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July 12, 1999
Rajendra Kumar passes away
Well-known yesteryear film star Rajendra Kumar passed away this morning after brief illness.
He was 69. He is survived by wife Shukla, actor son Kumar Gaurav and two daughters Dimple and Kajal.
The end came at Breach Candy hospital in south Bombay at 0330 hours. He was battling respiratory problems, family sources said.
Known for his hits in the sixties and seventies, Kumar was popularly called 'Jubilee Star'.
The actor had several films to his credit including Raj Kapoor's Sangam (1964). He also produced a musical super hit Love Story and launched Kumar Gaurav in the filmdom.
He tilled the same emotional soil as thespian Dilip Kumar but, at one point of time, his legions of fans seemed to overwhelm even that of the original 'Tragedy King'.
Using every generic gimmick -- from quivering lips to flailing arms -- he won the hearts of his audience.
Rajendra Kumar had to undertake a long, arduous trek to reach the peak.
A Punjabi by birth he had to suffer the hardships of the Partition. Arriving in Bombay in the late forties, with a letter of introduction to lyricist Rajendra Kishan in his pocket, young Rajendra found the going hard and even worked as an uncredited extra in film Mela (1948).
His first major role came seven long years later in Vachan (1955).
From playing Geeta Bali's brother in Vachan to the small role of a good son in Mother India (1957), to his hit as a hero in Goonj Uthi Shehnaii (1959), his success story is a vindication of the fact that whatever toll the Partition took, it could not claim the Indian spirit as its casualty.
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