Dilip Kumar – An Actor Par Excellence

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Dilip Kumar – An Actor Par Excellence

Sukoon e dil ke liye kuch to ehtemaam karoon

Zara nazar jo miley phir unhein salaam karoon

Mujhe to hosh nahin aap mashwara dijiyey

Kahan se chedoon fasana kahan tamaam karoon”

Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan) , an actor par excellence, called the ‘Tragedy King ‘ or the ‘First Khan’ , is known to have brought method acting in Indian film industry. Dilip sahab as he is generally called, is an epitome of creativity. His powerful display of emotions on silver screen remains unmatched. 

His autobiographical work ‘ Substance and the Shadow ‘ is an interesting read. He speaks about the many facets of his life to Udayatara Nayar. The book is dedicated to his parents. Such was the force of his stardom that almost all the stalwarts of Indian film industry have spoken very high of him. Kamal Haasan, the great actor from southern India writes, ” I will confess unabashedly that some of the bricks of my house are Sivaji’s and Dilip Sahab’s. Everytime I have met Dilip sahab I have found his humility and warmth unchanged .” Dharmendra, another great Indian actor writes, ” From the most exalted admirer, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, to the lowest paid studio worker who waited to say salaam to him, his warm extension of his hands in greeting was the same. He never faked anything.” Such was the presence of Dilip sahab on his co- actors. 

Dilip sahab was born in Peshawar on 11 December, 1922. His father was a fruit merchant. He got his education at Barnes school, Deolali, Nasik. He is known to be fluent in Persian, Urdu, English, Pashto, Awadhi, Hindi, Punjabi and Marathi. His introductory speeches in various Urdu Mushairas are still the most sought after videos on YouTube. Influenced by his knowledge on diverse subjects, Devika Rani offered him a job at Bombay Talkies in 1943. Later on she offered him his first role in the movie ‘Jwar Bhata’ in 1944. Ashok Kumar and Raj Kapoor were great co – actors who asked him to be natural on screen. Dilip Kumar never let this learning go. Thereafter, Dilip sahab did many memorable roles in Andaaz (1949) Tarana (1951) Devdaas(1955) Madhumati (1958) Mughl e Azam (1960) and Ram aur Shyam (1967). In many movies he was the tragic hero so much so that he fell into depression. The doctors advised him rest. So, he left the Industry for around 5 years. Later on he did some great films like Kranti, Mashaal and Shakti. 

He had a tragic love life too. He loved Madhubala but after testifying against her in a court, he lost her. He had great chemistry with Vyjayantimala and Kamini Kaushal too. In 1966 he married Saira Bano and till date they are sharing and living a life that people are in awe of. That time many people were not sure if the marriage would be successful or not. Dilip sahab writes ,” our marriage was a surprise to all those who knew me. Naushad was the only one among my close friends who had the forthrightness to ask me if i wasn’t making a mistake .” The marriage has withstood all tests. 

Dilip Sahab has got the most number of filmfare awards. He got the Padma Bhushan in 1991, Dada saheb Falke award in 1994 and Padma Vibhushan in 2015. He was also conferred the Nishan e Imtiaz award by the Government of Pakistan. He is now beyond all these awards . He is greatly respected all over the world. 

Amitabh Bachchan, the great Indian actor writes, “The history of Indian cinema shall in my reckoning be ‘before Dilip Sahab’ and ‘after Dilip Sahab ‘, because of his impeccable presence. And to wind up this text let me quote one of the finest actress Shabana Azmi, she writes ” The long and short of it is simply this: if you desire legitimacy as an actor and as a human being, simply follow in the footsteps of Dilip Kumar. There is no other like him.”

K. Akhtar

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