Wildly remembered as the charming hero opposite guitar-strumming Zeenat Aman in the ever loved romantic track Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko, Vijay Arora shot to stardom with the 1973 film Yaadon Ki Baraat, which also incidentally remains one of his most popular roles till date. Another success came with the role of Meghnad in the acclaimed serial Ramayan. He went on to act in around 110 films and more than 500 television serial episodes.
Born on 27th December 1944 in Amritsar, Punjab he graduated with a gold medal from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune before making his entry into the film industry. Making his debut opposite Reena Roy in the 1972 film Zaroorat directed by B R Ishara he was subsequently cast in a series of films like Raakhi Aur Hathkadi (1972) opposite Asha Parekh and Ashok Kumar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Sabse Bada Sukh (1972), and Satyen Bose’s Mere Bhaiya (1972).
Vijay Arora’s major breakthrough came with Nasir Hussain’s Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973) in which he played the romantic lead opposite Zeenat Aman. A family melodrama revolving around the lives of three brothers, Shankar (played by Dharmendra), Vijay (Vijay Arora) and Ratan (played by Tariq Khan), the film was a huge success and Vijay was highly praised for his performance and good looks. The songs of the film Chura liya hai and Meri soni meri tamanna, both picturised on him became huge hits and remain audiences’ favourite till date.
In the next few years he starred opposite almost all the leading actresses of the era, Jaya Bhaduri and Waheeda Rehman in Phagun (1973) where both were cast as his wife and mother-in-law respectively, Tanuja in Insaaf (1973), Parveen Babi in 36 Ghante (1974), Shabana Azmi in Kadambri (1975), and Moushumi Chatterjee in Natak (1975). The films weren’t huge hits and he gradually started getting cast in supporting roles. His next hit came with the 1973 film Ek Muthi Asmaan opposite Radha Saluja.
He then went on to star as the supporting hero or the second lead in a series of films with Rajesh Khanna namely, Roti (1974), Nishaan (1983), Souten (1983), and Awam (1987). Consistently appreciated for his good looks he was compared to Rajesh Khanna and at a point of time even Khanna went on to claim that if anyone could fill his boots it would be Vijay Arora. Though, stardom didn’t last long for him as he was reduced to minor character roles towards the late 70s and 80s. Few of his other supporting roles were in Sargam (1979), in which he had a guest appearance, Bade Dil Wala (1983) directed by Bhappie Sonie starring Rishi Kapoor and Tina Munim, Jaan Tere Naam (1992) starring Ronit Roy and Farheen, and Indian Babu (2003), which was also his last film.
He revived his career with the role of Meghnad Indrajit, Raavan’s son in Ramanand Sagar’s hit television serial Ramayan. He then went on to act in Shyam Benegal’s serial Bharat Ek Khoj (1988) based on the 1946 novel Discovery of India written by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. He also went on to essay various roles in Ramanand Sagar’s Vikram Aur Betaal (1986).
On personal front, he married ex Miss India Dilber Debara with whom he had a son Farhad Vijay Arora. In the later years of his career he set up his company that produced ad and corporate films. He also made the serial Ek Taara Bola which was quite well received.
A brilliant actor, he could not revive himself after his initial success and was lost in periphery after sometime. He passed away on 2nd February 2007 after suffering from cancer for a while.