LAHORE: The Peshawar-born legendary Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar, whose real name is Muhammad Yousaf Khan, turns 90 on Tuesday (today).
He was born on December 11, 1922 to a Peshawar-based fruit trader, Lala Ghulam Sarwar.
The handsome Dilip Kumar shares his birth place with Hindi cinema pioneer Prithviraj Kapoor (1901-72), his eldest son Ranbirraj “Raj” Kapoor (1924-88), renowned Indian movie villain Amjad Khan (1940-92), the 66-year old Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna, Prem Nath (1926-1992) and with the likes of the pretty Madhubala (1933-69)-the Marilyn Monroe of Indian cinema- in the 1950s and 1960s.
Meanwhile, the King of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan too has traced his roots in Peshawar. Shahrukh’s late father, Taj Mohammad Khan, was born and raised here in this historic city, which is today dubbed the stronghold of Taliban.
Shahrukh Khan had himself visited Peshawar in 1978 and 1979, as newspaper archives reveal. Top Indian actor Anil Kapoor’s father and film producer of yore, Surinder Kapoor, also hailed from Peshawar.
Coming back to Dilip Kumar, his first film “Jawar Bhaata” was released in 1944.
From 1944 to 1998, this actor-turned-Senator had starred in just 68 box office hits including “Milan,” “Jugnu,” “Shaheed,” “Mela,” “Ghar Ki Izzat,” “Aan,” “Tarana,” “Andaz,” “Badal,” “Arzoo,” “Devdas,”“Hul Chull,” “Sangdil,” “Daag,” “Mughul-e-Azam,” “Insanaiyat,” “Musafir,” “Ganga Jumna,” “Mashaal,” “Kohinoor,” “Leader,” “Ram Aur Shyam,” “Karanti,” “Gopi,” “Vidhatta,” “Footpath,” “Aag Ka Darya,” “Shakti,” “Mazdoor,” “Duniya,” “Saudagar,” “Qila,” and “Karma” etc.
Along with Shahrukh Khan, he shares the record for winning the most number of Filmfare awards (eight wins). Besides these eight wins, he had gone on to receive 19 Filmfare nominations throughout his illustrious career.
The Government of India had honoured him with the prestigious “Padma Bhushan” Award in 1991 and the “Dadasaheb Phalke” Award in 1994.
Remember, after 1976, he had taken a five-year-break from movies. He was also appointed as the Sheriff of Mumbai (an honorary portfolio) in 1980.
The government of Pakistan had also decorated Dilip with “Nishan-e-Imtiaz,” the highest civil award, in 1997.
Top Indian newspaper “The Times of India” had quoted one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan, as saying that Dilip Kumar was his idol and inspiration.
Shahrukh Khan, was once quoted by a section of Indian media as saying: “No one can copy him (Dilip) and idiots like me try to copy him.”
Another esteemed Indian newspaper “The Hindu,” in its December 11, 2008 edition, had stated: “His performances have been regarded as the epitome of emoting in Indian cinema. He was the first actor to receive Filmfare Best Actor Award and holds the record for maximum number of Filmfare Awards won for that category.”
On August 28, 2010, “The Hindu” had written: “Films like “Andaz”, “Jogan”, “Daag”, “Foot Path”, “Devdas” and “Ganga Jumna” stand testimony to his versatility.”
“The Hindu,” in its afore-cited edition, had quoted Dilip as saying,” My tragic performances required method acting as there was a matter of meter and chord for each shade in my performance. But when I shifted to light-hearted, comic characters in “Aan”, “Azad”, “Kohinoor”, “Leader” and “Ram Aur Shyam” I tried my best to transcend method as it has its limits. I learnt to play the sitar for one and a half years before the ‘Madhuban mein Radhika nache re’ sequence in “Kohinoor”. It had to be spontaneous yet real. Similarly, when Salil Chowdhury requested me to lower my voice by three notes to sing Lagi nahin chute Ram in “Musafir”, I did not opt for any method.”
On his favourite actors and directors, Dilip Kumar Khan had once remarked at a function: “From Hollywood, with deep respect, I would like to mention Sir Charles Laughton, Paul Muni, Marlon Brando and Richard Burton. Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Katherine Hepburn are my all-time favourites. From India, I consider Ashok Kumar, Motilal, Balraj Sahini, Chabi Biswas and Pahari Sanyal as icons of natural performances. Uttam Kumar and Shivaji Ganesan were very powerful actors and I must mention the polished performances of Sabitri Chatterjee and Arundhati Sinha. From the past four decades, Amitabh Bachhan, Aamir Khan and Tabu are gifted performers. Among the directors, Amiya Chakrabarty, Nitin Bose, Bimal Ray, Zia Sarhadi and K. Asif and Mehboob Khan were unforgettable.”
Dilip has two wives, Saira Bano and Aasma.
In 1940, Dilip had started his practical life as a canteen owner and a dry fruit supplier in the Indian city of Pune.
According to the Encyclopedia of Hindi Cinema, a renowned film writer, Bhagwati Charan Varma, had actually given him the screen name “Dilip Kumar.”
In 1962, eminent British director, David Lean, had offered Dilip a key role in his movie “The Lawrence of Arabia,” but the choosy and selective Indian actor had refused to do so, paving way for the Egyptian Omar Sharif to perform in his place.
Very few would know that Dilip’s younger brother, Nasir Khan, had also played a role in Pakistan’s first film “Teri Yaad” in 1948.
Nasir is regarded as Pakistan’s first film hero, though he was not successful and only appeared in one more film – “Shahida” in 1949 – before sailing for neighbouring India.