Legendary actor Dilip Kumar, known for his tragic roles, passed away on July 7, 2021 at the age of 98. Born Mohammed Yusuf Khan in 1922 in Peshawar, Kumar made his film debut with Jwar Bhata (1944). He acted in 65 films in a career spanning five decades with Qila (1998) being last film. His legacy will live on through his iconic roles and films. We revisit some of those here.
This Bimal Roy film based on Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel of the same name won many accolades and Dilip Kumar’s performance is considered as one of his finest. He gave an earnest performance as the doomed lover in this saga of romance and pain.
Daag is a story of a man who goes from crumbling under pressure to reforming himself to falling down miserably to redeeming himself again. No wonder, this role got Dilip Kumar his first award for Best Actor.
One of the best musicals of all time in Hindi cinema, Mughal-e-Azam had Dilip Kumar portraying the role of Prince Salim, son of Mughal emperor Akbar. All the main roles played by Prithviraj Kapoor as Akbar, Dilip Kumar as Salim and Madhubala as Anarkali have a legacy of their own. The film won the National Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
Naya Daur (1957)
An old tale of two guys falling for the same girl. What infused life into this story was the performances of all the actors with Dilip Kumar leading the way. This was Dilip Kumar’s second film after Mughal-e-Azam to be colorized and re-released in 2007.
Ram Aur Shyam (1967)
A comedy-drama, Ram Aur Shyam saw Dilip Kumar playing a double-role. He played two starkly different characters, Ram a shy man and Shyam a mischievous man. The two brothers get separated at birth and later in life come face to face. Since then many actors have played double-roles in Hindi cinema, not many have aced the roles like Dilip Kumar.
This noir-gothic reincarnation film written by Ritwik Ghatak started a trend of reincarnation films in Bollywood. Dilip Kumar played a double-role here too, but this time he was playing a reincarnated character. Film’s songs like Suhana Safar Aur Yeh Mausam Haseen and Chadh Gayo Papi Bichhua still remain fan favorites.
It could have been possibly a first, two male stars Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar would be seen together on screen. Dilip (Dilip Kumar) falls in love with Neena (Nargis) only to realize that she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings and has a fiancé Rajan (Raj Kapoor). Kumar received a lot of admiration for his intense role. Little did anyone know at that time that the actor would become a legendary ‘Tragedy King’.
This film is one of the best stories of a warring father-son duo. And two greats of Hindi cinema Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan played these roles. Shakti is written by the legendary screenwriter duo Salim-Javed and directed by Ramesh Sippy. If one wishes to see how two actors can play off each other while holding their own space in a scene, Shakti is a must watch.