Dara Singh was born on 19 November 1928 in the village of Dharmuchak, which was then a part of British Punjab and is now in the Amritsar district of the Majha region of Punjab. He went to Singapore in 1947, where he worked in a drum manufacturing mill and started his wrestling training under Harnam Singh in the Great World Stadium.He was an Indian professional wrestler, actor and politician. He started acting in 1952 and was the first sportsman to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) of India. He worked as Hindi and Punjabi film producer, director and writer, and he acted in films and television.He is known for his role of Hanuman in film Bajrangi(1976) and in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan.
Here are 10 Amazing facts You don’t know about him.
1. Born on November 19 , 1928 in Dharmuchak village in Amritsar, Punjab, Dara Singh had bigger body measurements than most Indian wrestlers at that time. He was 6ft 2 inches tall with a 53-inch chest. As a child, Dara Singh had a huge physique and was thus encouraged to study pehelwani (wrestling).
2. Due to his huge physical stature, Dara Singh was encouraged to take up wrestling at a very young age. He started his wrestling career by competing in amateur fights at fairs and markets. He even wrestled on invitation of Kings and during melas.
3. As a professional wrestler, Dara Singh toured many far-east countries. He went to Singapore in 1947, where he became the Champion of Malaysia by defeating Tarlok Singh.
4. He became the Indian Wrestling Champion in 1954, at the age of 26. He earned laurels and honour from all corners of the country with his wrestling skills.
5. In 1959, Dara Singh became the Commonwealth Champion by defeating big names in the wrestling world like King Kong, George Gordienko, John Desilva and others.
6. In 1968, he became the World Champion by defeating America’s Lou Thesz.
7. In 1996, he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. He has received many awards and titles including Rustam-E-Hind and Rustam-E-Punjab.
8. He announced his retirement as a wrestler at a tournament held in Delhi in 1983. The event was inaugurated by Rajiv Gandhi and the winner’s title was presented by the then President Giani Zail Singh. Dara Singh was also the first sportsperson to be nominated in the Rajya Sabha . He served the role from 2003 to 2009.
9. After stepping into the film industry, Dara Singh became the Action King of Bollywood. Some of his notable movies include – Watan Se Door, Daada, Rustom-E-Baghdad, Sher Dil, Sikandar-E-Azam and Raaka. . Dara Singh gave Mumtaz her first big break as a female lead in Bollywood. They have done 16 movies together. He was also popularly known as the actor who played the role of Hanuman in the TV serial Ramayan.
10. He also owns the prestigious Dara Studio in Mohali, which is a mini-city in itself. It is a fully equipped studio with camera, stands, trolleys etc. all available under one roof.