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Beyond Devdas, Peshawar Roots: Why Shah Rukh Khan Had a Special Place for Dilip Kumar

File photo tweeted by Dilip Kumar.

File photo tweeted by Dilip Kumar.

Dilip Kumar's death saw a spike in Google searches for SRK. Photos, videos showing Shah Rukh Khan in the same frame as the veteran actor went viral on Twitter.

Bollywood fans woke up to the tragic news of veteran actor Dilip Kumar‘s demise on Wednesday. Kumar, 98, breathed his last after being admitted to the hospital due to age-related medical issues. The first superstar of the Indian film industry, Kumar, paved a new path for actors and acting and cemented a place in the industry, delivering blockbusters one after the another. His acting style and long pauses had a separate fan base. The passing of Yusuf Khan, popularly known as Dilip Kumar or Dilip saab, was not only mourned widely by the actors and fans of the veteran star but also by PM Modi. Soon after, Google searches for Shah Rukh Khan-Dilip Kumar spiked in India. And on Twitter, photos, and videos of the two Khans together began trending on Wednesday.

Apart from sharing many similarities among them, ‘The First Khan’ played Devdas to perfection in 1955. Khan portrayed the same character inspired by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel later in 2002. By 2020 both the actors shared the top spot for most Filmfare awards for Best Actor: 8. Kumar was born on December 11, 1922, to Lala Ghulam Sarwar, a fruit merchant in Peshawar. Within the 200m radius of Kumar’s house was SRK’s ancestorial home located, a BBC report from 2012 stated.

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But it was beyond Bollywood and the Peshawar roots. Shah Rukh Khan, in a 2017 interview with Filmfare, said that while working with Ketan Mehta years ago, he saw a photo of Kumar in his office and thought it was him. “I saw a picture of Dilip Kumar in his (Ketan Mehta) office and I was like oh! that’s me. He looked so much like me in that picture. Or rather I looked so much like him."

In the interview, Khan revealed that his mother loved Dilip Kumar and felt her son looked like the ‘Andaz’ actor. Khan also added that Saira Banu and Kumar thought of him as their son.

Credit: Google Trends/ July 7, 2021.

Earlier that year, photos of Shah Rukh Khan visiting an ailing Dilip Kumar also made waves on the microblogging site Twitter. Khan kissed Kumar on his forehead and the hearts of fans of both the actors swole in happiness.

Saira Banu recounted SRK’s visit and shared kind words for the ‘Baazigar’ star.

“I have always said that if we had a son, he might have looked like Shah Rukh… Both he and saab (Dilip Kumar) are a lot alike and have similar hair, which is why I like to run my fingers through Shah Rukh Khan when we meet," Banu told Mumbai Mirror as she recounted her first meeting with Shah Rukh Khan during the “muhurat" of ‘Dil Aashna Hai’ which was attended by her husband Dilip Kumar as well.

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first published:July 07, 2021, 12:38 IST