Wrestler-actor Dara Singh passes away, Bollywood pays tribute on Twitter

India News Bulletin Desk
Dara Singh
Image: Wikimedia Commons (LRBurdak)

India’s first action-hero and Bollywood star, Dara Singh, has died at the age of 83, after a cardiac arrest.

The Punjab-born wrestler-turned-actor passed away at 7.30am [IST] at his residence, Dara Villa in Juhu, Mumbai.

Singh was a master of many professions. He was a successful wrestler and has won the World Wrestling Championship in 1968. He was also a successful film and television actor.

Born 19 November 1928, he trained in 'Pehlwani', the Indian wrestling style at an early age. He has won every one of his 500 wrestling contests, including those fought with world famous professional wrestlers such as Stanislaus Zbyszko.

He retired from active wrestling in 1983.

Along with an early career in wrestling, Singh joined the film industry. He debuted with his role in Hindi film, Sangdil, in 1952.

Singh was a versatile actor, playing a variety of roles in the films.

He was an action hero in “B” category films such as Samson and the more famous Tarzan Comes to Delhi. His action roles in films such as King Kong, Faulad, and Sher-e-Watan made him popular as an action-hero.

Singh, then, went on to play amiable action-characters such as the friendly pehelwan in Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Anand.

He also become popular for his television role of Hanuman in hit series - Ramayan in 1986 and Mahabharat, both based on Indian epics.

He has also acted in National Award winning film Main Maa Punjab Dee directed by Balwant Singh Dullat.

Most recently, Singh appeared in Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor’s Bollywood hit of 2007 - Jab We Met. He played the role of the family head and grandfather to Kareena Kapoor’s character Geet.

Among other major highlights of his life, Singh became an author, writing his autobiography in 1989 and he became a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha between 2003 and 2009.

On July 7, 2012, following a cardiac arrest, Singh was admitted in Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. He was released from hospital on July 11, following his family’s wishes. He died on 12 July 2012.

Bollywood and sports fraternity took to Twitter to pay its tribute

Big B, actor Amitabh Bachchan, tweeted: “Dara Singh ji passed away this morning. A great Indian and one of the finest humans... An entire era of his celebrated presence gone!”

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, in his tweet, said: Wrestlers are made of sweat,determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts...most apt for Dara Singhji our very own Superman. Will miss u sir.

Cricketing ace, Sachin Tendulkar, said in a tweet: “Along with the whole country, I mourn the sad demise of Dara Singh ji. May his soul rest in peace.”

Another actor and author, Anupam Kher said: “Dara Singh ji was larger than life but never made anyone feel dwarfed with his presence. The strongest and the humblest. A Hero All The Way.”

Meanwhile, according to director Mahesh Bhatt, “Memories of this warm 'pehlwan' turned actor flicker in my memory. When childhood heroes die, the world looks desolate.”

International and Bollywood actor Kabir Bedi, in his tweet, said: “RIP Dara Singh, Rustam-e-Hind, India's iconic wrestler, pride of Punjab, loved by all generations. We'll miss you deeply.”

Many other big names from sports, media, politics and film industry paid their respects to the legendary actor Dara Singh.

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