Dadamoni aka Ashok Kumar was one of the most versatile and iconic actors of the Bollywood industry. The word Dadamoni literally means jewel brother, that’s who he really was. Kumudlal Kunjlal Ganguly, as his parents named him was born in a traditional Bengali family in Bhagalpur. He was a man with a magnetic aura and effervescent personality. Dadamoni, in his entire career that spanned for more than 70 years worked in about 275 films and was one of the most popular, best-loved, and longest-lasting stars of India’s “Bollywood” motion picture industry.
Completed his education in law from The Presidency College of the University of Calcutta, Kolkata, he never really was interested in law. He wanted to be a part of the cinema
And like its said, ‘Kisi cheez ko dil se chaho toh saari kayinaat tumhe usse milati hai’. His brother in law, Sashadhar Mukherjee was a senior at the ‘Bombay Talkies’ then and got Ashok Kumar to the city of dreams,' Bombay‘. He then started his career as a laboratory assistant at Bombay Studio
His acting career started in the year 1936 when a replacement for a lead in the film “Jeevan Naiya” was needed and Kumar was tapped for the role. Same year his next film “Achhut Kanya” made him a superstar. He got his screen name ‘Ashok Kumar’ then
His film Kismet(1943) where he played the role of a pickpocket who falls in love, was the 1st film ever in Bollywood that grossed at one crore rupees. The film ran in theatres for 3 years in Bombay and in Calcutta
His siblings, Kishor Kumar and Anoop Kumar were also well known actors. The three of them shared screen space in films “Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi”, “Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi” & “Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi”. Ashokji stopped celebrating his birthday after Kishor Kumar died in on Dadamoni’s birthday
Apart from acting, Ashokji also experimented other career options like singing, painting, producing films, anchoring for shows and also tried his hand as a practisioner of Homeopathy. Few of his famous songs are ‘Aashirwad’, ‘Rail gaadi Rail Gaadi Chhuk Chukk’, etc.
His natural style of acting made him to be effective and believable in a variety of characters that included both romantic leading men and roguish antiheroes. His last film 'Aankhon Mein Tum Ho’ came out in the year 1997
He was honoured with several awards for his performances. Filmfare for best actor for the films ‘Rakhi’(1962) and ‘Aashirwaad’(1969); Filmfare and Star Screen awards for Lifetime Achievement; National Film Awards for Best Actor for the film ‘Aashirwaad’ and finally he was honoured with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1988 and the Padma Bhushan in 1999 for his contributions to Indian cinema