Ashok Kumar

Posted: October 13, 2019 in Ashok Kumar

In my childhood days, I felt that an actor who indulged in theatrics and screamed endlessly on the screen were great actors. A few years later, I saw actors like Amol Palekar, Farooque Sheikh and Rakesh Roshan in characters that brought our everyday normal life to the fore. In some of these films, I found an actor playing a supporting role – as a lovable father-in-law kept under suppression by a domineering wife in KHUBSUROOT or a zany ex-colonel adviser to our hero in CHOTI SI BAAT. I am sure you have guessed by now whom I am talking about – the lovable ‘Dadamoni’ viz , Ashok Kumar who straddled several decades of Hindi cinema. His birthday falls on October 13, which he had stopped celebrating himself because his younger brother, the famous singer Kishore Kumar, died on this day.
I haven’t seen much of his earlier works which earned him great fame. The films I have watched which gave him an ability to showcase his talent were those by Hrishikesh Mukherjee (HM) and Basu Chaterjee (BC) and a few others. He gave a stunning performance in a central role in HM’s ASHIRWAD and in a supporting role in HM’s Mili as a worried father saddled with the terminal illness of his daughter. In BC’s Shaukeen he plays one of the three elderly characters out on a hunt for dalliances with the opposite sex for fun. In BC’s Khatta Meetha as well, Ashok Kumar had a pivotal character.
Most of us possibly can’t visualize Dadamoni in angry roles, but just rewind to Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and you will find that in a particular sequence, he unleashes a ‘box’ to quieten a character in that film.
I have seen him in a few Bengali films as well, notable among them being Tapan Sinha’s Hatey Baazarey where he plays a conscientious doc. Even in the film Hospital he played a doc. in love with leading lady Suchitra Sen.In Anand Ashram he played the character of an orthodox father of Uttam Kumar.
I read somewhere that Mrinal Sen was contemplating casting him initially in the character of the bureaucrat in the iconic film Bhuvan Shome but the role finally went to Utpal Dutt.

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