indian cinema heritage foundation


  • Real Name: Sardar Singh Randhawa
  • Born: 1933 (Amritsar, Punjab)
  • Died: 21 October, 2013
  • Primary Cinema: Hindi
  • Parents: Balwant Kaur and Surat Singh
  • Spouse: Malika
  • Children: Shaad Randhawa

Sardar Singh Randhawa, better known mononymously as Randhawa, was a professional wrestler and an actor. Younger brother of the well-known wrester-turned-actor Dara Singh, he is known for films such as Tarzan and King Kong (1965), Kurukshetramu (1977) and Johny Mera Naam (1970). He acted in approximately 60 films in the course of his career, mostly in negative roles. 

He was born Sardar Singh Randhawa in 1933 at Dharmuchakk, a village in Amritsar, Punjab to Balwant Kaur and Surat Singh. His good build and strong body saw him follow his older brother Dara Singh’s footsteps into wrestling. Trained by his brother, to his credit, at the time when Dara Singh became the world champion, Randhawa was the reigning Indian champion.

His early appearances on screen came in films such as Veer Bhimsen (1964) which starred Dara Singh and Mumtaz Askari, and Hercules (1964) in which he played a wrestler. He essayed the lead role in his next, the action-adventure-drama Teen Sardar (1965), starring as the muscle-man Sherdil, who is told by his mentor that he must avenge his father's death by overthrowing the oppressive and tyrannical Wazir of Husnabad, Suleiman. The film, directed by Radhakant, also featured Azaad Irani and Parveen Choudhary. He starred in the lead in many films thereafter, including Panch Ratan (1965), Son of Hatimtai (1965), Dilawar (1966), and Rustam Kaun (1966).

He essayed the role of Tarzan in the A Shamsheer directorial Tarzan and King Kong (1965), which also starred Mumtaz Askari and Bela Bose. The film told the tale of a jungle queen who captures the survivors of a plane crash, planning to sacrifice them to the goddess Bali. Tarzan intervenes and, in the process, falls in love with one of the stranded passengers.

Sangram (1965) brought him together with his brother Dara Singh, in this Babubhai Mistry directorial which revolved around two brothers, separated in childhood, who fight for the love of a princess. He played Prince Uday Singh, while Dara Singh essayed a character named Vanraj. The female lead was Geetanjali

Both brothers were to be seen onscreen together again in the Nanabhai Bhatt directorial Shankar Khan (1966). The action-sport film depicted Safdar Khan (Prithviraj Kapoor), who stays with a friend in Bombay, waiting for his pupil Sher-e-Hind Birju (Randhawa), to win the London World championship and return. However, he becomes furious to learn that Birju has thrown away the match after accepting a bribe and has returned to Bombay where he is living it up with a society girl Nita. Safdar Khan begins the search for another pupil, finds Shankar (Dara Singh), who not only wins the Sher-e-Hind title from Birju but also wins the London Championship, and also begins a romance with Safdar Khan’s friend’s daughter Asha (Savita). Matters reach a head, when an enraged Birju shoots at Shankar in the stadium… till all is well in the end. The wrestling (kushti) scenes in the film were a huge draw with the masses. 

Over the decades, he also essayed supporting roles in films such as Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) directed by Yash Chopra, the adventure fantasy Tulsi Vivah (1971), Vijay Anand’s Johny Mera Naam (1970), the Homi Wadi produced and directed Toofan Aur Bijlee (1975), Raakhi Aur Rifle (1976) directed by Radhakant, Kurukshetra (1977) in which he played Bhim, the Sunil Hingorani directed Ram-Avtar (1988), and the Mahesh Bhatt directorials Dastak (1996) and Duplicate (1998). 

On the personal front, he was married to popular actress Mumtaz’s sister Malika. They had a son Shaad Randhawa, who is also an actor, and a daughter named Shehnaz.

Sardar Singh Randhawa passed away on 21 October, 2013. On his demise, his nephew Vindoo Dara Singh said that his father (Dara Singh) and his uncle (Randhawa) symbolised the real-life Ram and Laxman – the ideal, devoted brothers.