Indian cinema legend Dilip Kumar dies at 98 Wed, 07 Jul 2021 08:00:00 +0100-The star was a defining figure in post-independence Indian cinema and was one of the country's first method actors.
Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar, who was a defining figure in post-independence Indian cinema, has died aged 98.
Kumar had been taken to hospital in Mumbai last week suffering breathlessness, but died early Wednesday morning. “He passed away due to prolonged illness at 7.30am,” Dr Jalil Parkar of Mumbai’s Hinduja hospital said.
Kumar’s death was confirmed by a family friend who posted on Twitter on Wednesday: “With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip saab a few minutes ago. We are from God and to him we return.”
The news of Kumar’s death sent shockwaves of grief through India. Nicknamed “the tragedy king”, he had been a beloved figure in Bollywood across generations and was one of India’s first method actors in the late 1950s, claiming he had adopted the technique before Marlon Brando.
The prime minister, Narendra Modi, was among those to offer their condolences for Kumar’s death. “Dilip Kumar Ji will be remembered as a cinematic legend. He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled,” Modi said in a tweet.
“His passing away is a loss to our cultural world. Condolences to his family, friends and innumerable admirers.”
Kumar’s best known films from his five-decade long career included Devdas, Naya Daur (New Age), Ram Aur Shyam, Madhumati and Mughal-e-Azam, which was released in 1960, took eight years to make at a cost of 15m rupees and remains one of the biggest-grossing Bollywood films of all time.
Kumar, whose real name was Yusuf Khan, was born in 1922 in pre-independence India in the city of Peshawar, which is now part of Pakistan, the son of a fruit merchant and one of 12 children. After moving to Bombay, now Mumbai, Kumar fell into acting accidentally as a means to make money, but in 1947 his films began garnering critical acclaim.
His career took off and alongside Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. Kumar became one of the three big names who dominated the golden age of Indian cinema from the 1940s to the 60s.
Kumar’s career suffered a lull in the 70s, when a new generation of actors such as Amitabh Bachan stole the limelight, but he reinvented himself in the 80s and 90s with roles in big blockbusters such as Kranti, Karma and Shakti, though was still known for being selective in his choice of roles.
Kumar starred in his last film in 1998 and then began moving into politics, becoming a legislator for the opposition Congress party. However, he became a politically divisive figure when he accepted the highest civilian honour from the Pakistan government in 1998, and was deemed a traitor to India and anti-national. He refused to return the reward.
Towards the end of his life, Kumar was showered with awards recognising his contribution to Indian cinema. In 2006, he accepted a lifetime achievement award at India’s National Film Awards in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema, and last year the Guinness Book of World Records recognised him for having a record-breaking number of best actor awards.
Dilip Kumar, Bollywood legend and 'tragedy king' of Indian cinema … Wed, 07 Jul 2021 08:00:00 +0100-Kumar, whose real name was Mohammad Yusuf Khan, died in the western city of Mumbai, his family said.
Dilip Kumar, one of Indian cinema’s most iconic actors, has died in the western city of Mumbai, his family said. He was 98 and ailing for some time.
“With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip Saab, few minutes ago,” Faisal Farooqui posted on Kumar’s official Twitter on Wednesday.
The veteran actor is survived by his 76-year-old wife Saira Banu, a former Bollywood actress.
Kumar starred in some of Indian cinema’s most successful films, including, Mughal-e-Azam, Devdas, Naya Daur (New Era), Ram Aur Shyam and Madhumati.
Nicknamed “The Tragedy King” with his brooding good looks, tousled hair and deep voice, he enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years and nearly 60 films.
With Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor, Kumar was one of the three big names who dominated the golden age of Indian cinema from the 1940s to the 1960s.
The actor was born Mohammad Yusuf Khan on December 11, 1922, in Peshawar city, now in Pakistan. His father was a fruit merchant who took his family to India’s entertainment capital in the 1930s.
Kumar’s screen name was suggested by Devika Rani, who cast him in his first movie, Jwar Bhata (Sea Tide), in 1944.
Although Jwar Bhata flopped and leading film magazines criticised his performance, Kumar was undeterred and eventually broke through with the 1946 film Milan.
Among his most remembered roles was in the lavish historical romance, Mughal-e-Azam, based on the lives of Mughal emperors Akbar and his son Jahangir.
The movie, released in 1960, was eight years in the making and cost a whopping 15 million rupees, but soon became one of Bollywood’s biggest-grossing films of all time.
Kumar’s first major box-office hits were Jugnu (Firefly) in 1947 in which he starred alongside Noor Jehan, and the 1948 film Shaheed (Martyr).
He played a variety of characters – a romantic hero in Andaz (Gesture) a swashbuckler in Aan (Pride), a dramatic drunkard in Devdas, a comic role in Azaad (Free), a Muslim prince in the historical epic Mughal-e-Azam, and a robber in the social movie Ganga Jamuna.
Mehboob Khan’s blockbuster Aan in 1952 was his first film in Technicolor and was among a string of light-hearted roles he took at the suggestion of his psychiatrist to shed his “Tragedy King” image.
He starred in many social drama films like Footpath, Naya Daur (New Era), Musafir (Traveller) and Paigham (Message) in the 1950s.
His top female co-stars included Madhubala, Nargis, Nimmi, Meena Kumari, Kamini Kaushal and Vyjanthimala.
In 1966, Dilip Kumar married Banu, who was 22 years younger than him, and the couple acted in Gopi, Sagina Mahato and Bairaag. They had no children.
In 1961, he produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna in which he and his brother Nasir Khan played the title roles. It was the only film he produced.
The 1970s saw fewer roles, as younger actors such as Amitabh Bachchan took centre stage.
He even took a five-year break after a string of flops, returning in 1981 with the hit, Kranti (Revolution), and a part alongside Bachchan in, Shakti (Strength), the following year, plus a string of character roles.
But he missed out on international fame after turning down the chance to play Sherif Ali in David Lean’s 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia. The part went to an Egyptian actor Omar Sharif.
After a series of poorly received films, he took up a more active role in politics in 1998.
The same year, he received the highest civilian honour in Pakistan, angering Hindu nationalists. Two years later, he became a legislator for the opposition Congress party in the upper house of Indian parliament after being nominated for a six-year term.
In 1994, he was given the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest honour for contributions to Indian cinema.
In his condolence tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Kumar a “cinematic legend” who was “blessed with unparalleled brilliance”.
Modi said Kumar’s death was a “loss to our cultural world”.
Unlike many actors who appeared in hundreds of films, the versatile Kumar carefully selected those, by Indian standards, which only increased his stature in the fiercely competitive industry.
In 2006, he accepted a lifetime achievement award at India’s National Film Awards in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema.
Yet he still admitted that he was baffled by his success.
“Honestly, I’ve still to figure out how an intensely shy young man called Yusuf Khan became the actor Dilip Kumar,” he told The Hindustan Times in an interview to mark his 85th birthday.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies
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– July 7, 2021
Dilip Kumar Bollywood legend and tragedy king39; of Indian cinema