Though Singh began his career as a professional wrestler and remained the undisputed champion in the ring, it was his eventual move to cinema that made him unforgettable.
He was arguably India’s first action star, thanks to his overwhelming physique and roles in several Hindi as well as Punjabi films such as 'King Kong', 'Faulad', 'Watan Se Door', 'Daada', 'Rustom-e-Baghdad', 'Sher Dil', 'Sikandar-e-Azam', 'Raaka' and 'Dharam Karam'. He also appeared in classics like 'Anand' and 'Mera Naam Joker'.
But it was his impeccable portrayal of Hanuman in the television series 'Ramayan' that remains etched in the minds of a generation that grew up watching Doordarshan. His last appearance in a Bollywood film was for 'Jab We Met' where he played Kareena Kapoor’s grandfather. He also served as the nominated member of Rajya Sabha from 2003 till 2009.
Known for his generous nature, tributes started pouring from every nook and corner of the film industry who had the good fortune to know and work with him. Even the social media was abuzz with farewells.
He is survived by his second wife and six children. The news of his death was announced by his son, actor Vindu Dara Singh, and his last rites will be performed today afternoon at Vile Parle.
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Photos: Deepika Padukone, Sushmita Sen with daughters at Mumbai airport