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DILIP  KUMAR ( Muhammad Yusuf Khan)

“Mughal-E-Azam” of Acting

(11Dec.1922—07 July 2021 )


   “Hazaaron Saal nargis Apni Benoori Pe Roti hai

   Badi Mushkil Se Hota Hai ,Chaman Mein Deedawar



That is what the Indian film firmament will continue to feel  from  ---- when the top actor with infinite histrionics left this world at a ripe age of  98 years after a prolonged illness. Indian Cinema has lost its acting glory. A versatile mountain of talent and an ultimate greatest actor ever ,India may not see such thespian par excellence. He was the original, others till date just copied him. His moulding of voice and pitch was unmatched .He was known for his depth. He was carved for any and all roles, whether Romantic, heart-warming, impassioned ,swashbuckling, social drama, tragedy or comedy and characters, he excelled in all . An acting legend, he was an institution in himself. Tragedy was his forte.it is said that during the shoot of “Madhumati” to express his anguish of intense pain and sorrow, he had brought in two veins on his forehead .This was after the intense spell sin “footpath”  and “Devdas” .. He continued his tragic role spell and in the process he had developed a round blood clot on his fore head. To remove it surgically was likely to have some effect on brain nerves. Thus that remained as a symbol till end. Not that he excelled only in tragic roles but in comic and action roles too as proved In “Azaad” ”Ram Aur Shyam”

Right from his debut film “Jwar Bhata”(1944) his acting sparks did not fail to gleam till his last film “Qila”(1998).Moviegoers and critics  had unanimously nicknamed him “The Tragedy King” credited with bringing realism to film acting. In a career spanning over five decades as an actor with over 65 films, Dilip Kumar had also done the mantle of a successful film producer, story writer (“Ganga Jamuna” and “Dil Diya dard Liya” Co-producer) and a debutant director for the film “Kalinga” which could not get completed. Some had  wrongly accuses him of alleged interference in the work of his directors, but this actually was not and an interference but mere suggestions.

It was but natural that audience , critics and film enthusiasts awarded him with profuse laurels.As an actor he was in receipt of highest number of Popular(Filmfare), National and International awards, including Lifetime Achievement awards, deserving to be featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

He was the recipient of Special Honour Diploma from the Czechoslovak  of Arts in Prague, Paul Revere Silver Bowl at the Boston International Film Festival and the Special prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Government of Pakistan had conferred the Highest Civilian award “Nishan_E-Imtiaz on him for his outstanding artistic contribution. Amongst the National Honors and recognitions , he was conferred the second highest civilian award of India Padma Vibhushan  besides his film “Ganga Jumna” had received the second best film National award and the Dada Saheb Phalke award for his Life Time Achievements in films  .He was also nominated as the Rajya Sabha M P from 2000 to 2006.Amongst the State Honors, he was made Sheriff of Mumbai in 1980 and the Government of Andhra Pradesh had conferred the NTR National Award.


His humanitarian and social  achievements too made him a better human.  The famous Jogger’s Park in Bandra is his brain child and he had donated  his M P LAD fund towards the Construction of  Bandra Band Stand Promo-grenade and developing gardens at Bandra Fort at Lands End in Bandra besides his involvement in number of Charitable and Social initiatives.


I remember to have met this great  gentleman,  human  3 times ,all in film bashes. First time was in the mahurat of the film “Naraaz”( Shelved).I put forth my request to converse but he brushed aside pointing out to his accompanists “I am with these gentelmen”.Then I heard him saying “Yaar, koi aisa table dhundho jahan thoda andhera ho”. Those days he was going through a period of hybernation. Second time was during the promotion party of film “Izzatdar”.I Congratulated him for the fine acting in the film , His reply was visionary “Bhai, mujhe andesha hai kii kahin film Pit na jaaye” ( Film was flop).I again asked for his time to have an interview. But he avoided, saying “Abhi mujhe kahin jaana hai”.Third and last occasion was again a film bash at the then Hotel Sea Rock at Bandra. I spotted Dilip Saheb him in conversation with Dr. Rahi Masoom Reza. I stood behind them .Dr. Reza noticed me with a diary and pen in hand and said “Janab, Abhi Main guftgu Kar Raha Hoon. Aap Baad Mein Aaiyega” . Even after one hour ,Dr. Reza was still with him. As a journalist, not to have interviewed this thespian, would be a regret of my life .


Some missed chances of his life : British Director David Lean had offered him a role of Sherif Ali in his film “Lawrence of Arabia” but he had declined. He was also considered for a leading role opposite big Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor By D Lean but the project got cancelled.  On home turf in 2001 he was offered a role in the film “Asar” with Ajay Devgan and Priyanka Chopra but after launch,  film did not take off..  Film maker Subhash Ghai had announced two projects with Dilip Saab namely “Devaa” and “Motherland”with Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan .Sadly both were shelved as Dilip saab had decided to leave projects.. His two films remained incomplete  “Shikwa” ( with Nutan) and his own directorial debut film “Kalinga”


His double role films are “ Dastan” “Gopi” Ram Aur Shyam”  while his triple role film was “Bairag”

He was the only actor who was a linguist .Was fluent in Urdu,Hindi,Hindko( His mother tongue), English ,Punjabi, Awadhi, Bhojpuri (Dialects),Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Pashto and Persian.

His Autobiography “Dilip Kumar:The Substance and the Shadow” as narrated to Journalist Udai Tara Nair is published by Hay House Publishers

His some outstanding and acclaimed films are  “Shaheed” “Andaz””Aan”““Deedar” ”“Daag””Footpath”“Devdas” “Azaad” “Naya Daur”“Madhumati” “Mughal-E-Azam” “Ganga Jamuna” “Ram Aur Shyam””Sunghursh” “Aadmi” “Sagina””Karma” , “Shakti”,“Saudagar” etc.


Rest in Peace the Legend


( Mohan Siroya )

Written by: 

Mohan Siroya

Published on: 



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