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Be it, 'Jaani, yeh chaku hain, lag jaaye toh khoon nikal jaata hain' or 'Aapke paon dekhe, bahut haseen hai, inhe zameen par mat utaariega, mailay ho jayenge', Raaj Kumar's iconic dialogues still are alive in our memories despite the man being not amongst us anymore.
Born as Kulbhushan Pandit, the actor was a police officer in the late Forties at Mahim police station in uptown Bombay, but later quit the service following his alleged involvement in a murder case. Soon, he changed his name to Raaj Kumar and made his screen debut in 1950 in a film called Neeli. After two lesser known films, he rose to fame with 'Mother India'. His popularity later skyrocketed with 'Pakeezah'. Raaj Kumar went on to star in popular films like Waqt, Haqeeqat, Saudagar, Tirangaa amongst the others.
On Raaj Kumar's 92nd birth anniversary today, we take a walk down the memory lane and remember this man known for his screen magnetism-
Raaj Kumar Was Known For His Eccentric Behaviour
In a Stardust magazine interview when the actor asked about it, he replied, "I believe in things I do, I do things I believe in." Of course, the man had his own sense of humor. It is said that Raaj Kumar once chose a crib for a friend's birthday gift!
They Don't Make Stars Like Him Anymore
His son Puru Raaj Kumar recalled in an interview, "Dad did have a wicked sense of humour. But no ill-intent. My father may have been bizarre but he was never boring. They don't make stars like him anymore."
Romantic At Heart
Puru further said, "Dad was a romantic. He sought romance even in the smallest things - like driving in his jeep with mom to have paan at Peddar Road. They also enjoyed watching TV or reading a book together. They'd debate on even what to make for lunch. And when she'd cook something, she'd wait for him to compliment. But he'd be busy eating. Then hours later, looking into nothingness, he'd say, ‘What you prepared today was delicious'."
'I Don't Do Fashion, I Am Fashion'
"Dad was interested in fashion but he wasn't a fashion victim. He liked wearing kurta pyjama, shirts and trousers and khadau (wooden sandals). He imbibed a lot from his trips to Switzerland and London and picked up stuff from there. There would be fabric brought home for curtains. And a week later, he'd be walking around in a shirt made of that material. That was him."
After a tiring battle with throat cancer, Raaj Kumar passed away on 3rd July 1996. Once when director Subhash Ghai paid the ailing actor a visit, Raaj Kumar told, "Raaj Kumar ko bimaari hogi toh badi hogi na, koi zukaam se thodi na marega Raaj Kumar."