THE "KING OF THE RING" DEPARTS... an Obituary by Nilanjan Nandy!

darasingh01  Dara Singh-ji, the "King of the Ring" passed away today, in Bombay at the age of 84.

Dara Singh was born as "Deedar Singh Randhawa". He was an Indian wrestler and also a successful cinema actor. I still remember those afternoons of early 1970's, when the serpentine que winded out of Khudiram Stadium (adjacent to Akashvani, Kolkata), all afficionados of wrestling waiting to buy tickets for the wrestling match that would take place in the evening there itself.

I used to look forward to it each Sunday, when insertions and advertisements adorned the pages of the Dailies announcing wrestling bouts that are about to take place inciting excitement and a sense of glee as I knew that I'll be witnessing hackle-raising fights by none other than the Rustom-E-Hind Dara Singh-ji.

His "Dead Lock" was a favorite of the final round each Sunday, and I used to look forward to it! I and my dad (the legendary guitarist Batuk Nandy) gloated over the insertions in the Sunday Dailies and planned for our evening out. Once my dad took me backstage and yes, I shook my hands with the Great Dara Singh, a man with crushing power in his arms, yet with a golden heart and a millon dollar smile.

12darasingh2w He started acting in 1962 and became a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha by Bhartiya Janata Party from August 2003 to August 2009. He passed away this morning,the 12th day of July 2012 around 7.30 AM at his residence in Mumbai due to cardiac arrest.

Other fighters from all over the globe who fought Dara Singh-ji at times were the Brown Bomber (Gosh! I remember him crushing whole coconuts with his bare hands), the Giant King Kong and other masked fighters with outlandish names as bizarre as Dr. X!!!
maskedwrestlerRemembering Dara ji fighting the giant Kong, One of the most exciting fights I saw, the much lighter Dara Singh (compared to the Giant) lifted the almost 200 kg King Kong over his head and was turning him round and round. King Kong was yelling at the referee that this was not in the rules. When the referee tried to come and stop this Dara Singh virtually threw drxfaceonly King Kong out top of his voice as he fell just a few feet from us. He was pissed!! Jumping up, he rushed into the ring and tried to attack the referee - who simply drop-kicked him out of the ring, once again!! Wham...!!!
Those were the days when fun and entertainment was not tainted and we found it in abundance amongst Russian Circuses, Wrestling Matches, a Day Trip to the Museum or Even watching the Humungus Ships moored alongside the Ganga Strand, Hastings, with the sool breeze blowing our hair and our nostrils filled with the smell of hot peanuts, phuchka and tea with a hint of ginger. Dara Singh was very much a part of my "Halcyon Days"...

Dara Singh was born in a Punjabi Jat Sikh family, son of Surat Singh Randhawa and Balwant Kaur on 19 November 1928 in the village Dharmuchak of Amritsar district in Punjab.Dara Singh married to Surjit Kaur Randhawa in 1961. He has six children 3 sons and three daughters.His son Vindu Singh is a popular TV and film actor.His other sons are Pruduman Singh Randhawa and Amrik Singh.
He was encouraged in wrestling due to his massive physique. He worked at his Farm as a kid.He was encouraged to study Pehlwani, an Indian style of wrestling, in the milked sand wrestling pits called akhara. Dara Singh was a favourite in wrestling tournaments in India. In addition to this, he wrestled on invitation of kings of Indian princely states and wrestled frequently in haats and melas (fairs and carnivals). He successfully competed against some of the greatest names in wrestling history and professional wrestlers in the United States.
Dara went to Singapore in 1947. Became the Champion of Malaysia (Indian style wrestling) by defeating Tarlok Singh in Kuala Lumpur. He has toured almost all far-east countries as a Professional Wrestler. Dara Singh returned to India in 1952 and became the Indian Champion in 1954.

dharmatmadarasinghji His memorable films that I have seen in my younger years are: Dharmatma, Paanch Fauladi, Mard, Lalkar, Warrant, Anand, Dharam Karam, Mera Naam Joker, Ram Bharose, Nalaayak, Watan Se Door, Elaan-E-Jung, Karma, Daku Mangal Singh and recently (his last

film) in Jab We Met, as Kareena's Grand Dad.

darasinghmumtaz His black and white movies days with his most preferred heroine of that time, none other than the super-star of the 70's - Mumtaz, who adorned cinema houses with frequent releases with Dara-ji himself.

Members of the film fraternity and thousands of fans witnessed the  final journey of this great son of the soil!

His body was taken in procession in a truck decorated with flowers, from his home 'Dara Villa' to the Pawan Hans crematorium, where the last rites were performed.

Besides family members, those present from the film industry were veteran actor Rishi Kapoor, Fardeen Khan, director Sajid Khan, actor-director Parmeet Sethi, actors Dheeraj Kumar, Jaspal Bhatti, Anoop Soni and Raza Murad.

I will miss him terribly, the world , his fans will miss him terribly!!!May his Gentle Soul Rest in Peace.