The Legend of Dilip Kumar

By: Salim Bokhari      Published: 06:22 PM, 7 Jul, 2021
The Legend of Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar (Yousuf Khan), the iconic personality of legendary actors of Bollywood who ruled the Indian film industry for well over 60 years breathed his last in a Mumbai hospital.

He left behind a heartbroken and devastated Saira Banu who remained loyal and had devoted her life to the service of her husband at the peak of her career. Dilip Kumar was laid to rest in Juhu Graveyard at Santa Cruz, Mumbai with full state honours.

Dr Jalil Parkar, the pulmonologist treating the Tragedy King at PD Hinduja Hospital informed media men of the passing away of the great actor.

Dilip’s departure has brought to an end the Golden Era of Bollywood movies. Dilip acted in more than 60 films and became the heartthrob of millions of fans within and outside India.

Dilip Kumar’s last film released in 1988 was Qila after which he retired as an actor. He was made several offers but he denied them saying that it is time for others to fill the gap.

Besides his film career, Dilip Kumar was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India's Parliament, from 2000 to 2006. He was nominated by the Indian National Congress to represent Maharashtra. He was also appointed Mayor of Mumbai.

From the film Jawar Bhatta to Amar and from Mughal-e-Azam to Ganga Jamna, the journey has been successful by any standard. According to the legendary film star, he met Devika Rani, the woman who had given him his big break in life. Devika’s first contribution to the actor was to give him a new name for the film industry. “After some debate, Devika Rani came up with three alternatives asking me to select one of them. The names were Jehangir, Vasudev, and Dilip Kumar and I picked up the last one. This is how I transformed from Yousuf Khan to Dilip Kumar”.

According to Dilip Kumar in the year 1948, the film Mela became a roaring commercial hit, followed by Shaheed with Kamini Kaushal which became a rage, and after that, there was no looking back.

Not many people know that one of the most successful Dilip Kumar films, Ganga Jamna was also directed by him. Dilip once said that Ganga Jamna has always been very closed to his heart.

During his career, he won several awards, and according to the Guinness Book of Records, Dilip was the recipient of a larger number of honours and awards than any other actor in the history of Bollywood’s film industry.

Dilip was never happy with ‘Tragedy King’, the title attached to his acting although it was a great reference to his unmatched acting in films including those he acted as a hero and those in which he was a character actor like Dunya, Mashal, and Shakti.

Actors like Amitabh Bachan, Shahrukh Khan, Manoj Kumar, and Rajindar Kumar declared Dilip Kumar as a role model. No actor in India could match Dilip’s acting like an alcoholic person for example in films Dagh and Devdas. Three films were made with the title Devdas but no one could match the one with Dilip Kumar as Hero.

Film Mughal-e-Azam could well be declared the best movie of the film world. Derived from Imtiaz Ali Taj’s drama ‘Anarkali, K. Asif made it a living character. Dilip played Prince Saleem's role which is termed as the best depiction of the royal style of life. In this film, according to Dilip, the best role was played by Prithvi Raj as Akbar the Great.

Shahrukh Khan once said: “No one could copy Dilip Sahib’s acting style and whoever tried to do so miserably failed and was an idiot like me”. It may be mentioned here that Dilip Kumar rejected lucrative offers of films but after going through the script, he refused to oblige those producers.

Dilip Kumar visited Pakistan in 1988 and passionately went to Peshawar, his native city. As he arrived at his ancestral house, he kissed the ground. Now the Pakistan Government is making concerted efforts to convert his house into a museum along with that of Raj Kapoor.

The Bollywood film industry has never been without scandals of the love life of prominent actors and actresses and Dilip Kumar’s romance with Madhubala, Kamini Kaushal, Vajenthimala, Nargis, and Waheeda Rehman remained all-time interesting subjects.

The Tragedy Kind romance with Valentine Lady Madhubala started with the picturization of the film Tarana in 1951 and continued until the filming of Mughal-e-Azam. A court case led to the separation of the two great lovers. Having been dishearted from Dilip, Madhu married famous actor-singer, Kishore Kumar.

Dilip Kumar has always been subjected to Hindu bise and efforts were made to undermine him both as a person and as an actor. Dilip outlived all such efforts. So much so that the Indian Government could not materialize the announcement of awarding Dilip with the highest civil award ‘Bharat Ratna”.

Categories : Opinion, Latest
Salim Bokhari

The writer is Editor-in-Chief of 24 Digital and Director Digital Department of City News Network.