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Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar

Information On Dilip Kumar
Name:Yusuf Khan
Date of Birth:11th December
Zodiac:Sagittarius
Family:Wife-Saira Bano
Debut Film:Jwar Bhatta-1944
Dilip Kumar's Profile

Dilip Kumar's was arguably the greatest actor of Bollywood cinema. He was a 'Method' actor without knowing what that really meant. In film after film he threw himself body and soul into his characters and after a succession of leading roles in tragic dramas it took such a toll on his psyche he suffered a nervous breakdown.

Dilip Kumar is regarded as arguably the greatest actor ever to grace the Indian silver screen. His performances have been regarded as the epitome of emoting in Indian Cinema. Though he has done all kinds of films - he balanced a lightweight Shabnam (1949) with the intense Andaaz (1949), the ultra-serious Daag (1952) with the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the heavy Devdas (1955) with the entertainer Azaad (1955), he is mainly remembered as the King of Tragedy.

Dilip Kumar

He was born in Peshawar (now Pakistan) as Yusuf Khan in a Pathan Family of 12 children who later moved to Maharashtra as fruit merchants. From being the assistant manager in an army canteen, he set up his own fruit stall. In Bombay, he was given his first break by Devika Rani, who cast him as the hero of Bombay Talkies Jwar Bhatta (1944). He attained stardom with Jugnu (1947) opposite singing diva Noorjehan.

The success of Mela (1948), a Devdas type of film set Dilip Kumar off in a chain of films were he played a doomed lover - Andaaz (1949), which made him a superstar, Babul (1950), Jogan (1950), Deedar (1951), Udan Khatola (1955) and of course Devdas. But at times his heavy mannerisms acquired in his tragedy roles gave his characters a heavy-handedness that could be quite difficult to take - like in Devdas and particularly in the adaptation of Wuthering Heights - Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966).

Playing mostly serious roles however began to take its toll on him and on psychiatric advice he switched over to do more light-hearted musical films and what's more actually appeared quite at home in them. (Azaad, and Kohinoor (1960)). Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Ganga Jamuna (1961) marked the peak of Dilip Kumar's career. But though his performance as Salim in the former has often been rated as among his best ever, he actually looks strangely uncomfortable in the film. Ganga Jamuna however was a flawless performance and perhaps the greatest of his career. His Bhojpuri dialect in the film was perfect and it was shocking he lost the Filmfare Award that year to Raj Kapoor for Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960).

He married actress Saira Bano in 1966 and was absolutely brilliant in the comedy Ram Aur Shyam (1967) essaying a double role and displaying razor sharp comic timing but his career ran out of steam in the 1970s. Taking a break from acting, he made a grand comeback in character roles with Manoj Kumar's Kranti (1981) and Ramesh Sippy's Shakti (1982) where his larger than life author-backed role confirmed his legendary status. It was yet another brilliant performance. To quote one of the writers of the film, Salim Khan.

Dilip Kumar Shakti was also perhaps Director Ramesh Sippy's best film. But unfortunately the film failed at the box-office. It won Dilip Kumar yet another Filmfare Award for Best Actor though. Dilip Kumar has continued to do strong central character roles in films though his first official directorial venture Kalinga is yet to be released.

Interestingly, Dilip Kumar refused Guru Dutt's Pyaasa (1957) feeling that the character of the poet Vijay in the film was just an extension of his role in Devdas. And turned down 20th Century Fox's offer of The Rains Came and David Lean's offer of the role which ultimately went to Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). To quote him "In your own bazaar you enjoy a certain status. What's the point of venturing out into fields unknown where you have no say? No contact with the subject matter."

Dilip Kumar's acting has inspired many Indian actors to try and copy his style but none have even remotely been able to match him. Which just goes on to prove that Dilip Kumar was sorry… is truly one and one of a kind.



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