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Ashok Kumar (October 13, 1911 - December 10, 2001) was an Indian actor. Born and brought up as Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguly in Bhagalpur, Bihar, Ashok Kumar stands apart as a cinema icon of the 20th century. He broke apart from the theatrical role playing prevalent then in the Indian Cinema and started a natural style of acting. He received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award from the Indian Government for his lifetime contribution in 1989. He also won two Filmfare awards as well a National award.
Reverringly called Dadamoni, he started his career, albeit accidentally, with the Bombay Talkies production Jeevan Naiya in 1936, though it was his subsequent venture with Devika Rani in Acchut Kanya in the same year that set him up for the big league. The film itself stands out as one of the heralding social dramas from the pre-independence Indian Cinema. It was the story of a Brahmin boy falling in love with a girl from lower caste, the so called untouchables in Indian society. It was a big hit and started the trend of socially committed films.
Some of his most remembered films include Kangan in 1939, Bandhan in 1940, Jhoola in 1941, Kismet in 1943, Mahal in 1949, Parineeta in 1953, Ek Hi Raasta in 1956, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and Howrah Bridge in 1958, Bandini and Gumrah in 1963, Mamta in 1966, Jewel Thief in 1967, Aashirwad in 1968, Pakeezah and Victoria No. 203 in 1972, Choti Si Baat in 1975, Khubsoorat in 1980 and Shaukeen in 1981.
He gave up active filming in early eighties, save for the sparse television appearances and a last role in Return Of The Jewel Thief in 1997.
He passed away at the age of 90 in Mumbai.