The tragedy king of Bollywood turns a year older today. One of the greatest actors of all times, Dilip Kumar was born in Peshawar in 1922 as Mohammad Yusuf Khan. His father was a fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar and Deolali (in Maharashtra, India). Dilip Kumar was schooled at Barnes School, Deolali. In the late 1930s, his family relocated to Bombay.
In 1942, in order to start his own career, he met actress Devika Rani, owner of Bombay Talkies, who asked him to sign up with the company on a pay of Rs. 1250 per year. Later, she requested to change his name from Yousuf to Dilip Kumar, and cast him in a lead role for the film Jwar Bhata(1944), which marked Dilip Kumar’s entry into the Hindi film industry.
In the course of over 7 decades in the industry, Dilip Kumar established method acting as an essential part of film acting in Bollywood. He was among the top actors of the Hindi film industry during 1950s and 60s. His fans gave him the title of ‘Tragedy King’ for his perfection in death and tragic scenes. On his 94th birthday, let’s take a look back at his 10 memorable films:
Andaz: Dilip Kumar shared screen space with Raj Kapoor for the first time in ‘Andaz’. A love triangle, ‘Andaz’ shows Dilip Kumar as a romantic hero whose unrequited love costs him his life. The film turned out be one of the biggest grossers of the year.
Ram Aur Shayam: Very few actors have the panache to carry out double roles in films and that too so brilliantly. And, Dilip Kumar’s act became an inspiration for many others actors to reprise the role of twins in films. The way he switches from a shy (Ram) to the vivacious (Shyam) is commendable.
Azaad: Dilip Kumar plays the role of a charismatic bandit who rescues Meena Kumari and pretends to be a wealthy person. The film was one of the biggest hits of 1950s.
Daag: Dilip Kumar proves why is he is the invincible tragedy king of Bollywood with his performance in ‘Daag’. He plays the role of Shankar who succumbs to alcohol and moves onto the path of self destruction. The actor won his first Filmfare Award for ‘Daag’.
Mughal-e-Azam: K Asif’s magnum opus was a classic is every sense. From the dialogues to the sets to the acting, ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ spelled brilliance. Dilip Kumar beautifully brought out the romantic side of a prince who dares to go against his father and falls for a courtesan. His performance is still etched in the minds of many of his fans.
Naya Daur: With the onset of industrialisation, Dilip Kumar’s role of a tongawala who dares to challenge the landlords became an inspiration for many. Dilip Kumar even went onto win Filmfare Award for Best Actor for ‘Naya Daur’.
Devdas: Failed in love, Devdas (Dilip Kumar) takes to liquor after the marriage of Paro (Suchitra Sen). As a hopeless lover, Devdas drinks to reduce the pain of losing his lover Paro. Who can forget the popular dialogue, ‘Kon Kambhakht Bardaasht Karne Ke Liye Peeta Hai’. Dilip Kumar beautifully brought the pain of unrequited love on screen.
Aadmi: Dilip Kumar was one of the actors who did not shy away from sharing screen space with other actors. He played the role of a jealous lover in ‘Aadmi’. Dilip Kumar proved his acting prowess by playing a man on wheelchair and was much appreciated for his role.
Shakti: Despite sharing screen space with Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar was the star of the film. He played the role of an honest police officer who doesn’t mind sacrificing his near and dear ones in the line of duty. Amitabh Bachchan played the role of Dilip Kumar’s son in the film.
Saudagar: Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar came together in 1991 film ‘Saudagar’. Influenced by the popular play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Saudagar’ was a love story. Dilip Kumar’s performance was much appreciated in the film and also bagged him a best actor nomination at Filmfare Awards.
Here’s wishing Bollywood’s favourite actor a very happy and healthy birthday.