The gentle giant

My heart hurts again today on hearing that another cinema great—in body and in spirit—has left us.

As I said over at Todd’s blog (he has written at least as much if not more about Dara than I have): it makes me hope there is a heaven, and that I’ve been a good enough person on earth to get up there and have a drink and a big Punjabi feast with him and Shammi. Edwina taught him how to do The Twist for Cha Cha Cha and said that he was a lot of fun to work with, which is not at all difficult to believe.

Rest in peace, Dara Sahab, and thank you for all the great fun you’ve left with us. This world is much emptier without you.

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52 Comments to “The gentle giant”

  1. Today is one of the saddest days and regret for life that I could never meet him. What Dara ji meant to us can’t be expressed in words. We were trying to meet him since last year but could not find a source to help the meet come through or may be we did not try hard enough. We want to thank him for what is gave us, instilled in us.

    Love you Dara Singh ji, the body may have departed but you continue to live within us. Like Memsaab we too wish, if not this hope we meet you in the other world. Rest in peace.

  2. My eyes are welling up. He had a personality that was unmatched by anyone. I am feeling really sad.

  3. Rest in Peace Dear Dara Ji! Never thought I’d feel this way ever but I do because I knew & worked with You too & many others who have also passed away sadly! May they all RIP Amen!

  4. So sad :-( What a household name in India he was when I was growing up (a very very long time ago). I felt happy though going through your earlier ‘Whatta man’ post and all the other films of his that you’ve written up. That’s the way I’d like to remember him – with a smile and chuckles for all the joy he brought into some of our lives. Thanks as always Memsaab. And also for the links to 4DK’s (aka Todd) lovely write-up.

    • I was scanning through the posts I’ve written about his movies…GOSH they are fun even when they’re bad, but especially when they are good which is most of the time. Love him, I do…

  5. He was my childhood hero, I don’t have words to express my pain. I wish I could have ever met him and hugged him for once. Will miss you alot Dara Singh ji.

  6. It is really very sad the passing away of Dara Singh, still we all watch our times films from
    King kong and all other his films from b/w era even today Dara Singh’s films look very fresh.
    we will miss you………………

  7. It was only yesterday that I read about him being released from hospital because the doctors felt they could do nothing more; and today he’s no more. :( I suppose I should be glad that he’s not suffering, but it is hard to forget the genuinely nice person I met once. Thanks for writing, Greta. He truly was a gentle giant.

    RIP, Daraji.

    • You are lucky indeed! Tell us more!

      • Not that interesting, I’m afraid. :) I’d gone to Famous Studios for an interview, and on the way back, I tripped over some rusty iron stuff the studio staff were piling up to cart away somewhere, gashing my foot pretty badly. While the security guard was trying to get someone to help, Dara Singh’s car came up to the entrance; it had to stop at the gate and he saw what was happening. He got out, asked me what was wrong, told me I should be more careful, and told his driver to get a rickshaw or a cab for me or to drive me to the nearest doctor if I wished, and coolly proceeded to walk from the gate to the studios without even waiting for my thankyou. Totally endearing and he got himself a huge fan that day. I called him up later to thank him and he just brushed off what he did as nothing special. Of course, he insisted on telling me that I needed to look where I was going – sounded like my grandfather! The memory still brings a smile to my face.

  8. Well, for all that he stood for on the silver screen, his persona in the heart of an average Indian movie goer, it should be Valhalla for this mighty spirit. See, Punjabi’s (again, much like any other Indian region) don’t have much of a vision of heaven, just about “dood ki nadiyaa” (streams of milk), with only piety and reverence for your favorite god getting you there Contrast that with the cinemascope, multi-colour, Dolby surround-sound description’s we have for hell!:( Certainly this gentle giant, from a different era, belongs to different league from today’s (A,B,C ???? class) leading actors, deserves more.

  9. Mumtaz today on Dara Singh.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/dara-singhs-passing-is-a-loss-to-humanity…-he-was-a-very-good-man/973645/0

  10. Loved him especially as Hanuman in Ramayan..Never missed the show when I was growing up…RIP Dara Singh, the world is going to miss a great man and actor.

  11. Beautiful tribute by Mumtaz. Last lines in Hindi mean: “Lots of people come, lots of people go. But you feel really bad when good people go because the world looks good when they are there.”

  12. I am 36, and I can feel quite a bit of your pain – it feels like it is going to be all losses from here onwards. :(

  13. Awww, not him too. :-( I suppose as long as we have those wonderful “B” movies we have him, but still…sigh.

    • I know :( Someone said to me yesterday that all my favorites are dying off and it’s true! That’s what I get for falling head over heels for men in their eighties.

  14. Rest in Peace Daraji. Thank you for having been there, and for the memories of your films.
    :-(

  15. May peace be with you, Dara ji. For me, you’d always be Hanuman ji. Your role as Hanuman ji in Ramayan gave me more faith in it all and will continue to do so. May you remain like Hanuman ji – a chiranjeevi (always alive).

  16. Very sad to know this news. I remember seeing a special screening of Sikander E Azam for us middle school kids. His image of a dashing warrior will always remain in my mind. It was a delight to see him again in Jab We Met. People like Dara will never be forgotten coz people will continue to watch and discuss his movies like memsaab’s blog. I too could not view Mumtaaz’s comments coz the page seems to have been removed when i clicked on the url provided by Suhan.

