Manoj Kumar who is also known as Mr. Bharat is one of the best actors, directors, and producers. Manoj Kumar is now 84 years old and facing some health issues. Manoj idolized Dilip Kumar from his childhood and wanted to share the screen with him.
Manoj Kumar Early Life
Manoj Kumar was born as Harikishan Goswami on 24 July 1937 in Abottabad (now in Pakistan). His parents Krishna Kumari Goswami and Harivansh Goswami gave him his birthname by combining their names (Hari from father and Kishan from mother).
Later his family moved to Lahore, and after partition, his family migrated to India. His family settled in Delhi’s refuge colony Kingsway Camp, Hudson line. His father later became president of the refugee camp.
While his extended family was migrating from Pakistan, his uncle was killed.
Manoj was the eldest son of his parents and had a sister after him. He had a younger brother who is almost 10 years younger than him but sadly he died when he was almost two months.
He also has a half-brother.
Harikishan was a good player of Hockey and Cricket in his college days. He was the captain of the college Hockey team.
The first film he watched was “Jugnu” released in 1947, Dilip Kumar and Noor Jehan were in the lead roles.
At the age of 11, he watched Dilip Kumar’s ‘Shabnam’ and he was so impressed with Dilip Kumar’s role that he decided to do movies when he grows. Dilip Kumar’s character name was in the movie was Manoj and he decided to name himself Manoj Kumar when he joins the film industry.
In 1956 Manoj Kumar came to Bombay to start his career in Hindi cinema. After some struggle, he got a small role in ‘Fashion’ released in 1957.
His major break came in 1961 when he was cast in ‘Kanch Ki Gudiya’ in the lead role. He tasted his first success with Vijay Bhat’s ‘Hariyali Aur Rasta’ released in 1962.
After this film, Manoj Kumar’s career as a lead actor was moving up and he gave many hits. The 1964 film ‘Woh Kaun Thi’ proved to be a big hit film of his career.
Manoj Kumar was an actor as well as a very good writer. He had written small scenes in some of the earlier films. But he wrote the entire film for the first time in 1965’s Shaheed. This film was based on Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev.
He also played the character of Bhagat Singh in this film. He once met Bhagat Singh’s mother when he was making this film.
In an interview, Manoj Kumar has told that when he first met Bhagat Singh’s mother, Bhagat Singh’s younger brother introduced him to his mother by saying that he is the artist who is playing the role of Bhagat Singh on screen. So Bhagat Singh’s mother looked at Manoj Kumar from top to bottom and then from bottom to top. And then said that yes, he looks like my Bhagat.
In 1965 he gave another superhit movie named Gumnaam.
Meanwhile, in 1965, war broke out between India and Pakistan, and then the Prime Minister of India was Lal Bahadur Shastri. Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a slogan then which was ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’.
Once when Manoj Kumar met Lal Bahadur Shastri, Lal Bahadur Shastri asked Manoj Kumar to make a film about this slogan so that the feeling of patriotism would be awakened among the people of the country.
Then Manoj Kumar wrote the story of the film Upkar, which he himself directed and was also its main artist. This film was released in 1967 and for this Manoj Kumar was awarded many Filmfare and National Awards.
Upkar proved to be a hit and Manoj Kumar’s character in the film was named Bharat. After this film, people started addressing Manoj Kumar as Bharat Kumar.
After this, Manoj Kumar joined many such films which exposed the spirit of patriotism such as Purab Paschim, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, Kranti, etc.
In 1981, Manoj Kumar’s wish was also fulfilled which was in his mind since childhood. She worked with Dilip Kumar in the 1981 film Kranti. He himself was also the director of this film and the story of this was written by the pair of Salim Javed. Apart from him and Dilip Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Babi, Sarika, Nirupa Roy, and Prem Chopra were also part of this film.
After the film Kranti, he reduced working in the film to some extent, and his next film was released in 1987, ‘Kalyug Aur Ramayan’ in which he played the role of Lord Hanuman.
Manoj Kumar’s wife’s name is Shashi whom he met in Delhi itself during mathematics tuition. Gradually, the reconciliation turned into love and both of them started meeting outside Tushan as well. But once both had gone to see a film, after which Shashi had told Manoj Kumar that if they want to get married then only they will meet or else they will not. Then both of them got married and both have two sons named Kunal and Vishal.
Manoj Kumar’s younger brother Rajiv Goswami has also tried his hand in Hindi films. He was seen in the lead role in the 1983 film Painter Babu, which was produced by Manoj Kumar himself.
Through this film, Meenakshi Seshadri made her first step in the Hindi film world, who later became a great actress in Hindi film. The film failed miserably at the box office, due to which his brother Rajiv Goswami’s film career did not progress much.
In 1992, the Government of India honored Manoj Kumar with the Padma Shri. In 1968, Manoj Kumar has received the National Award for his film Upkar. At the same time, he has been awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2016.
Like many other Bollywood Celebrities, Manoj Kumar too joined politics. He joined Bharatiya Janata Party in 2004. But he did not remain that active in politics.
Manoj Kumar’s last film as an actor was Maidan-e-Jung. While his last film as a director was ‘Jai Hind’ in 1999. After this, he has stayed away from films due to health reasons.