Birth- December 11, 1922 Peshawar
death- July 7, 2021 Mumbai
Artists or stars keep coming and going, but actor-e-Azam comes only once in centuries. Dilip Kumar is an actor as well as an acting university, watching whose films many great stars learned to act. Born on December 11, 1922 as Yusuf Khan in the Peshawar fruit merchant Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Dilip Kumar was the third child of six brothers and six sisters. Along with Peshawar, Dilip Kumar’s father also had fruit orchards in Devlali, Maharashtra. During his studies at Devlali Cantt Station, 200 km from Mumbai, Dilip Kumar’s first love was soccer, not cinema. Dilip Kumar stayed in Devlali for eight years and during this time he did not see a single movie.
After completing his Devlali studies, he joined Anjuman-e-Islam High School in Bori Bunder. He was more interested in soccer, cricket, and hockey than school books. Before each exam, a partner of Dilip Kumar used to give him tips, which would have crossed his ship. Dilip sahib could never discover the secret of where that fellow used to juggle such advice.
Dilip Kumar was one of the few artists who always believed in quality
After enrollment, Dilip Kumar did his further studies at Wilson College. He did not have a single girlfriend during all his university studies and this Dilip Kumar later became a matinee idol. College time Dilip Kumar was also known for writing excellent essays in English besides football. Once in 1941, in an essay on Christmas, he wrote, the attraction of special Christmas movies also takes the remaining amount out of your pocket. A friend of his has saved this essay by Dilip Sahab to date.
From his college days to his last days, Dilip Kumar did not change his hairstyle. Even after seven decades, there was no difference in the puff on the forehead. Dilip Sahab was very fond of watching movies in English during his college days. Dilip sahib considered the leftmost corner seat in the movie theater to be the best angle for viewing the film. After completing his studies at Wilson College and then Khalsa College, Dilip Saheb decided to create his own identity rather than adopt ancestral businesses. Until then, movies were not very far in Dilip Kumar’s mind.
Dilip Kumar came to Pune from Mumbai and took a job as a canteen manager in the British Army. Dilip Kumar used to receive a salary of Rs 35 for this job. Soon Dilip Kumar got the contract to manage the refreshment room in the army canteen. The business was good and the income exceeded 800 rupees a month. At that time, 800 rupees was considered a very large amount.
After depositing a substantial bank balance, Dilip Kumar returned to Mumbai. Bombay Talkies used to be the largest production house in those days. Bombay Talkies was looking for young, handsome, and tall faces. It was the production company people who got Dilip Kumar to meet Bombay Talkies director Devika Rani. Devika Rani was so impressed with Dilip Kumar’s personality and speaking style that she hired him for Jwar Bhata (1944) without a screen test. Dilip Kumar’s first heroine was Mridula.
Until then, Dilip Kumar was just Yusuf Khan. It was Devika Rani who suggested three names for her screen. Jahangir, Vasudev and Dilip Kumar. Yusuf Khan liked Dilip Kumar, the least of the three names. But Devika Rani liked this name better.
After the release of Jwar Bhata, Dilip Kumar was praised by a veteran artist like Motilal and said that by keeping this attitude, Hindi cinema will blow you away. Dilip Kumar had a two-year contract with Bombay Talkies for Rs 625 per month.
In 1947-48, Mela and Jugnu made Dilip Kumar a star. Dilip Kumar got the name Tragedy Kumar de Andaz from Mehboob Khan (1949). Raj Kapoor and Nargis co-starred with Dilip Kumar in Andaz. In 1961, Dilip Kumar produced the film Ganga Jamuna with his brother Nasir Khan. The film was also a success, but later Dilip Kumar did not produce any films.
In 1962, British director David Lean offered a major role in Lawrence of Arabia, which Dilip Kumar did not accept. Later, Omar Sharif played the same role. The film was a record success. At the time of marrying Saira Banu in 1966, Dilip Kumar was 44 years old and Saira Banu 22 years old. After the marriage, Dilip Kumar also had a son, but he could not survive. After that, they had no children.
Qila, which came out in 1998, was Dilip Kumar’s last release. It was reissued after coloring Mughle-Azam in 1994 and Naya Daur in 1997. Dilip Kumar has been a role model for all actors, including Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan.
Dilip Kumar’s advice:
In an active career spanning nearly five and a half decades, Dilip Kumar acted in only 61 films. Dilip Kumar has always believed that the artist should bloom one by one like the petals of a rose. Not that I have shown everything at once. This is why Dilip Kumar focused more on quality than quantity. But for the current generation of artists, money is the only respect. If they get money, they don’t even mind dancing at weddings.
Discord over Pakistan’s highest honor bestowed on Dilip Sahab and Atal ji’s intervention:
In 1996, Dilip Kumar received the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian decoration. But its echo was heard in India after three years. After Pakistan’s misadventure at Kargil in 1999, the tension between the two countries was at its peak. Shiv Sena then protested, putting tremendous pressure on Dilip Kumar to return this honor to Pakistan. In 1999, Dilip Kumar had decided not to return the Nishan-e-Imtiaz to Pakistan after meeting with then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. At the time, Vajpayee had also said that no one can question Dilip Kumar’s patriotism and secularism and keeping the honor or not is a personal matter and should be left in his hands.
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