Guwahati: Bollywood’s legendary actor, philanthropist and former politician Dilip Kumar died at 98 after a prolonged illness.
The actor has left a void in cinema and a huge body of work behind, for future filmmakers and actors to learn from.
Popularly known as the ‘Tragedy King’ of Bollywood, Kumar was known as a method actor who was never limited to genres. In a career spanning more than five decades, the prolific legend was part of comedies, dramas, romance, and so on.
While the superstar has worked in over 65 movies in his five decades-long career, here is a look back on the few films that will long be remembered for his contribution to cinema.
‘Devdas’ — the painful saga of love and romance, which was based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel of the same name — has been till date regarded as one of the finest works of the superstar. The Bimal Roy directorial saw Kumar acing the role of a diehard lover on the road of destruction at hands of love and alcoholism.
The ultimate love story of Mughal prince Salim and a court dancer Anarkali was one of the most tragic films by the legendary superstar. His epic portrayal of the spoiled, self-indulgent and madly-in-love prince won the film several accolades including the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi in 1961.
The musical drama that emerged as the second highest-grossing film of the year 1950 saw a tragic love triangle between his character, the late dazzling diva Nargis and late actress Munawar Sultana. The heartwarming film that saw Dilip Kumar in the role of a postmaster hailing from a rich family was directed by director SU Sunny.
The social drama ‘Daag,’ produced and directed by Amiya Chakravarty, brought Dilip Kumar the first ever Filmfare Award in the main category of best actor. The film sees the rise of a poverty-stricken and alcoholic Shankar to a wealthy man who again moves towards the path of self-destruction as the family of the love of his life decided to marry her elsewhere. The film, however, ends on a good note with Shankar marrying his love interest and quitting alcohol thereafter.
One of the noted tragedies made in early Indian cinema ‘Deedar’ revolves around the unfulfilled love of Dilip Kumar’s character who was separated from him due to class inequalities. The film emerged as one of the most popular films of the golden era and established Kumar as the ‘King of tragedies.’ The film starred Nargis and Nimmi alongside Kumar.
Directed by BR Chopra, this romantic love triangle about two best friends falling in love with the same woman (Vyjayanthimala) was given a fresh lease in life due to the spectacular performances by the lead pair, led by Dilip Kumar. The story may be as old as the hills, but Dilip Kumar manages to sell it with his incredible on-screen charisma. He won his third Filmfare Best Actor Award in a row, thanks to this film.
If you are in the mood to see one of Hindi cinema’s first few re-incarnation dramas, then Dilip Kumar’s National Award-winning film ‘Madhumati’ cannot be missed. The tale of a young city-slick metrosexual Anand (Kumar) falling hopelessly in love with a tribal woman named Madhumati, played efficiently by Vyjayanthimala, and unable to culminate their romance forms the spine of this film. In 1958, it was one of the highest grosser and had a gothic-noir feel to it.
Ram Aur Shyam
Dilip Kumar plays a double role in this highly engaging film about twins separated at birth and who grow up in different worlds. This film also starring Waheeda Rehman and Mumtaz inspired several films such as Hema Malini’s ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’ in 1972 and late actress Sridevi’s 1989 blockbuster ‘Chaal Baaz’.
If you are keen to see two thespians – Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan – in the same frame for the first time, then ‘Shakti’ is your film. Directed by Ramesh Sippy and written by the hit Salim-Javed duo, it’s a perfect story about a warring father-son duo who are never on the same page. While Dilip Kumar steals the show with his stoic and overzealous police officer act, Bachchan – who plays his troubled son Vijay – holds his scenes well too. This film is a long-enduring testament to Dilip Kumar and Bachchan’s superlative acting prowess.
This rural drama set in Awadh in Northern India is the tale of two impoverished brothers Ganga and Jamna (Dilip Kumar and Nasir Khan) whose lives are eaten up by sibling rivalry. While Kumar plays a desperate dacoit criminal, the other is a police officer. The conflict among these two brothers is one of the strong points of this stirring rustic film.
Though the actor tried to work in a different genre of movies to do away with the tag of ‘The Tragedy King’, his epic portrayal in these films have been etched in the hearts of his fans and he is hence, to date remembered with the tag.
Kumar was last seen on the big screen in ‘Qila’ in 1998 and was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015.