Dara Singh: We Salute The Legendary Hero!

Article first published as Tributes To Dara Singh: The Legendary Wrestler-Actor Of India! on Technorati.

He had 500 professional wrestling bouts to his credit and remained undefeated in all them. His opponents included the names of the greatest international wrestlers of that time like King Kong from Australia, George Gordenko from Canada and John Desilva from New Zealand. He was the first ever sportsperson to be nominated to the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

Towering over six feet with eight-pack abs and a strikingly handsome appearance he was the first he-man of Indian movies. He was also the first Indian movie hero to take off the shirt! He acted in nearly 200 Hindi and Punjabi films since the early sixties till 2007 as the main leads and character roles. 
Dara Singh, born in 1928 in the state of Indian Punjab, was encouraged to take up the wrestling profession thanks to his physical assets. After achieving mastery over the art he was mostly invited by the kings of Indian princely states to fight duels with established stalwarts of the profession. Gradually Dara started to take part in various national and international tournaments. He became the Champion of Malaysia in 1947 and he was crowned the undefeated National Champion of India in 1954. He continued to participate in tournaments till about 1983. 
His tremendous popularity in the fighting ring added glamor to the Indian profession of wrestling for the first time. Naturally, this glamor quotient brought him into the Indian movies—the Hindi film industry or Bollywood of modern times. His first movie King Kong (1962) made him a household name in India. Other popular action extravaganzas like Tarzan (1965) and others followed, and there was no looking back with Dara Singh coming to don the roles of Producer and Director of movies too. He also established a studio in his home state of Punjab.
Dara Singh was immortalized in the Indian television industry through his role of Hanuman—the eternally divine, powerful and dedicated monkey-God—in the Indian epic of Ramayana. He came to be known as the favorite screen Hanuman of India and acted in that role in a few movies too. He also played character roles in many other television serials.
As primary school kids in the sixties we had been fascinated by the heroics of Dara Singh epitomizing him with the eternal Good. We were told about a very famous strategy of Dara Singh called ‘deadlock’ applying which he made his opponents helpless, about how he lifted 230kg King Kong with his hands and threw him out of the ring, and that he never lost. We had absolutely no chance of watching him in the ring and therefore his movies where he showed his wrestling prowess were not-be-missed affairs for us. In fact, parents of those times sent their children willingly to watch his movies and get inspired.
Dara Singh was hospitalized in Mumbai on July 7, 2012 following a cardiac arrest and doctors put him on life support system due to extensive brain damage. As the chances of recovery were bleak his family shifted him home on July 11 to fulfill the hero’s last wishes. And, on the morning of July 12, 2012 the perfect gentleman wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh breathed his last. Fans, sports personalities and Bollywood celebrities flocked on to pay their homage to this legendary hero who was also known for his modesty, kindness, straightforwardness and honesty. 

We salute the great Indian national hero.