One of the most loved actors of his times Raaj Kumar has worked in various major hit bollywood movies. He was born as Kulbhushan Nath Pandit. Before he became an actor, he was an IAS Sub-inspector in the Mumbai Police in the late 1940s. He once went to watch a film at Metro cinema. There, veteran filmmaker Sohrab Modi saw him and offered him a film. He refused the offer. Raaj Kumar turned to acting with the 1952 film Rangeeli.
Raaj Kumar and Dilip Kumar fight
One of the other popular actor at that time Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar were enemies for 36 years. As Dilip vowed never to work with Raaj after the latter slapped him too hard while shooting for a scene in Ramanand Sagar's 1959 comedy-drama Paigham. Though the scene required Raaj to slap Dilip on the face, it was such a hard slap that irked Dilip. After the incident they vowed to never work together until Subhash Ghai brought them together for the 1991 film Saudagar.
Subash Ghai once in an interview said, “When I completed the script of Saudagar and was about to go to Dilip Ji to narrate it, my writer told me, ‘Do you know Dilip and Raaj are enemies for the past 36 years?’ I got scared. But I thought let’s try at least. When he agreed to do the film, I told him Raaj is his co-actor and ran away from his house, without giving him a chance to react. I didn’t go to meet for the next 5-6 days.”
Subhash Ghai later went to Raaj Kumar to narrate the script. He told him, “Since I am not able to cast any big name, I am thinking of taking Dilip Kumar.” A few moments later, Raaj, to Ghai’s surprise, responded by saying, “Jaani, iss duniya mein hum apne baad kissi ko actor maante hain to vo hai Dilip Kumar. This role suits him.”
Dilip Kumar had worked in various like Shararat (1959) with Kishore Kumar, Paigham (1959), Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi (1960), Gharana (1961), Dil Ek Mandir (1963), Waqt (1965), Hamraaz (1967), Neel Kamal (1968), Pakeezah (1972), Lal Patthar (1971), Heer Ranjha (1971), and Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973). He reached the peak of his career in the mid 1960s when he picked up Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Awards for Dil Ek Mandir and Waqt.
Due to Raaj Kumar many years of smoking, Raaj Kumar started suffering from a throat disease in the early 1990s which reduced his signature trademark voice to a whisper and caused his health to decline. His last film appearance was in God and Gun (1995) before his death at the age of 69 in July 1996.