Dadamoni, better recognized as Ashok Kumar, the veteran actor of Indian Cinema is perhaps the first star of Bollywood who ruled tinsel town long before the celebrated trio Dilip Kumar, Raj Kumar and Dev Anand took centre stage. However you would be surprised to know that Ashok Kumar became an actor not by choice but by chance.
Son of a lawyer Kunjlal Ganguly, Ashok Kumar aka Kumudlal Ganguly after completing his B.Sc from Robertson College, Jabalpur, was forced to pursue Law and was admitted to Presidency College, Calcutta and continue his father’s legacy but Ashok Kumar being a Science student was more inclined towards photography and aspired to be a film technician.
His passion for photography was so intense that he frequented more often to New Theaters in Culcutta than his Law College. Eventually in 1934 he abandoned his studies and moved to Mumbai. Here he met Himanshu Rai of Bombay Talkies, who was impressed by Ashok Kumar’s enthusiasm for the art. He appointed Ashok Kumar as Laboratory Assistant under Josef Wirsching, the German cameraman at Bombay Talkies.
While Ashok Kumar was enjoying his job as technician, one day the lead hero Najam-ul-Hussain at Bombay Talkies failed to turn up at the mahurat of the movie JEEVAN NAIYYA (1936). Himanshu Rai was in a tight corner hence to he urged Ashok Kumar to become a hero, despite protest from Ashok Kumar, he was thrown in front of the camera. Incidentally the movie was a hit and what followed was a series of hits like ACHHUT KANYA, KANGAN, BANDHAN, JHOOLA and KISMAT, the movie that ran for two years in a single theatre in Calcutta making Ashok Kumar, a star!
Later Ashok Kumar became an integral part of Indian cinema. From 1936 to 1997 he ruled Bollywood for over six decades. The Indian government honored him for his immense contribution to Indian Cinema with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Awardand the Padma Bhushan.
Glamsham.com wishes Ashok Kumar on his 102nd birthday!