Vindu Dara Singh offers prayers at the cremation pyre of his father, Dara Singh, Thursday in Mumbai, India. | Rajanish Kakade~AP
Updated: August 14, 2012 6:34AM
MUMBAI, India — Bollywood action hero Dara Singh, best known for his TV portrayal of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, died Thursday at his Mumbai home, days after suffering a heart attack, his son, actor Vindu Dara Singh, said. He was 84.
Indian film stars and politicians issued messages of praise and condolences. The prime minister lamented the loss of a “self-educated son of the soil.” “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Dara Singh, who has been an inspiration and icon to many generations in our country,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.
Dara Singh was born in 1928 in the Punjabi district of Amritsar and spent his youth competing in professional freestyle wrestling tournaments. In the 1950s, he began working in Bollywood films and appeared in dozens in which he did his own stunts. The muscular actor is best known for his portrayal of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman in the 1986 Indian TV series “Ramayan.”
Mr. Singh also served in India’s upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, for the country’s Hindu nationalist opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, from 2003 to 2009.
Actor Shah Rukh Khan posted a message on Twitter: “Wrestlers r made of sweat, determination & a hard to find alloy called guts . . . most apt for Dara Singhji our very own Superman.”
Survivors include his wife, two other sons and three daughters. AP