Remembering Dada Moni on his 6th Death Anniversary

Ashok Kumar,the star that refuses to fade away. The legendary actor hummed and hammed his way into the hearts of millions of fans. This small man with a frail physique, winning smile and personality which breathed love and affection is a true legend.

Ashok Kumar was born Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguly in Bhagalpur and grew up in Khandwa. Since his father was a middle class lawyer, he studied Law in Calcutta before turning into a Laboratory Assistant at the Bombay Talkies Film Company. But, the great man was destined to become an actor. He got his break with Jeevan Naiya in 1936. He went on to star in films like Achut Kanya, Bandhan and his most admired cigarette smoking anti hero character in Kismet.  His acting prowess enabled him to give hits like Howrah Bridge, Parineeta and Chalti ka Naam Gaadi in the fifties. The sixties saw him giving hits like Aarti, Gumrah and the award winning Bandhini with Nutan. His roles in Jewel Thief, Aashirwaad and Mili were deserving of the accolades and the awards he got.

His films like Khoobsurat, Chotti si Baat and Victoria No. 203 all great comedies make us nostalgic about the simplicity of yesteryears. They tell us that there is always a way to be happy by just looking at the problems of your life in a different way. More than his films Dada moni(which means a jewel like brother) was fondly remembered for the relationship he shared with his co stars. Loved by his colleagues, revered by the youngsters and his ability to get into the skin of the character was admired by all. He won the reverence of the people by the simplicity and austerity of his life

He is best remembered for the encouragement he gave to his brother Kishore Kumar who was twenty years younger to him. He was like a father figure to his brother. Ashok Kumar thought it was best for Kishoreda to try and pick up acting by initially doing small roles in films and he also considered that just singing was not lucrative as acting. Infact Kishore  learnt his art of yodeling by constantly imitating his brother’s songs. Kishore’s favourite was “Main ban ki chidiya .. bolun re.” from Achut Kanya. Kishore too went on to become one of the greatest entertainers of our industry

A recipient of four filmfare awards, lifetime achievement awards and the Dada Sahib Phalke award- the highest award for cinematic excellence in Indian Cinema, Ashok Kumar was perhaps the best actor of his era. Its just that his era continued for almost sixty years wherein he worked in  an astonishing 275 films. In the latter part of his career he took to the small screen. He anchored the show Hum Log and portrayed the character of Bahadhur Shah Zafar. Not many of his fans are aware but Dada Moni was a great painter and a practitioner of Homeopathy as well.

Ashok Kumar, the Grand old man of the Indian Film Industry. We cant help but get nostalgic about the song “ Rail Gaadi Rail Gaadi, chuk chuk chuk” when his child like innocence is bursting to come out even when he is playing the role of a grandfather. A great actor, friend and human being, Ashok Kumar is sorely missed. Such Legends don’t come often. Dada Moni is dead. But his spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of his fans.

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