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Dilip Kumar Will Remain My Hero… Black Day for Indian Cinema: Dharmendra

Dilip Kumar and Dharmendra

Dilip Kumar and Dharmendra

Remembering Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra tells News18 that he grew up watching the Bollywood superstar's films and he was one of the reasons why he became an actor.

I am shocked and at loss of words. He was like an elder brother to me. It’s a black day for Indian cinema. I knew this day would come but I have never been able to prepare myself for it. I would regularly call Saira and enquire about Dilip saab’s health. I had called her on Monday and she said he was a bit ill but there was nothing to worry about. Sometimes I would just randomly pay a visit to their house and check on his health. I couldn’t see him in the condition and would start crying. Saira would cheer me up and she would often tell me that he would be fine.

I grew up watching his films and he was one of the reasons why I decided to become an actor. I used to go and stand outside his house before I became an actor. Watching him on the big screen was like going and visiting a temple. He was a really handsome man with impeccable manners and stylish too. He was also a brilliant actor. His clothes, hairstyle, the way he talked and waked exuded glamour and uniqueness. His zest for life was infectious.

I was fortunate to work with him in my first Bengali film Paari (1966, which was later remade in Hindi as Anokha Milan in 1978) but I didn’t have any scenes with him. I remember we had taken a flight together to Kolkata and we chatted a lot about films and life. It is unfortunate that I couldn’t share the screen space with him.

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He loved me even more than my own relatives. I remember he was on a strict diet and Saira wouldn’t allow him to eat a lot of things. He was a big foodie and would often call me whenever he would want to dine outside without Saira’s knowledge. Saira and Dilip saab would often invite me for dinner. When I became an actor, I used to visit their house on Eid to sheer kurma. He was like a kid at heart. At the same time, he was intelligent and a learned man. He will always remain my hero.

I am very sad. I just pray to god that to bless his soul and give Saira all the strength and courage.

(As told to News18.com)

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first published:July 07, 2021, 11:47 IST