Few actors in Bollywood have been loved so by critics and fans alike, that too for such a long period of time. Dilip Kumar is a name that not only brings a smile on the face of anyone who has witnessed the living legend cast his magic on the screen but it also brings tons and tons of respect. It is this second facet of the love that people have for Dilip Kumar that truly makes him one of the greatest actors Bollywood has ever seen. Labelled the ultimate method actor by none other than Satyajit Ray, Dilip Kumar was the true personification of what is called a versatile actor.
The Tragedy King of Bollywood
Dilip Kumar made his debut in 1944 with the film Jwar Bhata. The film was produced by Bombay Talkies and went unnoticed. However, it was actress and owner of Bombay Talkies Devika Rani who gave him the name Dilip Kumar (his real name is Muhammed Yusuf Khan) and he also met his mentor Ashok Kumar in the same place. The movie did not fare well but it was his meeting with these two that perhaps paved the way for his first box office hit, which was the 1947 film Jugnu. Dilip’s first major breakthrough, though, came with 1949’s Andaz. After that there was no looking back. The 1950s were really gracious to Dilip Kumar with the actor giving blockbuster after blockbuster like Jogan, Hulchul, Daag, Devdas. It was during this time that he got the name the Tragedy King, because the female lead’s name would appear first in the credits and they were paid more than him (Noor Jahan and Kamini Kaushal). Daag also made him the first actor to win the Filmfare Award for Best Actor, an award he would go on to win 7 more times. The 60s were not less kinder to him either, with Kohinoor and Mughal-e-Azam being super blockbusters. The 70s though, were not that good for Dilip Kumar with the actor starring in a few unsuccessful films. It also caused him to take a 5 year hiatus from acting.
In 1981 Dilip Kumar returned with Kranti, the biggest hit of the year. He went on to star in more box office hits until Saudagar in 1991. He ended his acting career in 1998 with Qila.
Off screen life
Dilip Kumar was born in 1922 in Peshawar, making him the first actor in Bollywood to hail from Pakistan. However, the two nations never squabbled over the actor, for he was and still is loved in both countries. Dilip Kumar has been awarded the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan by the Indian Government and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz by the Pakistani Government. He first married in 1966 to actress Saira Banu and then later married for a second time to Asma in 1980, though the latter marriage ended soon. Like all famous actors, he had a great on-screen pairing with Madhubala, who was also reportedly his love interest in real life. However, it is believed that differences between the families of the two superstars prevented them from being together.
The voice that commands and soothes at the same time
Dilip Kumar was, and remains to this day, one of the most talented and masterful actors to have graced the screens of theaters all over India. His on-screen command and persona are still unmatched. The depth that his characters portrayed is still characteristic of him, with his voice having the unique ability to be commanding and soothing at the same time. The veteran actor, though, has been fighting pneumonia for some time now. He was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai on Sunday. After some days of worrying, he has come out of the ICU and doctors say he will make a speedy recovery.