Sanjeev Kumar was the only actor from his era who wouldn’t shy away from playing character decades older than his age. When most actors would opt for younger characters on-screen, Kumar had no qualms in even playing a grandfather and father. The actor once talked about why he has no issues in playing old man on-screen, and his response was quite shocking and eerie at the same time.
Hanif Zaveri, the author of “An Actor’s Actor: The Authorised Biography of Sanjeev Kumar,” revealed an eerily prescient conversation between Kumar and Tabassum. The actress asked him why he readily accepted the roles of older men when he was still young, to which he replied in jest, “I’m not going to turn old, as I will not live beyond 50, much like the men in my family. So, I might as well experience old age on screen.” The actor’s prophecy or prediction turned out to be true as he passed away in 1985 from a heart attack. He was 47 at that time.
Also, what Kumar had mentioned about men in his family dying before turning 50 was also true. As Zaveri stated that Kumar was not afraid of death and added, “For the record, his grandfather, Shivalal Jariwala, his father Jethalal Jariwala, his brother Kishore Jariwala, his younger brother Nikul Jariwala…all died before reaching 50.”
Unbelievably, the cause of death for all of them including Kumar was the same- a heart attack.
Sanjeev Kumar’s career
The actor’s portrayal of Thakur Baldev Singh in the iconic film Sholay (1975) remains etched in the memories of Indian cinema enthusiasts. His double role in the film Angoor (1982) was listed among the 25 best acting performances of Indian cinema by Forbes India on the occasion of celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema. Kumar also delivered memorable performances in films like Dastak, Koshish, Arjun Pandit, Trishul, and Hero.