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Dara Singh: The man who gave a footing to Punjabi cinema
July 14, 2012 06:13:12 PM IST By Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
It indeed is a fitting tribute to the memory of the gentle giant Dara Singh that he gets a release of his Punjabi film 3 months after he has left for his heavenly abode. The title is apt as well, GABRU DES PUNJAB DA, extolling the virtues of Punjabis and Punjabiyat. Indeed, Dara Singh has done yeomen service to the cause of Punjabi cinema by making films in Punjabi as also acting in scores of Punjabi films as well.
Produced and directed by Jaswinder Cheema GABRU DES PUNJAB DA is a tribute to wrestling where Dara Singh has enacted the role of an ustad who trained two wrestlers to fight it out and make their place in the son.
Dara Singh had also built up a shooting studio in Mohali so that the films could be shot and distributed all over the state, doing away with the hassle of doing post-production work outside Punjab and delaying the completion of the film. Sadly enough, this film studio in Mohali, Punjab has now closed shop and is used more for conducting wedding ceremonies, lavish Punjabi style.
Dara Singh started concentrating on Punjabi films from 1971 onwards. The first film that was released during this time was NANAK DUKHIYA SAB SANSAR which had Balraj Sahni as the co-star with Dara Singh. It was followed by MELE MITRAN DE, where Prithvi Raj Kapoor acted along with Dara Singh in this film. It was followed by BHAGAT DHANNA JAT where Feroz Khan starred with Dara Singh. The most successful film during the time was DUKH BHANJAN TERA NAAM which had Dharmendra, Dara Singh, Sunil Dutt etc. One thing that is evident from these films is that perhaps it was the goodwill that Dara Singh commanded which would have been the catalytic factors for these actors to act in Punjabi films at the peak of their career.
Dara Singh was pucca Punjabi as he never allowed the rustic touch of Punjabi to leave his diction though he had moved away from his motherland more than five decades ago. It was this love with the motherland and anything and everything to do with Punjabi that made him such a towering personality and that is the reason why his passing away is being mourned in Punjab.
As it has been said above, Dara Singh was Punjabi to the core and he did not relegate his efforts to promote Punjabi cinema only. He was also instrumental in giving much needed fillip to Punjabi literature as well. He whole heartedly supported Punjabi Sahit Akademi. Dara Singh was an avid aficionado of Punjabi literature, but he never allowed the world to know of his literary leaning. May be, it was his taste for literature that was instrumental in giving shape to his gentle manliness in some way. Summing up his persona, Shahrukh Khan aptly remarked that "He was made of alloy called guts" and was "our very own superman".
Indeed, Dara Singh would continue to rule fondly among his brethren in Punjab as also among his fans fanned out in different parts of the country and world.