Ashok Kumar (13 October 1911 – 10 December 2001), born Kumudlal Ganguly in Bhagalpur, Bengal attained iconic status in Indian cinema.
The Government of India honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1988 and the Padma Bhushan in 1998 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.
Ashok Kumar who was respectfully called ‘Dadamoni’, started his carrer with Bombay Talkies production ‘Jeevan Naiya’ in 1936. Later, Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar did a string of films like Izzat (1937), Savitri (1937) and Nirmala (1938). He acquitted himself creditably and came away with several hits including most famously Main Ban ka Panchhi. He acted in fewer films in the 1980s and 1990s and occasionally appeared on television, most famously anchoring the first Indian soap opera Hum Log and appearing as the title character in the unforgettable Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Ashok Kumar’s last film role was in Aankhon Mein Tum Ho in 1997. Besides acting, he was an avid painter and a practitioner of homeopathy. Altogether, he starred in over 275 films and has done more than 30 Bengali dramas.