By Ankita Gupta
Dilip Kumar, the legendary actor who has gifted us with six decades of glorious cinema, celebrated his 95th birth anniversary on 11th December 2017. The maestro thespian has proved to the world that miracles do come true, and a simple fruit merchant can become one of the greatest actors of his time.
From an orchard to the silver screen
Dilip Kumar is a self-made man. At a time when the film industry is flooded with accusations of nepotism, we can look up to actors like him. His life is nothing less than a page from a few of his movies. His father was the owner of orchards in Nashik and the family moved to Pune in the 30s. Born under the name of Yusuf Khan in 1922, Dilip Kumar established a small sandwich store in the Army Club. However, life had other plans for him. It is said that Devika Rani, the first lady of Bollywood in her time, first spotted him in the military canteen. Recognising his blazing potential, she offered him his first movie Jwar Bhata and asked him to come to Mumbai. His honest acting won the hearts of millions. There was no looking back after that, as Dilip Kumar churned out masterpiece after masterpiece. He was a ‘method actor’ before the term was in vogue and he worked hard to hone his talent with each new role. He was cautious of the dangers of ‘over-exposure’ and was very selective about the movies he signed. He acted in over 65 movies, creating celluloid magic with Devdas, Ram Aur Shyam, Mughal-E-Azam and Deedar.
The King of Tragedy
With a soft voice, a rugged face with quicksilver eyes, and a handsome visage, Dilip Kumar was knighted as the ‘Tragedy King’ of the silver screen. People would crowd movie halls in order to watch him die onscreen. He played devastating roles in epic movies like Devdas, Ganga Jumna and Andaz. He became enthralled with his acting and found it difficult to shed the skin of the characters he played. He had to consult Harley Street physicians to cast away his obsessions and they advised him to work in light movies. This resulted in social satires like Leader and comedy heist-thrillers like Kohinoor. Even his personal life was clouded with tragic romance, as he was embittered with unrequited love. He was forced to sever all ties with his first true love Kamini Kaushal. His engagement with Madhubala was called off, which shattered them both. He finally got married in his 40s to the charming actress Saira Banu who fell in love with him when she was 12 and has stood by him ever since.
Wishing the actor on his 95th birthday
Dilip Kumar, who has been graced with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award and the Padma Vibhushan, was greeted by many actors and thousands of fans in commemoration of his 95th birthday. He deeply treasures the good wishes of his fans and has expressed that the warmth of the clasp of hands of the strangers who approached him is a much greater tribute to his work than any award. Dilip Kumar is fond of the simple things in life. He celebrated his birthday in the company of close-knit friends and family members. Even though strict restrictions have been imposed on him by doctors owing to his poor health, he was treated to small helpings of home-cooked biryani, vanilla ice-cream and cake.
Featured Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons