GUWAHATI: Bollywood veteran Dilip Kumar passed away on Wednesday at the age of 98 years. He was undergoing treatment at Hinduja Hospital.
The actor was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) on June 30 due to age-related health issues. It was the second time he was admitted to the hospital in July. Earlier, he was rushed to hospital on June 6 when he complained of breathlessness.
Kumar was born on 11 December 1922 at his family home in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar, British India, one of the twelve children of Lala Ghulam Sarwar Khan and his wife Ayesha Begum. He was named Mohammad Yusuf Khan, His father was a fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar at thast time, and later in Deolali near Nashik.
Mohammad Yusuf Khan was schooled at Barnes School, Deolali, Nashik. He grew up in the same religiously mixed neighborhood as Raj Kapoor, his childhood friend, and later his colleague in the film industry.
Kumar’s first film was Jwar Bhata in 1944, which went unnoticed. After a few more unsuccessful films, it was Jugnu (1947), in which he starred alongside Noor Jehan, that became his first major hit at the box office. His next major hits were the 1948 films Shaheed and Mela. He got his breakthrough role in 1949 with Mehboob Khan’s Andaz, in which he starred alongside Raj Kapoor and Nargis. Shabnam also released that year was another box office hit.
Kumar went on to have success in the 1950s playing leading roles in several box office hits such as Jogan (1950), Babul (1950), Hulchul (1951), Deedar (1951), Tarana (1951), Daag (1952), Sangdil (1952), Shikast (1953), Amar (1954), Uran Khatola (1955), Insaniyat (1955) in which he co-starred with Dev Anand, Devdas (1955), Naya Daur (1957), Yahudi (1958), Madhumati (1958) and Paigham (1959). Some of these films established his screen image as the “Tragedy King”. Kumar briefly suffered from depression due to portraying many tragic roles and on the advice of his psychiatrist, he also took on light-hearted roles. Mehboob Khan’s big-budget 1952 swashbuckling musical Aan featured him in one of his first lighter roles and marked his first film to be shot in technicolor and to have a wide release across Europe with a lavish premiere in London. He had further success with lighter roles as a thief in the comedy Azaad (1955), and as a royal prince in the romantic musical Kohinoor (1960
He was the first actor to win the Filmfare Best Actor Award (for Daag) and went on to win it a further seven times. He formed popular on-screen pairings with many of the top actresses at the time including Vyjayanthimala, Madhubala, Nargis, Nimmi, Meena Kumari and Kamini Kaushal. 9 of his films in the 1950s were ranked in the Top 30 highest-grossing films of the decade.
In the 1950s, Kumar became the first actor to charge ₹1 lakh (equivalent to ₹85 lakh or US$120,000 in 2019) per film.
In 1960, he portrayed Prince Salim in K. Asif’s big-budget epic historical film Mughal-e-Azam, which was the highest-grossing film in Indian film history for 11 years until it was surpassed by 1971 film Haathi Mere Saathi and later by the 1975 film Sholay. If adjusted for inflation, Mughal-e-Azam was the highest-grossing Indian film through to the early 2010s, equivalent to over ₹1000 crore in 2011.
The film told the story of Prince Salim, who revolts against his father Akbar (played by Prithviraj Kapoor), and falls in love with a courtesan (played by Madhubala). The film was mostly shot in black and white, with only some scenes in the latter half of the film shot in colour. 44 years after its original release, it was fully colourised and re-released in 2004.
In 1961, Kumar produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna opposite his frequent leading lady Vyjayanthimala and his brother Nasir Khan, this was the only film he produced. Kumar chose the shade of saree that Vyjayanthimala would wear in every scene. In 1962, British director David Lean offered him the role of “Sherif Ali” in his film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but Kumar declined to perform in the movie. The role eventually went to Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor. Kumar comments in his much later released autobiography, “he thought Omar Sharif had played the role far better than he himself could have”. Kumar was also being considered for a leading role opposite Elizabeth Taylor in a film that Lean was working on called Taj Mahal, before the project was cancelled.
