Dara Singh Randhawa (19 November 1928 – 12 July 2012) was an Indian wrestler-turned-actor from Indian Punjab. He started acting in 1952 and was the first sportsman to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha by Bhartiya Janata Party during August 2003 – August 2009. He has also worked as Hindi and Punjabi film producer, director and writer in his career. He has also been an Indian television actor. Actor Akshay Kumar remarked him as "Hanuman for every kid and the God of all wrestlers, the original action hero who truly inspired me."
Dara Singh was born as Deedar Singh Randhawa in a Jat Sikh family to father Surat Singh and mother Balwant Kaur, on 19 November 1928 in Dharmuchak village (now falls under Amritsar district) in British Punjab.
As an adult he stood 6' 2" tall, weighed 132Kg and had a chest measurement of 54 inches. Due to his massive physique, he was encouraged to take up Pehlwani, an Indian style of wrestling, in the milked sand wrestling pits called akhada. He wrestled by invitation of the kings of Indian princely states and wrestled frequently in haats and melas (fairs and carnivals).
Singh went to Singapore in 1947 and became the Champion of Malaysia (Indian style wrestling) by defeating Tarlok Singh in Kuala Lumpur. He had toured almost all the countries of the far-east as a professional wrestler. Most of Dara Singh's fights were in field of professional wrestling,which are WWE kind of fights, and are not considerd real.
All India Jat Mahasabha Centenary Celebrations 2007, Seen in the image are Dharmendra, Dara Singh (sitting in center bearing turban) and Kamal Patel
His last tournament, where he announced his retirement, was held in Delhi in 1983, inaugrated by Rajiv Gandhi and the winning trophy was presented by Giani Zail Singh. In 1996 he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.
He started his career as an actor in 1952 with Sangdil. He is known as the first Action King of Bollywood and was successful as an action hero in the 1960-69 in Hindi Films and in Punjabi films from 1970-82. He was the first Indian hero who started the trend of hero having a eight pack abs and taking the shirt off. He appeared in 121 Hindi feature films and in 21 Punjabi films. He made guest appearances in one Telugu and one Malayalam film. Of the 144 films he did, 58 had him play the main lead. In 70's and 80's, his Punjabi films with him in the lead were more successful and in the 70's in Hindi films, he achieved success more in mythological hits like Tulsi Vivah, Har Har Mahadev, Bajrangbali, Bhakti Mein Shakti. He took up supporting roles in Hindi Films from 1980's till 2012. He turned a producer, director and writer when he made Nanak Dukhiya Sub Sansar in 1970. He also did 6 TV serials. One of his notable friends was the actress Mumtaz with whom he had performed in 16 Hindi films and had 10 of them as box office hits. He tasted commercial success as a hero from the film King Kong in 1962. His commercially successful Hindi films in sixties were Awara Abdulla , The Thief of Baghdad, Aay Toofan, Dara Singh The Ironman, Rustom-E-Baghdad and with Mumtaz films like Faulad, Veer Bhimsen, Samson , Hercules, Tarzan Comes to Delhi, Sikandar E Azam, Rustom-E-Hind, Raaka, Boxer, Daku Mangal Singh were successful. In each film opposite Mumtaz, his remuneration was 4.5 lakh per film and Mumtaz earned 2.5 lakh for each film they did together. He then went on to do television in the late 1980s, where he played the role of Hanuman in the television adaptation of the Hindu epic Ramayan. He was liked more in the role of 'Bheem Sen' in films like 'Veer Bheem Sen' and 'Ramayan' and in role of 'Hanuman' both in films and TV serial. He worked with Prathviraj Kapoor' in 'Sikander-e-Aazam', 'Khakaan', 'Lootera', 'Daku Mangalsingh' and 'Insaaf'. He also played the 'Alexender' with great comfort in 'Sikander-e-Aazam'. He worked in some television serial shows, including Had Kar Di which was aired on Zee TV and Kyaa Hoga Nimmo Kaa for Starone. His last memorable Hindi movie was Jab We Met and last Punjabi movie released before his illness was Dil Apna Punjabi. He acted in National Award winning film Main Maa Punjab Dee (Director Balwant Singh Dullat). He directed 7 Punjabi films of which Sawa Lakh Se Ek Ladaun,Nanak Dukhiya Sub Sansar, Dhyanu Bhagat, Rab Dian Rakhan were commercial hits, and directed two films in Hindi, Bhakti Mein Shakti and Rustom (1982). His directorial venture Bhakti Mein Shakti, a mythological film, completed a record run at Delhi's Imperial Cinema in 1978. He produced 8 films and wrote the story for 7 films.