He was absolutely fascinated by yesteryear stars Dilip Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Kamini Kaushal that he too wanted to be like them.
His real name was Harikishan Giri Goswami but he changed it to Manoj Kumar, the character played by Dilip Kumar in Shabnam.
From an uneventful start, Manoj Kumar gave a string of hits from the late 1950s before he changed tack with the patriotic hit film Shaheed. This was the turning point in his career as he started making more patriotic films so much so that he was fondly referred to as Mr Bharat.
Major Kumar was handsome and well-built and his acting ability was average. But due to his patriotic films, which he mostly directed too, he became an icon.
Here some of Manoj Kumar’s work which are worth watching.
Hariyali Aur Raasta (1962)
Cast: Manoj Kumar, Mala Sinha, Shashikala, Om Prakash
Director: Vijay Bhatt
Shankar (Manoj Kumar) falls in love with Shobhana (Mala Singh) but it turns into a love triangle. Manoj’s marriage was fixed in his childhood to Rita (Shashikala) and he has to honour it despite his love for Shobhana.
The marriage turns out to be ill-matched and he suffers along with Rita. Then Shobhana once again comes into his life to add to the complications. The film has was a major hit along with good songs and music.
Pathar ke Sanam (1967)
Cast: Manoj Kumar, Waheeda Rehman, Mumtaz, Pran
Director: Raja Nawathe
A complex plot focuses on love games which go out of control and puts the protagonists in a mess. The rich Meena (Mumtaz) lives with her Dad Thakur, and has her best friend Taruna (Waheeda Rehman) as her assistant. Complications arise when both of them pretend to love the manager of their estate Rajesh (Manoj Kumat)
Unfortunately both fall in love with Rajesh. The matter gets worse when Lala (Pran) reminds Taruna as per their childhood vow they were supposed to get married. Then Rajesh is beaten up badly and there are many twists and turns before matters are resolved.
Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)
Cast: Manoj Kumar, Sadhana, Helen, Prem Chopra, K N Singh
Director: Raj Khosla
Dr Anand (Manoj Kumar) is driving one rainy night when he comes across a woman Sandhya (Sadhana) who shows him the way and gets dropped off at a cemetery. The doctor is to come into some money from a dead relative but he must prove he is mentally stable.
But he encounters Sandhya again when he is called again to an old bungalow. This time she is dead. The mystery deepens when he gets married and finds that his wife is a duplicate of Sandhya. The complex climax ends with twins, rail accident, and twins.
Roti, Kapda Aur Makan (1974)
Cast: Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Moushumi Chatterjee, Prem Nath, Meena T, madan Puri
Director: Manoj Kumar
Bharat (Manoj Kumar) is living in poverty and has two brothers to look after. One of them Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) takes to crime but then joins the Army after he gets a talking to from Bharat. Despite being a graduate, Bharat is jobless which irritates his girlfriend Sheetal (Zeenat Aman).
Bharat tries to earn money by being a singer while Sheetal becomes secretary to a rich man Mohan (Shashi Kapoor) whom she eventually marries for wealth Bharat also rescues a poor girl Tulsi (Moushumi Chatterjee ) from rape and meets Harnam Singh (Prem Nath). Then he gets an offer to get into the world of crime. Will Bharat take it up?
Himalaya Ki God Mein (1965)
Cast: Manoj Kumar, Mala Sinha, Shashikala, Jayant, David
Director: Vijay Bhat
Dr Sunil Mehra (Manoj Kumar) is kidnapped by dacoits and left badly hurt in the Himalayas. Bu he is rescued by a village girl Phoolwa (Mala Sinha) and nursed back to health.
He goes away and then comes back to help the villagers.But he faces an uphill task as the villagers only trust only their local healers. He later falls in love with Phoolwa.