Dara Singh is no more. He was many things to Indians of last so many generations – Alexander of Sikander-e-Azam (albeit, with heavy Punjabi Accent), Rustam-e-Hind, and Lord Hanuman of Ramayana. But above all, for an entire range of generations, he inspired awe for having beaten “The King Kong”. He was the guy who used the death lock in the free-style Wrestling to beat his opponents down.
When I was growing up, we would hear legends of how Dara Singh lifted the heavy King Kong (200 kgs) and threw him out of the ring as he yelled out. Dara Singh was 130 kg, but he lifted the heavy Aussie and landed him just near the crowd.
Those were the days when the wrestling ring was dominated by King Kong, Flash Gordon and Dara Singh.
He was born Deedar Singh Randhawa in the Amritsar area. He started his wrestling life in the Akharas of India in traditional wrestling and won many matches. He would be called by Kings of the princely states for dangals. In 1947, he fought against Tarlok Singh in Singapore and became the Champion of Malaysia.
He later won his matches in India as well and became Rustam-E-Hind in 1954. He fought against the greatest wrestlers of that time like King Kong (Australia), George Gordienko (Canada), John Desilva (New Zealand) and other wrestlers in India and remain undefeated in over 500 wrestling matches. He fought his last match in 1983.
In his movie career, he acted in 144 movies – 121 Hindi feature films and 21 Punjabi films, with one guest appearance each in Telugu and Malayalam movies. He had many box office hits like: Awara Abdulla , Rustom-E-Baghdad, Faulad, Veer Bhimsen, Samson , Hercules, Tarzan Comes to Delhi, Sikandar E Azam, Rustom-E-Hind, Raaka, Boxer, and Daku Mangal Singh.
He also produced and directed movies. As a Director, his successful movies were – Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladaun,Nanak Dukhiya Sub Sansar, Dhyanu Bhagat, and Rab Dian Rakhan – all in Punjabi. He also wrote story for 7 movies.
Today, this multifaceted person breathed his last at his house in Juhu, Mumbai at 12 July 2012, at 7.30 am local time