Ashok Kumar aka Dadamoni was born Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguly in
Bhagalpur and grew up in Khandwa. He briefly studied law in Calcutta,
then joined his future brother-in-law Shashadhar Mukherjee at
Bombay Talkies as laboratory assistant. Little did he know that
he will end up being the leading man of the Bombay Talkies Film
Company. It so happened that the boss's wife and leading actress
Devika Rani runs off with her lead man Najam-ul-Hussain which
leaves the film in doldrums. The Company needs a hero and the
man summoned is Ashok Kumar. And thus began an extremely successful
acting career that lasted six decades!
Kumar made his debut opposite Devika Rani in Jeevan Naiya (1936)
but became a well known face with Achut Kanya (1936). Devika
Rani and he did a string of films together - Izzat (1937), Savitri
(1937), Nirmala (1938) among others but she was the bigger star
and chief attraction in all those films. It was with his trio
of hits opposite Leela Chitnis - Kangan (1939), Bandhan (1940)
and Jhoola (1941) that Ashok Kumar really came into his own.
Going with the trend he sang his own songs and some of them
like Main Ban ki Chidiya, Chal Chal re Naujawaan and Na Jaane
Kidhar Aaj Meri Nao Chali Re were extremely popular!
of his most unforgettable accomplishment in the lead roles are
in films like Mahal, Bandini, Aarti, Gumrah, Kanoon and Mamta.
After Kismet, which made Ashok a rage, with his stylish anti-hero
persona, he set a new trend, with his cigarette flicking style;
he was struck with the anti-hero image for some time. He acted
in murder mystery movies like Sangram, Inspector, Howrah Bridge
and night club. With Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi he showed the world
that he was a good comedian too. With Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi Ashok
Kumar also ensured that he was the one actor who effortlessly
withstood the Trimurthi of the 1950s - Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar
and Raj Kapoor and more than held his own in the films they
did together - Badbaan, Deedar and Bewafaa respectively.
success continued with strong performances in Aarti, Gumrah
and an absolutely flawless one in Bandini, matching Nutan's
brilliant performance scene for scene. In the late 1960s after
Mamta and Hatey Bazarey, Ashok Kumar settled down to playing
character roles. Ashok Kumar took on all sorts of characters
- the villain in Jewel Thief, the sympathetic parent in Mili,
the lovable old man in Aashirwad and Choti si Baat, the old
comic conman in Victoria no. 203, the rapist in Jawaab, the
henpecked head of the family - Khubsoorat. He was by now lovingly
called Dadamoni by one and all.
more that 300 movies to his credit he won most acclaimed Dada
Saheb Phalke award in 1989. He came to small screen in 1980's
with the most popular serial Hum Log. The grand old man of the
tinsel town died of heart failure when he was 90 on December