Dilip Kumar: A Legend Gone Forever


Dilip Kumar is the university of acting. He brought realism and method acting to Indian Cinema which was unheard of before him. In a career spanning 60 years, he worked in as few as 65 movies in all and most of them cult classics. He never did a mediocre role in his career. The oldest living Bollywood Legend, Dilip, passed away at the age of 98 today, leaving a void in Indian Cinema.

Awards: The Government of India honoured Dilip Kumar with the Padma Bhushan in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and India’s second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions towards Indian cinema and nominated him to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament for a term. The Government of Pakistan honoured him with its highest civilian honour, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, in 1997.

Some unknown Facts About Dilip Kumar:

Dilip Kumar was the first (and perhaps only) Method Actor until very recently. His techniques have been mimicked by other successful actors such as Shah Rukh Khan.

Dilip Kumar is a practitioner of the Stanislavski method. (set of techniques used by actors to portray emotions on stage by putting themselves in the place of the character).

Dilip Kumar is the only actor who started acting in British India and had an unmatched persona for a long time.

He is the first recipient of the Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954) and held the record for the most number of Filmfare awards for that category with eight wins until SRK’s eight wins in 2011.

His dedication to acting can be realized when he even learnt how to play the Sitar instrument for a song sequence in the movie Kohinoor.

Even though he’s considered a thespian, he had no plans of joining the profession. But Dilip’s father Ghulam Sarwar’s had to shift his business and family near then Bombay in the late 1930s and his own independent streak, all in their way led to Yousuf Khan becoming Dilip Kumar.

Dilip went on to become the “tragedy king” of Bollywood’s first trinity — where he outlived and, arguably, outperformed Raj Kapoor’s naivety and Dev Anand’s cheerful insouciance. All subsequent superstars, from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, would owe him a debt.

A Story Narrated By Dilip Saab Himself:

Superstar Dilip Kumar was once travelling by plane and the passenger who sat next to him was elderly, dressed in simple attire. He appeared middle class but well educated. As expected, astonished by his charm other passengers kept glancing at Dilip Kumar but the gentleman sitting right next to him was calm and unconcerned. He looked out of the window, read his newspaper and when tea came, he sipped it quietly.

Trying to strike a conversation, Dilip Kumar smiled at him, courteously the man smiled back at him and said Hello. Dilip Kumar started the conversation and intentionally he brought the topic of cinema and asked “Do you watch films?”. “Oh, very few, I did see one many years ago” the man replied.

Dilip Kumar was surprised and told him that he worked in films himself. The man smiled and said, “that’s nice, what do you do?”. “I am an actor” replied Dilip Kumar. “That’s very nice,” said the man and the conversation ended right there. While departing, Dilip Kumar held out his hand and said “It was nice meeting you, I am Dilip Kumar”

The man shook his hand, smiled and said “Thank you, I am J.R.D. Tata”. While describing the incident Dilip Kumar said he learnt a lesson of humility that day and learned no matter how big you are there is always someone bigger!

Rest in Peace, Dilip Kumar…..Your rich contribution to the Indian cinemas would always be remembered.