Guwahati: Bollywood’s tragedy king Dilip Kumar’s ultimate demise on Wednesday has created a void for the movie industry and his fans. Kumar, 98, breathed his last after being admitted to the hospital due to age-related medical issues.
The passing of Yusuf Khan, popularly known as Dilip Kumar or Dilip Saab, was not only mourned widely by the actors and fans of the veteran star but also by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Soon after, Google searches for Shah Rukh Khan-Dilip Kumar spiked in India. And on Twitter, photos, and videos of the two Khans together began trending on Wednesday.
Apart from sharing many similarities among them, ‘The First Khan’ played Devdas to perfection in 1955. Khan portrayed the same character inspired by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel later in 2002. By 2020 both the actors shared the top spot for most Filmfare awards for Best Actor: 8. Kumar was born on December 11, 1922, to Lala Ghulam Sarwar, a fruit merchant in Peshawar. Within the 200m radius of Kumar’s house was SRK’s ancestorial home located, a BBC report from 2012 stated.
But it was beyond Bollywood and the Peshawar roots. Shah Rukh Khan, in a 2017 interview with Filmfare, said that while working with Ketan Mehta years ago, he saw a photo of Kumar in his office and thought it was him. “I saw a picture of Dilip Kumar in his (Ketan Mehta) office and I was like oh! that’s me. He looked so much like me in that picture. Or rather I looked so much like him.”
In the interview, Khan revealed that his mother loved Dilip Kumar and felt her son looked like the ‘Andaz’ actor. Khan also added that Saira Banu and Kumar thought of him as their son.
It was in 2016 when Shah Rukh Khan visited an ailing Dilip Kumar and spent time with him. Remembering this incident, Saira, in a 2017 interview, had said that they address Shah Rukh Khan as their ‘mooh bola beta’.
“I even saw him chanting a dua under his breath and blowing it on Saab’s face. He was there for Saab’s 89th birthday too and sat close to us, holding his hand and mine,” Mumbai Mirror quoted Banu as saying.
Earlier that year, photos of Shah Rukh Khan visiting an ailing Dilip Kumar also made waves on the microblogging site Twitter. Khan kissed Kumar on his forehead and the hearts of fans of both the actors swole in happiness.
Not only SRK, but his daughter Suhana Khan, too, had visited Dilip Kumar. Saira Banu described her as a ‘tall and beautiful young girl’.
During an interview with Mumbai Mirror in 2017, Banu had opened up about the first meeting between Kumar and SRK. She recalled that it was at the muhurat of Hema Malini’s directorial debut, Dil Aashna Hai, for which Shah Rukh was signed. Banu revealed that Kumar had given the ceremonial clap for the film.
“I have always said that if we had a son, he might have looked like Shah Rukh… Both he and saab (Dilip Kumar) are a lot alike and have similar hair, which is why I like to run my fingers through Shah Rukh Khan when we meet,” Banu told Mumbai Mirror as she recounted her first meeting with Shah Rukh Khan during the “muhurat” of ‘Dil Aashna Hai’ which was attended by her husband Dilip Kumar as well.
It is also said that Shah Rukh had taken Kumar’s autograph on a life-size poster of Madhubala and Salim. The poster has been mounted in his screening theatre.