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Rajendra Kumar Tuli
|Died||12 July 1999 (aged 69)|
|Occupation||Actor, Producer, Director|
|Children||3, including Kumar Gaurav|
|Awards||Padma Shri (1969)|
Rajendra Kumar Tuli (20 July 1929 – 12 July 1999) was an Indian film actor who starred in Bollywood films. Starting his career in 1950, he appeared in more than 80 films in a career spanning over four decades. He was considered one of the most successful Indian Bollywood actors in the 1960s. He also produced several films starring his son Kumar Gaurav. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1969.
Rajendra Kumar's family was based in Punjab, Pakistan former British India. His grandfather was a successful military contractor and his father had a textile business in Karachi, Sindh, British India. During the Partition of India, the family had to leave all the land and property behind and move to India. When they came to Bombay, Kumar decided to try his luck in the Hindi film industry. He never wanted to be a hero and took up work with director H. S. Rawail as an assistant. For nearly five years, he worked with Rawail as an assistant in films like Patanga, Sagai, Pocketmaar.
During this time he made his film debut with a small role in Kidar Sharma's 1950 film Jogan, opposite Dilip Kumar and Nargis. It was producer Devendra Goel who noticed Kumar in Jogan and gave him a break in Vachan in 1955. Kumar was paid only fifteen hundred rupees for the film; however, the film was a hit and was Kumar's first silver jubilee film and he was given a title – 'A star is Born'. He got further success with his supporting role in Mehboob Khan's blockbuster epic film Mother India in 1957 in which he played Nargis's character's son. His first major success as a romantic leading man was in Amit Saxena's musical Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959), co-starring Ameeta.
The 1960s saw Kumar rise to stardom. There were times when he had six or seven films which had run for more than 25 weeks (known in India as a "silver jubilee film"), all running at the cinema at the same time, which rendered him the nickname "Jubilee Kumar". He starred in many box office hits including Dhool Ka Phool (1959), Dil Ek Mandir (1963), Mere Mehboob (1963), Sangam (1964), Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964), Arzoo (1965), Suraj (1966), Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan (1968), Talash (1969) and Ganwaar (1970). He received the Filmfare Nomination for Best Actor for Dil Ek Mandir (1963), Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964), Arzoo (1965), and as Best Supporting Actor for Sangam (1964).
From 1972 onwards, he faced competition from Rajesh Khanna and many of his films were flops. He then switched to character roles in the late 1970s and 1980s. He was offered a role in the film Saajan Bina Suhaagan opposite Nutan in 1978 which was a success. He also starred in a number of Punjabi films like Teri Meri Ek Jindari. His brother Naresh Kumar was also a director and directed him in the 1975 film Do Jasoos.
In 1981, Rajendra introduced his son Kumar Gaurav in the film Love Story which he produced and also starred in. The film was declared a blockbuster. Rajendra produced a few other films starring his son but none matched the success of Love Story with the exception of the 1986 film Naam, which featured his son starring alongside Sanjay Dutt. His last production was the 1993 film Phool which also didn't do well. In 1995 he acted in the television serial Andaz which was his last acting role.
Kumar acted with Sunil Dutt and Nargis in the film Mother India (1957) where Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar played natural sons of Nargis's character. He had a special relationship with Dutt and used to actively participate in campaigning for him, whenever the latter used to contest for elections. Dutt quoted as having said that "Even though Rajendra Kumar did not win any award throughout his career, he was one of the most genuine human beings I have ever encountered. When I was struggling with the troubles related to the arrest of my son Sanjay Dutt and my house was repeatedly being searched by means of numerous police raids, Rajendra Kumar was the one who came to my rescue by staying at my house and ensuring that raids were conducted using due procedures, false evidences were not planted in the house and valuables were not stolen."[This quote needs a citation] Kumar was best friends with Raj Kapoor, so much so that his son Kumar Gaurav was engaged to the latter's daughter, Reema. As fate would have it, this friendship could not last long after their children broke the engagement and Kumar Gaurav got married to Sunil Dutt and Nargis's daughter Namrata.
He attained a Ph.D. and had a title of 'Doctor' prefixed to his name.
For the premier of his film Vachan, he was asked if he wanted any seats for his relatives or friends, and thinking that it would be complimentary, he answered ten. After some days when he went to get his fees from the producer's accountant, he was given a lesser amount and when he asked why he was told that the money was deducted for the seats he took for his relatives and friends. He took this lesson as a principle of production and when he produced Naam, he deducted some amount from Amrita Singh's fees for the long calls she had made from Hong Kong to India.
Known to refuse taking any medication, he succumbed to cancer on 12 July 1999, just a day after his son's 39th birthday, and just 8 days before his 70th birthday.
Rajendra Kumar was nominated for Best Actor award three times.[clarification needed]
Rajendra Kumar was nominated for 3 Filmfare Awards. Once as Best Supporting Actor and remaining as Best Actor. He nominated thrice as Best Actor and once as Best Supporting Actor, as shown below.
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