Title: Deedara aka Dara Singh; Author: Seema Sonik Alimchand; Publisher: Westland; Pages: 262; Price: Rs 499
It was a tale that wouldn’t seem amiss in Bollywood. A boy is pulled out of school and put to work on his family’s farmlands, married off at a young age, gets frustrated at the bickering between wife and mother and leaves home for foreign climes to make his career. In a few short years, he is a celebrity sportsman, and a popular film star.
Ring any bells? This happens to be the life of Deedar Singh Randhawa, of village Dharmuchak in Amritsar district, or Dara Singh as we know him.
Capable of tossing villains around without breaking into a sweat, stop airplanes with his bare hands, and chase criminals to the moon (in his reel career), and once lift up Raj Kapoor in his trademark “aeroplane” spin move as cameras clicked, his very name, was for generations of Indians, synonymous with sheer strength and masculinity.
But Dara Singh’s journey from a farmhand to an Indian cultural icon — especially when he went on to portray two of the most famous Indian mythological heroes (Hanuman and Bhima) — was no means smooth or even assured. And it is this saga of raw determination, unflinching commitment and a true champion’s trademark grit that Seema Sonik Alimchand tells here.