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Dilip Kumar – The Tragedy King

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“The Tragedy King” credited with bringing a distinct form of method acting technique to Indian cinema, Dilip Kumar, a Veteran Indian Actor and Film Producer, best known for his work in Hindi Cinema. He held the record for most wins for the Filmfare Awards for Best Actor and was also the inaugural recipient of the award.

“If you allow fame to get the better of you, you become a nuisance, a public nuisance, a nuisance as a friend, as a member of the family, a nuisance to yourself.” – Dilip Kumar

He was born as Mohammed Yusuf Khan on 11 December 1922 – 7 July 2021. Later, he changed his name to Dilip Kumar as Indian Cinema was overpowered by Hindu Era back then. He was one of the twelve children of Lala Ghulam Sarwar Khan and his wife Ayesha Begum. His father was a fruit merchant.

Kumar was schooled at Barnes School, Deolali, Nashik. He grew up in the same neighbourhood as naive Raj Kapoor, his childhood friend, and later his colleague in the film industry.

Kumar was also known for his long relationship with actress and frequent co-star Madhubala that ended due to the Naya Daur court case in 1957. He married actress Saira Banu in 1966, a profound love story and resided in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai, until his death in 2021.

“Most of the things that we desire in life are expensive. But truth is that the things that really satisfy us are absolutely free: love, joy and laughter.” – Dilip Kumar

In 1944, he had his first Bollywood Debut, Jwar Bhata produced by Bombay Talkies. Later, became known for roles in films such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the social drama Daag (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), the epic historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960), the social dacoit crime drama Gunga Jamuna (1961), and the comedy Ram Aur Shyam (1967).

In 1976, Kumar took a five-year break from film performances and returned with a character role in the film Kranti (1981) and continued his career playing leading roles in films such as Shakti (1982), Mashaal (1984), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). His last film was Qila (1998).

“Every day is a new beginning. Every day gives opportunity to prove yourself better and better, to do something good and to prove yourself worth.” – Dilip Kumar

In a career spanning over five decades, Kumar worked in over 65 films and became the first actor to charge ₹1 lakh (equivalent to ₹85 lakh or US$120,000 in 2019) per film. He greets Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan at Meenambakkam Airport, Chennai (c. 1960). Kumar is the only Indian recipient of Pakistan’s highest civilian award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz.

Kumar died at Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, on 7 July 2021 at 7:30 am. He had been suffering from prostate cancer. The Government of Maharashtra approved his burial with state honours at Juhu Cemetery on 7 July 2021.

He was much more than an actor, in the post-Indian era when people were struggling with their identity, this man was determined enough to build his identity and leave his foot-prints on the hearts of the audience.

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