  17. The age of romanticism slowly passing away and reality with its cruel granite-face towering in my mind. Our Vir Hanuman has lost his final battle against the demon named Time. He made us all proud with his strength and discipline overseas and charmed us with his jolly performance for so many years, both in young and old avatars. I personally feel proud that Daraji received the offer for his first movie in my own Kolkata (SANGDIL).
    What endeared him more to me was his indomitable spirit, with which he pursued his vocation in both the small screen as well as the silver screen. He acted in a number of soaps and his skill never showed signs of waning even till the last day. I regret not being able to track most of his early B/W movies. Turning to you now Memsaab- please review or re-review them again- so that we lesser mortals get a chance to laud our Desi SUPERMAN when currently Hollywood has started spreading SPIDER MAN and BATMAN fever again across the earth.

    • It would be so great if his passing and the outpouring it has generated would galvanize dvd people into putting his old films on dvd with subtitles. Probably won’t happen though :(

  18. RIP, Daraji. You will be missed.

  19. Whenever I think of Hanuman, Dara Singh’s gentle giant demeanor and his face springs to my mind. I am a devotee of Hanuman and Dara Singh will always be my Hanuman and will always live in my prayers to Hanuman. Daraji, you will not be forgotten. Just as Hanuman is deathless and eternal, you will live on in our prayers and in our hearts..

  20. The image of the gentle giant that will remain with me forever and I think I speak for most of the citizens of Bombay of that time, is that of the huge cut outs of Dara Singh we saw at the Vallabhai Patel Stadium opposite the Worli sea face. It was here that most of the wrestling matches were held and I know people rushed to see a Dara Singh match no matter which part of Bombay they lived in. R.I.P Daraji.

  21. I found this a good tribute to him. The point it is making (and I think we all realise) is that he was basically a good human being and that transcended whatever he did, whether wrestling or movies or TV. And that is why he is so fondly remembered and there is so much outpouring even amongst generations that have had no first-hand experience of his times. I am myself surprised (and very pleasantly so) at the amount of emotion his death has generated. RIP, gentle giant!

    http://virsanghvi.com/CounterPoint-ArticleDetail.aspx?ID=813#.T__HmGBvVBI.twitter

  22. I actually watched him wrestling around 1950 in Madras. We were all fascinated by those fights, did not know that they were fake. We wondered how he would fare against the great Gama. Though their careers overlapped, they never fought with each other. Both apparently great wrestlers and still icons in the wrestling circles. I never watched his movies though.

  23. Greta – Had I not come to your blog a couple of years back, I would have thought its just one more news item. But I seem to be connecting with the film folks on an emotional level. So it does upset me to hear such sad news now.Dev Saab, Shammi and so many others left us since last year.

    I pray the Lord turns his attention to some nasty and evil people who make lives difficult for other people.

    RIP Daraji. You sure touched our hearts if not our lives.

  24. @Memsaab – Mumtaz’s line above just about sums it all. Dara Singh’s name always evoked a lot of respect. He will live on forever.

  25. It is amazing the love and respect that Dara Singh generates. For an actor who was known for B and C rate films, he was loved by so many, and still is. While most of his contemporaries are long forgotten, there is just something about him that kept the man in people’s memories I guess. Or maybe TV in India tended to rerun his films more than other of his ilk, I don’t know. I only know that Dara Singh is a major reason why I love Hindi and Punjabi films and he was the person I most looked forward to meeting someday when I get to India. I guess that now Suniel Shetty and I will have to have lunch alone with each other.

    Greta, you know how sad his death makes me because you loved him just as much as I did. His movies rock…even the worst of them are still great fun to watch!

    • I know Mike, I think he is the one who brought us together to be online besties ;-) So for that alone, I love him. I have to say that the day Shammi died brought me the hugest amount of traffic I’d ever had on one day, and Dara yesterday surpassed it (maybe because there’s less written about Dara films overall on the web but still). I’m glad to see the respect out there for him…I just hope he knew he had it when he was still alive. I think he did, and it probably didn’t matter that much to him anyway.

      We’d better get to India soon…our favorites are getting up there!

  26. As a Punjabi we used to have a great time watching Dara Singh play mythical characters and him try to push the dialogues written in very pure Hindi almost close to Sanskrit push through his thick Punjabi accent. Me and my brother were big fan of wrestling sequences in movies and his immense stature suited him as a hero kicking ass. What an amazing specimen he was and would be greatly missed.

  27. Though it was expected, when the news of Daraji’s passing away came in, felt really bad… R.I.P. Daraji… The first time I came across him was when he had a bout with a fighter called Man Mountain (hope I got the name right) – I had just started my 2nd standard then. Next morning, the headlines were full of his victory! I was hooked on to him then!
    As someone rightly pointed out, ‘Hanumanji’ has left earth to be with his beloved Ram!

  28. Hi,

    I have never watched any of his movies, He was a very great person, R.I.P.
    Here is a link of Mumtaz remembering him, plus others.

    http://www.rediff.com/movies/slide-show/slide-show-1-mumtaz-dharmendra-remember-dara-singh/20120713.htm

    Thank you

  29. He was also very much respected in the professional world, as a classy gentleman who was also tough as nails!

  30. Memsaab, sorry to bring this up a little late, but I recently too umbrage to a colleague’s remarks on Dara Singh: how he never “sang” a decent song (took him to task on that one, but he still stick to his point), and how he really took the cake from the other “Punjabi” actor (Dharmendra), in dance. (I agreed; they both have/had two “wooden” left legs)
    But I knew I had the ace; the cha cha cha! (Dara Singh! trend setter) The only problem, I have unable to discover a direct link on youtube, or even what movie that’s from. That, or the one where there’s whole lot of (really big) guys, all cross dressed and dancing would help. I knew they are somewhere on the blog, but feel too lazy to dig around. Thanks

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