remembered for his films Hariyali Aur Raasta, Woh Kaun Thi?, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Do Badan, Upkar, Patthar Ke Sanam, Neel Kamal, Purab Aur Paschim, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, and Kranti.

• He is known for acting in and directing films with patriotic themes, and has been given the nickname Bharat Kumar.

• In 1992, the actor was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India. India's highest award in cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, was bestowed upon him in 2015. The veteran was also awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 for a career spanning over 40 years.

Interesting facts:

• Manoj Kumar’s family had to migrate to Delhi due to the Partition when he was 10. The family lived as refugees in Vijay Nagar, Kingsway Camp and later moved to Old Rajendra Nagar area of New Delhi. After graduating from Hindu College, University of Delhi, Manoj decided to enter the film industry.

• As a youngster, he admired Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Kamini Kaushal, and decided to name himself Manoj Kumar, after Dilip's character in Shabnam (1949).

• In the 1960s, his successful films included romantic films and thrillers. Kumar's image as the patriotic hero started with the 1965 film Shaheed, based on the life of Bhagat Singh, the Independence revolutionary. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri asked him to create a film based on the popular slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kissan’ (hail the soldier, hail the farmer).

• The result was Kumar's magnum opus and directorial debut Upkaar (1967). In it, he played both, a soldier and a farmer. The film was also noted for the famous song Mere Desh Ki Dharti. It was a hit and won Kumar his first Filmfare Best Director Award.

• In 1974, he starred in and directed the hit, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, a social commentary featuring Zeenat Aman, Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan. The movie won him his second Filmfare Award for Best Director. Manoj also won the Filmfare Best Actor Award for Be-Imaan (1972).

• In 1981, the actor reached the peak of his career when he got the opportunity to direct his idol, Dilip Kumar, as well as star alongside in Kranti, a story about the struggle for Indian independence in the 19th century. This was the last notable successful film in his career.

• In 1989, he cast Pakistani actors Mohammad Ali and Zeba in his film Clerk. He quit acting after his appearance in the 1995 film Maidan-E-Jung.

• His trademark hand-covering-the-face was very popular and continues to be the butt of jokes of latter day stand-up comedians.

• Like many other Bollywood stars, Kumar decided to enter politics following his retirement.