Shah Rukh Khan
Kader Khan

Hrishikesh Mukherji
Ramesh Sippy

Susheela Rani Patel
Manobina Roy
Talat Mehmood
Naushad Ali

Dilip Kumar on Rediff

The unbeatable combination


Which Dilip Kumar did you like best?



The man who belonged to acting

Lata Khubchandani

The thespian of Hindi cinema and one of the most versatile actors to hit the Indian screen, Dilip Kumar turns 80 December 11. He also completes nearly six decades in the film world this year.

As an actor, nothing could seduce him, not offers from the West or monetary baits to do a film he didn't want to do. At a get-together in [filmmaker] BR Chopra's house recently, he admitted he had never done anything for money: "I chose a few films and only those which would allow me to perform and give me something new to do."

Once he accepted a role he belonged to it. And this is a man who had no training in acting. Born in Peshawar in 1922, Dilip Kumar started his film career in 1944 with Jwar Bhatta.

He soon became a school of acting himself. He was known as the tragedy king. Take Arzoo, Jugnu, Daag, Footpath, Shikast, Babul, Sangdil. Or take Gunga Jumna, which may be classed as one of his most outstanding performances, but that would be possible only if one could forget films like Mughal-e-Azam, Devdas, Madhumati or Sagina.

Only Dilip Kumar could get away with buffoonery in songs like Saala main to saab ban gaya and the romance of Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe; the rustically endearing Gunga Jumna and Naya Daur; and the sophistication of Tarana. Only he could play royalty [Mughal-e-Azam] with the understated touch of a real prince.

He also had a near perfect timing for comedy. He could costar with the tragedy queen of Hindi films Meena Kumari in a film like Kohinoor and have audiences doubling over in laughter or do a Leader, one of the rare films that became a classic after it flopped.

Those days, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor formed the trinity of Indian cinema. Dilip was called Shahenshah-e-Jazbaat, the king of emotion. And what singled him out from his peers was his dialogue delivery.

He is also perhaps the only actor whose style is most copied, from Manoj Kumar and Rajendra Kumar, to Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.

Today, ill health is a constant companion. When Lata Khubchandani contacted him, his personal aide confessed the actor had two doctors attending on him. Below are a series of recent conversations with the thespian on the high points in his life:

It is said Bimal Roy's Devdas drove you to depression and you later sought counselling.

It was not just Devdas. It was a series of films I did around then. At my age, it wasn't right to do so many tragic films. If you recollect, the tragic heroes that adorned the Western screen were all middle-aged or even past middle age.

I was young. And when you are young, you work with a lot of interest and introspection, giving a lot of your spirit and emotions. It gets you down in the long run.

How many times can you conserve yourself to do a death scene and do it differently? How do you do it differently? You don't die the same way in all the films and in all the plays.

What made you take up Devdas?

It [Devdas] was a very moving piece of work. I had read it [Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel] earlier. One of my friends said, 'Do you like this character? I don't like it.'

I said why?

He said, 'There is a young man and the moment he faces life, he starts drinking and drinks himself to death.'

I said, 'Yes but it is a character study though it is not very constructive.'

My fear was if I have to die in all these films, it gets you down. Devdas, I think, was the zenith, though it was not more difficult than Andaz [1949] or Madhumati [1958].

You produced just one film, Ganga Jumna, which proved so successful and won you laurels.

I might have produced more films, but finding finance in those days was very difficult. I decided to concentrate on acting rather than getting into the tensions of production.

Thank God I didn't produce any more [films].

When you have a large family to look after, you don't take such risks. But I never took on a film just for the money it fetched me. There were many offers, but I chose to choose the films I wanted to do.

Your affection for [singer] Talat Mahmood is quite well known.

He sang for me with so much empathy that listeners often felt I was singing my own songs. No one had a voice quite like him and it suited my roles. When he sang Mitva laagi yeh kaisi anbujh pyaas [in Devdas], no one believed I didn't sing it. His voice complemented my roles.

You attended the summit between India and Pakistan.

It was a monumental occasion where we sat with the heads of the two countries and broke bread with them. I was invited. I went.

I was full of awe and dismay. Why couldn't they recognise the simple, human need between the two countries?

So much destruction has taken place between both the sides. Now they met as angels of peace. A lot of lessons were learnt; so many more unlearnt.



Astrology | Auto | Contests | E-cards | Food | Health | Home & Decor | Jobs | Lifestyle | Matrimonial
Money | Movies | Net Guide | Product Watch | Romance | Tech.Edu | Technology | Teenstation | Travel | Women
News | Cricket | Sports | NewsLinks
Shopping | Books | Music
Personal Homepages | Free Email | Free Messenger | Chat

HOME movies