“It surprised me a lot to see a man from NWFP (Dilip Kumar) speaking such a chaste Bhojpuri in ‘Ganga Jamuna’, says Amitabh Bachchan

Dilip Kumar, an actor par-excellence, is still alive, albeit with an attack of amnesia at times; the unparalleled, undisputed actor’s actor overshadowed the heroes cutting across four generations….he is indeed an institution in himself…


Dilip Kumar – the screen name of Yusuf Khan, a man who migrated from North West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) in an undivided India would never have thought that one day he would become the leading light of Hindi film industry. Since past six decades he entertained the audiences and comfortably ensconced in the heart of three generations.


The thespian is gifted with natural flair for acting. Whichever role this titanic actor essayed – he infused life into that. Whether it is the princely character of Salim – son of the great emperor Jalaal uddin Akbar in Mughal e Azam or intrepid mass mobiliser in Leader, Dilip Saab had left the baggage of his own personal traits behind and immersed in the character and left the audiences speechless.


“It pushed me into the whirlpool of surprise when watched a man from NWFP who had not even visited the Bhojpur belt in Uttar Pradesh could speak a chaste Bhojpuri in the legendary movie, ‘Ganga Jamuna’. It has created a benchmark for such outlaw’s –role,” said the megastar Amitabh Bachchan during a function where he was the chief guest.

Bachchan further said, “When the history of Bollywood would be written Dilip Kumar would be the pivot of the subject and it would be chronicled – pre-Dilip Kumar and post-Dilip Kumar era!”


Though, he was tagged ‘tragedy-king’ by the media due to his jilted-lover avatars in a plethora of movies, such as Devdas, Yehudi, etc. which is unfair for such a seasoned actor of his stature to compartmentalize his vast acting potential into a narrow tag. Just remember his comic sense in ‘Kohinoor’, ‘Sagina’, ‘Ram aur Shyam’ and a plenty of other movies, which had made audiences bust a gut laughing.


If Dev Anand played westernized Romeo with stylish delivery of dialogues with shaking head tilted to one side of the shoulder making him most sought after among bleary-eyed teens, Raj Kapoor relished a carefree desi socialist image, unlike his two equally charismatic contemporaries though Dilip Kumar enjoyed the image of a jilted lover in many of his movies with dropped jaw and drooping eyes, but was unaffected by any stereotype. He played a forlorn lover in Bimal Roy’s Devdas, one of his masterpieces, dacoit in Ganga aur Jamuna and a cop in Shakti, thus proving his immense comfort-level for any role which he was asked to essay. This reflected the versatility of the acting maestro.


Like others in the shimmering world of story-spinners, Dilip Kumar too succumbs to diva’s charm.  In a professional life that spanned around over fifty years, few names come to one’s mind – prominent among them was Madhubala. Dilip was reportedly having a torrid love affair with the gorgeous actress. By the time Mughal e Azam reached the production floor, the relation between the most beautiful woman of her time Madhubala and super-actor Dilip Kumar had soured to the extent of no-return point.  Still, they maintained professional relation on the floor.


Featured Retros