Had Dara Singh been alive, he would have turned 90 today! Born as Dara Singh Randhawa in Dharmuchak village in Amritsar, Punjab, he was encouraged to take up pehelwani, an Indian style of wrestling, because of his physique. It is said that he had bigger body measurements than most Indian wrestlers at that time. He was 6 feet 2 inches tall with a 53-inch chest size.
Dara Singh kick-started his wrestling career at a very young age, where he would compete in amateur fights at fairs and markets. In 1947, he went to Singapore, where he was crowned the Champion of Malaysia when he defeated Tarlok Singh. At the age of 26, he became the National Wrestling Champion and by 1959, he became the Commonwealth Champion.
Dara Singh was conferred with various titles like 'Rustam-E-Hind' and 'Rustam-E-Punjab'.
The star wrestler worked in many Hindi and Punjabi films. Dara Singh began his acting career in 1952 with Sangdil. He was a stunt film actor for many years and played his first lead role in Babubhai Mistry's film King Kong (1962). Soon, he carved a niche for himself in films and television shows because of his muscular body.
Dara Singh starred in various mythological films like Balram Shri Krishna, Tulsi Vivah, Hari Darshan, Har Har Mahadev, Bajrangbali, etc. However, his most popular stint as an actor is Ramanand Sagar's epic Ramayana, where he essayed the role of Hanuman, and B.R Chopra's Mahabharat.
His last film as an actor was Shahid Kapoor-Kareena Kapoor Khan starrer Jab We Met. Dara Singh also helmed many films like Nanak Dukhiya Sub Sansar, Mera Bhakt, Mera Dharam, Bhagat Dhanna Jatt, Rustom amongst others.
Dara Singh ventured into politics in January 1998 and became the first sportsperson to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha - the upper house of the Parliament of India. He served in that role between 2003 and 2009.
He passed away on 12th July, 2012, after a massive heart attack and India lost its Iron man!