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The first superstar of Indian cinema had a very ordinary name, Kumudlal Kanjilal Ganguly, when he came to Mumbai wanting to be a director. He was suddenly brought to the forefront by brother-in-law, S. Mukherjee, when the male lead of Jeevan Naiyya (1936), Najmul Hasan, was dropped after a scandalous elopement with Devika Rani, the wife of producer Himanshu Rai.
Ashok Kumar worked in close to 300 films in Hindi cinema. The most memorable ones are from his later years when he played spirited grey-haired characters. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Aashirwad, Victoria No. 203 and Khubsoorat are fresh in our memory, but seldom do people remember such gems like Achhyut Kanya (1936), Kismet (1943), Humayun (1944), Naaz (1954), Talaash (1957), Ek Saal (1957) and Savera (1958).