Shyam Kumar gained fame in the B film circle for playing sinister villains in several fantasy and horror films of the 1950s-60s. Born as Syed Gul Hamid Ali in 1913 in a Pathan family, Kumar’s family had settled in Pune. A talented singer, he did some amount of playback singing in the initial phase of his career in the 1940s-early 50s but focused on acting after battling throat cancer. Kumar made his debut as the lead in Sukhi Jeevan (1942) which was a collaborative directorial venture for Master Bhagwan and action hero Harischandra Rao.
Apart from playing the antagonist, he also performed a few characters of authority such as a police officer or a clan chief in his films. Some of his noteworthy films are Neelofer (1957), Toofani Tarzan (1962), Rooplekha (1962), Shikari (1963), Tarzan and King Kong (1965), Sinbad Alibaba Aladin (1965), Woh Koi Aur Hoga (1967), Saat Sawal Hatim Tai (1971), and Ek Nannhi Munni Ladki Thi (1970).
He passed away on 22 April, 1980 at the age of 67. He was survived by his three sons and a daughter Zarina who appeared in a few films in 1980.
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