Until we meet again, Saheb-e-Alam

Wednesday 14th July 2021 07:34 EDT

In an award show in the early 2000s, as Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu entered the stage to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award, the nation witnessed an overwhelmingly emotional moment where respect for an artist was paramount, enough for Shah Rukh Khan to roll out the red carpet with his own hands as Dilip Saab walked. In that iconic speech, he held SRK’s hand with utmost affection and said, “No actor can be bigger than the substance which he portrays.”

In his obituary in the New York Times, National Award Winning Film Critic Baradwaj Rangan hailed Dilip Kumar and wrote, “Even in this larger-than-life context, there was a dash of the realism that defined him.”

Writer, Researcher and Documentary Filmmaker Lalit Mohan Joshi told Asian Voice, “He acted as if he was really being that role. But at the same time, he was a method actor. And he sort of brought in certain dramatic elements into it, especially in his dialogue delivery. So the way he narrated his role, the way he acted in his voice, became kind of a role model for the future generation of actors like Amitabh Bachchan - they took from his style of dialogue delivery. So he was very influential in Bollywood, he was right there from the beginning of even before the golden period of Indian cinema, which was the 1950s.”

In one of his rare TV interviews, Dilip Saab told NDTV that he felt he was targeted again and again because he was a Muslim. Little do people know that Dilip Kumar’s real name was Muhammed Yusuf Khan. Actress Devika Rani suggested that he must change his name to a Hindu name to achieve success at the movies. Hence he adopted the name, Dilip Kumar. In the same interview, he added, “The younger generation has to prove itself in its social beliefs and view - on not just filmmaking but also the ethics involved in filmmaking, and the obligation that film workers, stars, producers, directors owe to the society."

Dilip Kumar was one of the only living legends, often called the Tragedy King of Indian cinema who witnessed 98 out of 100 years of the most famous film industry in the world. Film Critic Mayank Shekhar went on to share an interesting anecdote about Kumar and said that when Dilip Kumar was brought in as one of the witnesses in this breach of contract case against Madhubala, he professed his love for Madhubala before the judge. Dilip Kumar was married to actress Saira Banu for 44 years, amid which he also married and divorced Asma Rahman between 1981-1983. In his autobiography, 'Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow', he revealed that Banu had conceived in 1972, but developed complications in the pregnancy, leading to the child's death. Following this, they did not try to have children again, believing that it to be God's will.

His digital presence was kept afloat by his dear patron Faisal Farooqui and all his life updates were consistently shared via Twitter. He was almost like a brother to Lata Mangeshkar and a father figure to Shah Rukh Khan. Yusuf Khan passed away on July 7 after a prolonged fight with prostrate Cancer and multiple organ failure at Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai. He was laid to rest at Juhu Kabristan. Dilip Kumar was 98.


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