Gulzar first spotted him; later he cast him in the roles of older men in Koshish (1973), Aandhi (1975) and Mausam (1975) He never minded playing small roles or playing older roles. He played older roles and always cared about the scope of the roles.Sanjeev Kumar was an actor for all seasons. Be it comedy or tragedy, he could do it effortlessly. Sanjeev Kumar was known for his iconic roles in the films like Sholay, Trishul, Shikar, Pati Patni Aur Woh etc
Sanjeev Kumar was nominated for 14 Filmfare Awards, thrice as Best Supporting Actor and the remaining as Best Actor. He won the awards twice as Best Actor and once as Best Supporting Actor.He got 2 National Awards from the Govt.of India.
He won the BFJA Awards for Best Actor (Hindi) for his exemplary portrayal of a deaf and mute person in Koshish, in which the female lead was played by Jaya Bhaduri, who acted as his deaf and mute wife and was herself nominated for Best Actor award by Filmfare for the same role.
Some of his important films are Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Manchali (1973) Aap Ki Kasam (1974), Aandhi (1975), Mausam (1975). Swarg Narak (1978) Biwi O Biwi (1981),Pati, Patni Aur Woh, Angoor (1982),Naya Din Naya Raat and Hero (1983).
His role as Mirza Sajjad Ali, a chess-obsessed Lucknowi (citizen of Lucknow), in Satyajit Ray's classic Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) exemplified that aspect. Perhaps his best remembered roles were in the blockbuster films Sholay (1975) and Trishul (1978). His portrayal of the character Thakur, from Sholay, released in August 1975 was one of his stellar performances. In Naya Din Nayi Raat (1974) he played Nine Roles ,Beside hindi films he has done many regional films in different languages including Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Sindhi and his mother tongue Gujarati.
Sanjeev Kumar lived life rough and had a strange premonition that he would die before he was 50, as no male member in his family had lived beyond 50. He was barely 46 when he died on November 6, 1985.