The Indian Bollywood actor, Sanjay Ashok Kumar, also known as Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguly, was born in 1911. He had two brothers, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar, who were both actors. He was among the first actors to diverge from the then popular theatrical Indian style of acting to the now common naturalistic method.
Ashok is adorably referred to as Dadamuni, which is an affectionate regard to an elder brother. He grew up in Bhagalpur and attended Presidency College, Calcutta, India. His career started accidentally in Mumbai with a role in Jeevan Naiya, when the lead character suddenly became ill. However, the project that made him famous came the following year in the film Achhut Kanya, in which he starred alongside Devika Rani. Sanjay also sang his own compositions in the movie.
The 1940’s to 1960’s were the glamour years of Ashok. He took a villain’s role in Kismet (1943), and went for a police officer’s role in the 1950’s. In the 1960’s, Ashok played roles as a parent, grandparent and a criminal. He gave a superb performance in the film Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, which also featured his brothers.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Ashok appeared in very few films and television roles. The movie he took part in last was Aankhon Mein Tum Ho.
Ashok won many awards during his lifetime including the Star Screen Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
Aside from being a great actor, Ashok was a skilful painter and also practiced homeopathy. When he died in Mumbai at the age of 90, he had starred in more than 275 movies.