Can you think of a better scene in Hindi cinema than a romantic Dilip Kumar (prince Salim in K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam) caressing the radiant beauty Madhubala (Anarkali in Mughal-e-Azam) with a feather? This scene is from one of Indian cinema’s greatest movies ever made, Mughal-e-Azam (1960). But alas, Dilip Kumar is no more. He passed away on July 7 at the age of 98.
Dilip Kumar aka Mohammed Yusuf Khan was born on 11 December 1922. Generally referred to as the ‘Tragedy King’ and ‘The First Khan’, Dilip Kumar has been credited for bringing a distinct form of method acting technique to the cinema. In fact, he holds the record for most wins for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor (now equalled by Shah Rukh Khan). Interestingly, he was also the inaugural recipient of the award.
Dilip Kumar debuted with Jwar Bhata (1944). He worked in more than 60 films in his brilliant career spanning over five decades. Some of his seminal works include Andaz (1949), Aan (1952), Daag (1952), Devdas (1955), Azaad (1955), Madhumita (1958), Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Gunga Jamuna (1961) and Ram Aur Shyam (1967). It was Jugnu (1947) that became his first major hit at the box office. His next major hits were Shaheed (1948) and Mela (1948).
Other unforgettable films include Kranti (1981), Shakti (1982), Mashaal (1984), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). Kumar’s last film was Qila (1998).
Andaz was one of the Hindi film industry’s first love triangle films. He played the negative character with elan. His superb performance in Devdas earned him respect and rewards. Asked to share the screen with the towering Prithviraj Kapoor in Mughal-e-Azam, he rose to the challenge. He played his part (Prince Salim, son of Akbar, played by the bombastic Kapoor) superb.
In 1966, he married actress Saira Bano. Kumar is widely considered one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema. He died at Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai.