Wrestling titan Dara Singh is dead

Wrestling titan Dara Singh is dead

Wrestling titan Dara Singh is dead

Dara Singh, 83, the iconic wrestler-turned actor, who also went on to don the mantle of a Rajya Sabha member, breathed his last at his residence here on Thursd­ay. He is survived by wife, three sons and three daughters.

“Dara Singh passed away at 7:30 am,” said Ram Narain, executive director of the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital. The wrestling legend, credited with infusing the western concept of professional entertainment in Indian wrestling, was admitted to the hospital following a cardio-respiratory failure.

Singh hardly showed any signs of recuperating and the doctors monitoring him, on Wednesday night, lost hope as the “damage to his brain was extensive.” He was subsequently discharged and brought to his Juhu residence. Thousands of fans and members of the film fraternity gathered at the Vile Parle crematorium in north west Mumbai to attend the last rites in the evening.

Born Dara Singh Randhawa on November 19, 1928, at Dharmuchowk in Amritsar,  he had his first brush with wrestling at the local “akharas.” An entranced Dara Singh soon found himself in the wrestling ring learning the ropes of the trade. He showed extreme dexterity and nimbleness in the ring and soon mastered the wrestling locks and throws.

By early 50s, he was flooded with invites from princely estates and landlords to attend wrestling championships. He successfully fought every opponent in the country and abroad including the iconic fighter King Kong. Dara Singh went on to win the world championship in free style wrestling, the title which he held till his retirement in the late 70s.

 In late 50s, silver screen beckoned Dara Singh. He was soon doing fantasy and action flicks. He replicated the magic in the small screen as well and won over the audience with his portrayal of Hanuman in the serial “Ramayana.” In 2003, the Bharatiya Janata Party nominated him for the Rajya Sabha.

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