His next film Leader (1964) was a below average grosser at the box office. He was the co-director alongside Abdul Rashid Kardar of his next release Dil Diya Dard Liya in 1966, but was uncredited as director. In 1967, Kumar played a dual role of twins separated at birth in the hit film Ram Aur Shyam. In 1968, he starred alongside Manoj Kumar and Waheeda Rehman in Aadmi. That same year, he starred in Sunghursh with Vyjayanthimala which was their last film together which created a total of seven hit films together.
Kumar’s career slumped in the 1970s with films like Dastaan (1972) failing at the box office. He starred alongside his real-life wife Saira Banu in Gopi (1970). They were paired again in his first and only Bengali language film Sagina Mahato (1970). A Hindi remake Sagina was made in 1974 with the same cast. He played triple roles as a father and his twin sons in Bairaag (1976) which failed to do well at the box office. He personally regarded M. G. Ramachandran’s performance in Enga Veetu Pillai better than his role in Ram Aur Shyam. He regards his performance in Bairaag much higher than that of Ram Aur Shyam. Although his performance in Bairaag and Gopi were critically acclaimed, he lost many film offers to act in leading roles to actors Rajesh Khanna and Sanjeev Kumar, from 1968 to 1987. He took a five-year hiatus from films from 1976 to 1981.
In 1981, he returned to films as a character actor playing central roles in ensemble films. His comeback film was the star-studded Kranti which was the biggest hit of the year. Appearing alongside an ensemble cast including Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha, he played the title role as a revolutionary fighting for India’s independence from British rule. He then successfully collaborated with director Subhash Ghai starting with Vidhaata (1982), in which he starred alongside Sanjay Dutt, Sanjeev Kumar and Shammi Kapoor. Later that year he starred alongside Amitabh Bachchan in Ramesh Sippy’s Shakti which was a hit grosser at the box office and won him critical acclaim and his eighth and final Filmfare Award for Best Actor.In 1984, he starred in Yash Chopra’s social crime drama Mashaal opposite Anil Kapoor which failed at the box office but his performance was critically acclaimed. He also appeared alongside Rishi Kapoor in Duniya (1984) and Jeetendra in Dharm Adhikari (1986).
His second collaboration with Subhash Ghai came with the 1986 ensemble action film Karma. Karma marked the first film which paired him opposite fellow veteran actress Nutan. Three decades earlier however, they were paired together in an incomplete and unreleased film titled Shikwa. He acted opposite Nutan again in the 1989 film Kanoon Apna Apna.
In 1991, Kumar starred alongside fellow veteran actor Raaj Kumar in Saudagar, his third and last film with director Subhash Ghai. This was his second film with Raaj Kumar after 1959’s Paigham. Saudagar was Kumar’s last box office success. In 1993, he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the industry for five decades.
In 1992, producer Sudhakar Bokade announced a film titled Kalinga which would officially mark Kumar’s directorial debut after he had allegedly previously ghost directed Ganga Jamuna (1961) and Dil Diya Dard Liya (1967). Kumar was also set to star in the title role with the cast including Raj Babbar, Raj Kiran, Amitoj Mann and Meenakshi Seshadri. After being delayed for several years, Kalinga was eventually left incomplete and shelved.
In 1998, Kumar made his last film appearance in the box office flop Qila, where he played dual roles as an evil landowner who is murdered and as his twin brother who tries to solve the mystery of his death.
In 2001, Kumar was set to appear in a film titled Asar – The Impact alongside Ajay Devgan and Priyanka Chopra, which was shelved. His classic films Mughal-e-Azam and Naya Daur were fully colourised and re-released in cinemas in 2004 and 2008 respectively. An unreleased film he had shot and completed in 1990 titled Aag Ka Dariya was set for a theatrical release in 2013 but has not been released to date. He was also set to appear in Subhash Ghai’s war film, Mother Land, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, but this film was shelved after Khan decided to leave the project.
