Hindi cinema’s veteran actor Dilip Kumar turned 98 today. Dilip Sahab revolutionised the Bollywood industry bringing in the concept of “realistic acting”. He stepped into Bollywood with Jwar Bhata in 1944. He gave the Indian cinema some of its iconic movies from Mughal-e-Azam to Devdas.
On his 98th birthday, let’s take a trip back in time to cherish his greatest hits.
Dilip Kumar stars in this paranormal romance directed by Bimal Roy. Dilip Kumar plays Anand, a modern man, and actress Vyjayanthimala is a tribal woman, Madhumati who falls in love with him. The movie shows how due to societal discrimination, the two are unable to have a relationship during their lifetimes and are reincarnated. Madhumati introduced Indian cinema to reincarnation and a gothic narrative. The impressive take on the characters by the two veteran actors tore through the box-office charts and won nine Filmfare Awards.
The classic tale of a dejected lover who turns into an alcoholic was showcased by Dilip Kumar in his own melancholic way. The movie was again directed by Bimal Roy and was one of the first cinematic adaptations of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic novel. To know why Dilip Kumar is known as the tragedy king one must watch Devdas and his profound performance of the rebellious character. Dilip’s impeccable portrayal of the psychological and emotional functionality of this character is a must-watch.
Before Sanjay Leela Bhansali stepped into making magnum-opus movies like Padmavat, Bajirao Mastani, Indian cinema had Mughal-E-Azam. Directed by K. Asif, the movie was completed in ten years. The 1960 epic historical drama was one of the first blockbusters of Indian cinema. It traced the story of Emperor Akbar, his son Salim and the graceful Anarkali played by iconic Madhubala. The film explores the differences between father and son, class difference and the courage and struggles of royal love stories. Dilip Kumar essayed the role of Salim, alongside Prithviraj Kapoor’s Akbar and Madhubala’s Anarkali.
The movie stars Indian cinema’s great artists like Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Dilip Kumar. In this film, the lovelorn Dilip fails to charm Nargis’ Neena and eventually turns into the villain. The film brought in the concept of “love triangles” to post-independence Hindi cinemas.
Naya Daur (1957)
Another classic from the post-independence era, Naya Daur is based on the themes of industrialization as the title suggests, it is about a new era of change in India. Dilip Kumar stars as Shankar, a tongawallah under the oppressive capitalists of industrial wealth. The film chronicles his attempts to challenge the authority for equality.
Dilip Kumar is married to veteran actress Saira Banu. The actress recently told in an interview that the legendary thespian stays unwell due to his age but is being taken care of well. She also said that this year, they will not be holding a celebration due to the demise of his broters Ahsan and Aslam Khan due to Covid-19.