Sanjeev Kumar was born as Harihar Jariwala in Gujarat to a Gujarati His first home was in Surat and family based in Mumbai. A stint in the film school took him to Bollywood, where he eventually became a famous movie star. He remained a bachelor all his life and died of heart disease in 1985. He was very well known for his behavior with fellow co-stars.
Sanjeev Kumar made his debut in the film Hum Hindustani in 1960. Sanjeev's first film as a hero was the 1965 Nishan. In 1968, he played opposite the famous actor Dilip Kumar in Sangharsh. In 1970, Khilona made him a star. He went on to star in the hits Seeta Aur Geeta (1972) and Manchali (1973).
He started working with the well-known director Gulzar in the early 1970s. He did nine films with Gulzar, including Aandhi (1975), Mausam (1975), Angoor (1981) and Namkeen (1982). Many of his fans believe that these are some of the best films that he did.
He was always ready to take unconventional roles that challenged him as an actor. He played Mirza, a chess-obsessed Lucknowi (citizen of Lucknow), in Satyajit Ray's classic Shatranj Ke Khiladi (1977). Perhaps his best-remembered roles were in the blockbuster films Sholay (1975) and Trishul (1978).
During the early 1980s Sanjeev Kumar did more supporting roles than playing the lead. In 1980 he starred in a Punjabi movie Fauji Chacha. In 1985, when he was 47 years old, he died of a heart ailment. He never married. He was however involved with actress Sulakshana Pandit, whom he did not marry, having been turned down by actress Hema Malini whom he was in love with at the time. Hema Malini went on to marry her frequent co-star Dharmendra. Ironically for an actor who played many elderly roles, he did not live to the age of 50.
Ten of his already completed films were released after his death, with his final film Professor Ki Padosan being released in 1993. At the time of his death only three-fourths of this film was complete, and it was decided to alter the story in the second half of the film to explain the absence of Sanjeev Kumar's character. One of his other notable releases after his death was K. Asif's much-delayed Love and God, which was over 20 years in the making. After director K. Asif died in 1971, production came to a halt and the film was finally released in incomplete form in 1986, one year after its actor Sanjeev Kumar had also died.
In Naya Din Nayi Raat (1974) Sanjeev Kumar reprised the nine-role epic performance by Sivaji Ganesan in Navarathiri (1964), which was also previously reprised by Akkineni Nageswara Rao in Navarathri (Telugu; 1966). This film has enhanced his status and reputation as an actor in Hindi cinema.
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