Kumar had fallen in love with Madhubala during the shooting of Tarana. They remained in a relationship for seven years until the Naya Daur court case, during which Kumar betrayed her by testifying against Madhubala and her father, ending their relationship. They never worked together again after Mughal-e-Azam (1960). In the late 1950s, Vyjayanthimala was linked by gossip magazines with Kumar, who has acted with her the most compared to any other actress, which resulted in great on-screen chemistry between them. While working for his home production Gunga Jumna (1961), it is said that Kumar handpicked the shade of sari that Vyjayanthimala would wear in every scene. In addition to that, film historians Bunny Reuben and Sanjit Narwekar have “confirmed” Kumar and Vyjayanthimala’s affair, stating that Vyjayanthimala was Kumar’s third love after Kamini Kaushal and Madhubala.
Kumar was fluent in Urdu, Hindi, Hindko (his first language), Punjabi, Marathi, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Pashto, Persian and the Awadhi and Bhojpuri dialects. He was also a great music enthusiast and also learnt how to play the sitar for a film. He loved cricket and played it often.
His younger brother Nasir Khan (1924–1974) was also a noted film actor. Two of his younger brothers died during the COVID-19 pandemic after testing positive for COVID-19: Aslam Khan died at the age of 88 in August 2020, and Ehsan Khan died at 90 in September 2020.
Dilip Kumar was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament of India, by the Indian National Congress for the period 2000–2006 from Maharashtra.
Kumar was appointed Sheriff of Mumbai (an honorary position) in 1980, the Government of India honoured Kumar with the Padma Bhushan in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015. The Government of Andhra Pradesh honoured Kumar with NTR National Award in 1997. The Government of Pakistan conferred Kumar with Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award in Pakistan, in 1998. The ruling political party of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra had objected to this award and questioned Kumar’s patriotism. However, in 1999 in consultation with the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Kumar retained the award. He was honoured with CNN-IBN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
The Government of India honoured Kumar with:
- 2015 – India’s second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, for his contributions towards Indian cinema
- 2000–2006 – Elected to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament.
- 1994 – Dadasaheb Phalke Award
- 1991 – India’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, for his contributions towards Indian cinema
- 1979–1982 – Appointed as the Sheriff of Bombay by the Governor of Maharashtra, India for the period
- 1998 – Government of Pakistan honoured him with its highest civilian honour, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence).
- Till 2000s Kumar was the only actors to have won 8 Filmfare Best Actor Awards until his record was shared by Shahrukh Khan by mid 2000s.
- From the Independence of India to late 2010s Kumar held the record of giving the highest number of box office grossing films(9 films) until his record was broken by Salman Khan by delivering 10 films. But when adjusted for inflation, the record remains with Kumar. His historical movie Mughal-E-Azam is the highest-grossing film (equivalent to 2000 crores in 2015) in India when adjusted for inflation.
Dilip Kumar filmography
The 1950s saw Kumar in a number of hits playing a variety of roles in films Jogan (1950), Babul (1950), Tarana (1951), Deedar (1951), Aan (1952), Footpath (1953) and Amar (1954). Kumar won the first-ever Filmfare Award in the Best Actor category for his performance in 1954 release Daag. Two years later, Kumar appeared as a wealthy man named Azaad in drama Azaad, which earned him the Filmfare Best Actor Award. Later he starred as a depressed lover in Devdas, which again earned him the Filmfare Best Actor Award for the consecutive year. Some of these films established his screen image as the “Tragedy King” because of his ill-fated characters in films. In the same year, Kumar’s 9 films were ranked in the Top 30 highest-grossing films of the decade.
In 1960, Kumar appeared in K. Asif’s big-budget epic historical film Mughal-e-Azam. He played Mughal Prince Salim, who falls in love with Anarkali (a court dancer, played by Madhubala), and later revolts against his father Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor). The film was successful at the box office earning a net revenue of ₹55 million (US$11,530,000).The film became the highest-grossing film of all time. Kumar produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna opposite his most frequent leading actress Vyjayanthimala. He then played dual roles in drama Ram Aur Shyam (1967), a film remembered for Dilip Kumar and Pran’s acting. It earned him his six Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Kumar’s career slumped with films like Dastaan (1972), which flopped badly at the box office.
