MUMBAI: Wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh, who wowed audiences with his brawn and on-screen histrionics for over five decades, died here early Thursday morning losing his five-day fight for life.
A childhood hero to many for his wrestling prowess, 83-year-old Singh, who played Hanuman in the epic teleserial ‘Ramayana’ and also dabbled in politics, passed away at 7.30 am at his residence in Juhu in suburban Mumbai.
Singh was taken home from hospital on Wednesday night by his family members so that they could be with him in the last few moments of his life. "He passed away at 7.30 am peacefully," Dr Ram Narain, COO, Kokilaben Hospital, said.
"He was a tough guy… He wanted to stay fit. But unfortunately his body was getting weaker. An angel now has gone to shine like a star up above," one of his sons, Vindu Dara Singh said.
The very first of action heroes in Hindi films, Singh was last seen in Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Jab We Met’ in 2007 where he played Kareena Kapoor’s grandfather.
From his first marriage, he has a son Mr Parduman Singh Randhawa and from his second marriage he has five children – two sons and three daughters including Vindu, a TV-film actor.
Standing tall with rippling muscles, Singh made a name in the field of professional wrestling and had over 500 professional fights to his credit, all undefeated. Singh won the title of ‘Rustam-e-Punjab’ and ‘Rustam-e-Hind’ for his wrestling prowess. Also, he became the Commonwealth Champion in 1959 and in 1996 he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. He announced his retirement from wrestling in 1983.
A wrestling hero to some and a much loved cine artist to others, Singh muscled his way into the film world with ease and will always be remembered for his variety of roles in cinema including his brawny avatar in ‘King Kong’ and ‘Tarzan.’ One of his notable friends was actress Mumtaz, with whom he starred in 16 Hindi films including ‘Faulad’ (1963), ‘Veer Bhimsen’ (1964), ‘Hercules’ (1964), ‘Aandhi Aur Toofan’ (1964), ‘Tarzan Comes to Delhi,’ ‘Tarzan and King Kong’ (1965), ‘Sikandar-e-Azam’ (1965) and ‘Rustom-E-Hind’ (1965).