Being the greatest fan of Dilip Kumar, Harikrishna Giri Goswami aka Manoj Kumar decided to name himself after dilip`s character in the film Shabnam(1949).

During his struggling days Kumar worked as a ghost writer with different studios as was paid Rs 11 per scene.

Manoj Kumar made his debut as a sensitive lover boy and was also a regular in the murder mysteries of the black and white era. After the film shaheed in 1965 which was based on the life of Bhagat Singh, he became the poster boy of spirit of nationalism.  After the Indo- Pakistan war Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri asked him to create a film on the slogan ‘Jai jawan , jai kisan’. Kumar`s directorial debut Upkar (1967) where he portrayed as a soldier and a farmer won him first Filmfare Best Director Award. After Raj Kapoor , manoj Kumar was the actor for whom Mukesh sang consistently.

Bharat Kumar is always remembered for his films Hariyali aur raasta, Who kaun thi?, Himalaya ki god mein, Do badan, Upkar, Patthar ke sanam, Neel kamal, Purab aur paschim, Roti Kapda aur Makan and Kranti.

Kranti was the last successful film that he had produced and directed and casted Dilip Kumar in his film. The duo had worked together earlier in ‘Aadmi’.

After Kranti, Kumar`s career saw a downfall as all his films failed in the box office. His son tried to revive the patriotic theme and as directed by Kumar in the year 1999, film ‘Jai hind’ was a flop.

Like other Bollywood stars Manoj Kumar entered the arena of politics following his retirement. Before 2004 general elections in India, it was announced that he had officially joined the ranks of the Shiv Sena.

Manoj Kumar`s Greatest Hits

Manoj Kumar-starrer 'Shaheed'(1965) was based on Bhagat Singh's life. The film was directed by S Ram Sharma and produced by Kewal Kashyap and bagged the award for Best Feature Film in Hindi at the 13th National Film Awards. His image as the patriotic hero began with this film.

‘Hariyali Aur Rasta' (1962) produced and directed by Vikram Bhatt, the film had Manoj Kumar and Mala Sinha playing the lead roles. Shot extensively in Darjeeling, the film was the fourth highest grosser of the year.

'Woh Kaun Thi?' (1964) directed by Raj Khosla was declared a hit at the box office.  The film was also remade into Tamil as 'Yaar Nee' by Sathyam (1966) with Jaishankar and J Jayalalithaa.

'Purab Aur Paschim’ (1967) directed and produced by Manoj Kumar, was the second film, wherein the actor was featured as Bharat. This film was his fourth project on patriotism.

'Roti Kapda Aur Makaan' (1974) revolved around the basic necessities of life. Being Manoj's popular film, this highest grosser of 1974 also helped Amitabh Bachchan solidify his position in Bollywood.

In 'Upkar'(1967) director-actor Manoj Kumar garnered popularity as Bharat. The film was made because Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had encouraged him to make another based on the Jai Jawaan, Jai Kissan slogan.He become an authority on screen patriotism with this film.

Film 'Dus Numbri'(1976) produced and directed by Madan Mohla, was one of the top films of 1976. The film's success was such that it was remade into the Telugu film 'KD No. 1' (1978) featuring NT Rama Rao and Jayasudha.

The film 'Kranti'(1981) may have marked the return of Dilip Kumar to films after a five-year-long break, but Manoj Kumar won plaudits for his role.

Here wishing the true patriot Happy Birthday!