In 1981, Dilip Kumar appeared in historical drama Kranti, he played the title role as a revolutionary fighting for India’s independence from British rule. Dilip Kumar successfully collaborated with director Subhash Ghai in films Vidhaata (1982), action film Karma, and Saudagar. Kumar made his last film appearance in Qila. His two films Aag Ka Dariya and Kalinga, are completed but remain unreleased for unknown reasons.
|1944||Jwar Bhata||Jagdish||Amiya Chakravarty|
|1947||Jugnu||Suraj||Shaukat Hussain Rizvi|
|1948||Ghar Ki Izzat||Chander||Ram Daryani|
|Mela||Mohan||S. U. Sunny|
|Anokha Pyar||Ashok||M. I. Dharamsey|
|Nadiya Ke Par||Chhote Kumar||Kishore Sahu|
|1950||Jogan||Vijay||Kidar Nath Sharma|
|1951||Hulchul||Kishore||S. K. Ojha|
|Tarana||Dr. Motilal||Ram Daryani|
|1952||Daag||Shankar||Amiya Chakravarty||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Sangdil||Shankar||R. C. Talwar|
|Aan||Jai Tilak||Mehboob Khan|
|1953||Shikast||Dr. Ram Singh||Ramesh Saigal|
|1955||Devdas||Devdas||Bimal Roy||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Azaad||Kumar / Azaad / Abdul Rahim Khan||S. M. Sriramulu Naidu||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Uran Khatola||Kashi||S. U. Sunny|
|Insaniyat||Mangal||S. S. Vasan|
|Naya Daur||Shankar||B. R. Chopra||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1958||Yahudi||Prince Marcus||Bimal Roy|
|Madhumati||Anand / Deven||Bimal Roy||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1959||Paigham||Ratan Lal||S. S. Vasan||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1960||Kohinoor||Yuvraj Rana Devendra Pratap Bahadur / Kohinoor||S. U. Sunny||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Mughal-E-Azam||Prince Salim||K. Asif|
|1961||Gunga Jumna||Gungaram ‘Gunga’||Nitin Bose||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1964||Leader||Vijay Khanna||Ram Mukherjee||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1966||Paari||Warden (cameo)||Jagannath Chatterjee||Bengali film|
|Dil Diya Dard Liya||Shankar / Raja Sahib||Abdul Rashid Kardar / self||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1967||Ram Aur Shyam||Ram / Shyam (Double Role)||Tapi Chanakya||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1968||Aadmi||Rajesh / Raja Sahib||A. Bhimsingh||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Sunghursh||Kundan Prasad / Bajrangi||Harnam Singh Rawail||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Sadhu Aur Shaitaan||Himself||A. Bhimsingh||Uncredited|
|1970||Sagina Mahato||Sagina Mahato||Tapan Sinha||Bengali film|
|Gopi||Gopiram “Gopi”||A. Bhimsingh||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1972||Dastaan||Diwan Anil Kumar / Sunil Kumar / Judge Vishnu Sahay||B. R. Chopra|
|Anokha Milan||Warden||Jagannath Chatterjee||Cameo|
|1974||Sagina||Sagina Maheto||Tapan Sinha||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Phir Kab Milogi||Teja Singh||Hrishikesh Mukherjee||Special appearance|
|1976||Bairaag||Kailash / Bholenath “Bhola” / Sanjay||Asit Sen||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1982||Shakti||D.C.P. Ashwini Kumar||Ramesh Sippy||Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Vidhaata||Shamsher Singh / Shobhraj||Subhash Ghai|
|1983||Mazdoor||Dinanath Saxena||Ravi Chopra|
|1984||Mashaal||Vinod Kumar||Yash Chopra||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|Duniya||Mohan Kumar||Ramesh Talwar|
|1986||Dharm Adhikari||Dharamraj||K. Raghavendra Rao|
|Karma||Jailor Vishwanath Pratap Singh / Rana / Dada Thakur||Subhash Ghai|
|1989||Kanoon Apna Apna||Collector Jagat Pratap Singh||B. Gopal|
|1990||Izzatdaar||Brahma Dutt||K. Bapaiah|
|1991||Saudagar||Thakur Veer Singh||Subhash Ghai||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actor|
|1998||Qila||Judge Amarnath Singh / Jagannath Singh||Umesh Mehra|