By Mamta Roy Last Updated:
Long before WWE wrestling was a sports extravaganza, long before The Great Khali and Jinder Mahal became the big names in wrestling, the nation had its own household name to represent Indian hopes. Born and brought up in a family of farmers, Dara Singh Randhawa was a wrestling hulk. From fighting on the wrestling mat to making his way in the wrestling ring, Dara had written his own destiny. Widely regarded as Rustam-e-Hind, he played nearly 500 fights in his career. Among them, he defeated Australian wrestler, King Kong in 1956 and world champion, Lou Thesz in 1968.
After quitting sports, Dara Singh paved his way into Bollywood. With his muscular physique and handsome looks, he bagged the title of the first He-Man of Indian cinema for his flawless action sequences. Though Dara had done many movies and TV shows in his career, it was his portrayal as Lord Hanuman in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan that stole millions of hearts. In an interview, the actor’s son, Vindu Dara Singh, revealed how his father had made extreme changes in his personal life to play the character of Hanuman.
For the unversed, Dara was forced into a child marriage with Bachno Kaur, a lady much older than him. However, he had later divorced her and married Surjit Kaur in 1961. Together they have a son, Vindu. In an old interview with Koimoi, the doting son narrated how his father had left eating non-veg while playing Hanuman in Ramayan. He had stated:
“My dad had stopped eating non-veg when he used to shoot for Hanuman character. After having his breakfast, he used to get ready for his character for an hour. For the entire day, he used to not eat anything. He used to have either coconut water or some juice during lunch.”
Further, in the conversation, Vindu mentioned that his father would not remove makeup the entire day, even after the shooting of Ramayan. He added that Dara Singh used to murmur his dialogues in sleep as well. And it was his mother, Surjit, who would wake him up to remind him that he was not on the shooting floors. Vindu could be quoted as saying:
“My mom used to remind him that there is no shooting going on here.”
Do you know Dara Singh had first refused to play the iconic character of Hanuman? Well, the actor had declined to take up the role as he believed his body was not beefed-up to play Mahaveer Bajrangbali. Moreover, in a conversation with a YouTube channel, Aaj Aur Kal, Dara Singh had recalled that even after his multiple refusals, the director, Ramanand Sagar, was adamant about casting him. In his words:
“Sagar Sahab, this is not the age to play Hanuman. Now my body is not as healthy and beefed-up as it should be to play Bajrangbali. He told me, ‘I will take your test and I am sure you will still give your best.’ I did that role and it became such a huge hit. None of us expected it to be so successful.”
For the uninitiated, Dara Singh was last seen in the movie, Jab We Met as Kareena Kapoor’s grandfather. The wrester-actor-politician had left for his heavenly abode on July 12, 2012, due to a heart attack.