Wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh, known for his portrayal of ‘Hanuman’ in the television serial ‘Ramayan,’ passed away at his Mumbai residence on Thursday morning. He was 83.
Mr. Singh had suffered severe brain damage after he had cardiac arrest. Late on Wednesday night, he was taken to his Juhu home from the hospital after the doctors said the chances of his recovery were bleak.
“What can I say, he passed away at 7.30 a.m.,” the veteran actor’s son Vindu Dara Singh said. Mr. Singh was cremated in the afternoon.
“We wanted that when his end came, he should go in style and that is what happened. If a person suffers and dies, you feel sad. But, he passed away with a smile on his face. So, there is nothing to cry about,” Vindu told reporters on the cremation grounds.
He recalled his father’s last moments. “Last night, before he passed away, I asked him, ‘Daddy, do you want to go to the hospital?’ He nodded in the negative. Then I offered him an almond and a cashew. And then he said, ‘How about a drink?’ So I fixed him a Scotch. He had not had alcohol in many days. If he was feeling pain during his treatment, he never let us know it. The hospital was honest to us about daddy’s condition. When they told us there was no chance, we thought why keep him at the hospital?” the actor’s son said.
Film and television personalities visited Mr. Singh’s house to pay their respects. Among them were actors Abhishek Bachchan, Tabu, Manoj Kumar, Rajpal Yadav, Rishi Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Ranjeet and music composer Anu Malik. Deepika Chikhalia, who essayed the role of ‘Sita’ in ‘Ramayan,’ also visited the actor’s residence.
“Mr. Singh’s demise is a great loss to the industry. He was a humble person,” Manoj Kumar said. Salman Khan called Mr. Singh “a great man.”
Television actor Feroz Khan, who played ‘Arjun’ in the TV serial ‘Mahabharat,’ recalled Mr. Singh’s generous nature. “Once a senior actor took my make-up room and I was left without one. But Dara Singh offered to share his room with me. He was a perfect gentleman.”
Puneet Issar, famous for his role of ‘Duryodhana’ in ‘Mahabharat,’ said he grew up idolising Mr. Singh.
“He was an achiever, but a simple person at heart,” actor Raza Murad said.
Mumbai Congress chief Kripa Shankar Singh, who came for the funeral, said he was conveying condolences on behalf of party chief Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Governor K. Sankaranarayanan said, “Shri Dara Singh was India’s most loved wrestler…[His] depiction of Lord Hanuman in the television serial ‘Ramayana’ endeared him to the entire country.”
Mr. Singh is survived by his wife, sons Vindu and Amrik and daughters Kamal, Lovely and Deepa.