Sanjeev Kumar was born on July 9th, 1938 in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay), India. His original name was Harihar Jethalal Jariwala. He was an actor by profession who worked in Bollywood. He moved to Surat after birth. His family again moved to Mumbai. He has three siblings- one sister and two brothers. Sanjeev didn’t get married ever. He was in a relationship with
Sulakshana Pandit, but the couple didn’t get married. He went to a film school. It was here that he learned the nuances of acting. He performed with Indian People’s Theatre Association and then became a part of the Indian National Theatre. He was spotted by director Gulzar.
In 1960, he debuted in the movie Hum Hindustani, in which he played a small role of a police inspector. His first movie as a lead actress was Nishan, which released in 1965. In 1968, the actor was seen in a murder mystery flick Shikar, in which he played the role of Inspector Rai. The role won him his first Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award. The very same year, he was seen in Sunghursh, alongside top actors of that time-
Dilip Kumar and Vyajyanthimala. In 1969, he was seen in the film Oos Raat Ke Baad in which he was seen in a double role. The actor got mass recognition in 1970 when he featured in the film Khilona. The movie was a huge success and Sanjeev got nominated for a Filmfare Best Actor Award. There was no looking back for him after that, and he gave several hits like ‘
Seeta Aur Geeta’, ‘
Hero’, ‘Pati, Patni Aur Woh,’ among others. In 1972, he played the role of Haricharan Mathur in the movie Koshish. It won him another nomination in the Filmfare Awards.
National Film Awards honored him with the Best Actor Award second time after Dastak. In 1975, Sanjeev did the film Sholay, in which he played Thakur Baldev Singh. The movie is counted among the classic movies in the history of Hindi cinema.
He played many unconventional characters. In 1977, Shatranj Ke Khilari, a direction by
Satyajit Ray, saw Sanjeev playing Mirza Sajjad Ali’s character. It was a historical film which threw light on the kingdom of Awadh. The film fetched a National Award and was critically acclaimed. The actor had a congenital heart disease by birth. No member of his family lived for more than 50 years. He suffered a heart attack and went to the US to get a bypass surgery done. On November 6th, 1985, at a young age of 47, he suffered another heart attack and passed away. More than ten of his films released after his death. His last film was Professor Ki Padosan (1993). He could complete only three-fourth part of the movie.