Alvida Dilip Sa’b

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Gems on Dilip Kumar Sahab by Dastangoi The Art as a tribute to biggest actor of Hindi cinema.

The fount of Acting for all generations who came after him… The acme of grace, polish and sophistication…A reader and intellectual… The Social Activist, the anguished and vocal citizen, the relief worker… Aaj jo sarguzasht hai apni
Kal uski kahaniyan banengi
A compilation of tweets as a tribute by Dastangoi The Art.
Dastangoi is the lost art form of Urdu storytelling, Mahmood Farooqui and team are reviving it in modern times.

As he had long promised Raj Kapur danced on his knees for his beloved ‘Lalle’s wedding. Friends since College, Raj Kapur would always be surrounded by girls and invite a very shy Dilip Kumar to join him, but when Raj Kapur had a heart attack, while receiving his Dada Phalke award.

Dilip Kumar was away in Pakistan on a triumphant tour and so missed Raj Kapur‘s greatest moment of showmanship but went straight to the hospital on his return, and held Raj Kapur‘s hands and cried and cried and cried saying ‘Tu Mujhe Chhor ke Nahi Ja Sakta Raj’ Life imitates Art. After Raj Kapur watched Shakti he called Dilip Kumar from Chennai and said, ‘Lalle aaj faisla ho gaya, tu mujh se achha actor hai’

After his marriage Dilip Kumar became less available for friends, Dev Anand quipped ‘I left Yusuf in his bridal chamber and have not seen him since! 

Although Waheeda Rahman felt he began to play safe after a while, working only with set ups he was familiar with and said Satyajit Ray really wanted to work with him but Dilip Kumar didn’t respond warmly enough. On the other hand Dilip Kumar who hugely admired Satyajit Ray, said he really wanted to work with him, and with other Art directors but it was not possible for him to go to them with a begging bowl and say give me work, one has to chose from among the subjects one is offered and there is a great poverty of subjects in our cinema, he lamented. 

This is a problem for many mega stars, for an entire decade almost, Amitabh Bachchan only worked with Manmohan Desai and Prakash Mehra, refusing to venture out of his safety zone but Dilip Kumar genuinely loved western films, and once watched Ingrid Bergman‘s For Whom The Bell Tolls. He often saw multiple shows of a film he liked, and watched For Whom The Bell Tolls (Director: Sam Wood, Acted by: Ingrid Bergman & Gary Cooper; based on the Novel by Ernest Hemingway of the same name.) all three shows for seven days in a row, analyzing performances, shots, cuts. He was not a cinephile to begin with but came to study Hollywood with great keenness, but surely his world became more constricted after he became a super star and would have had difficulty accessing what we now call ‘World Cinema’ although he did work with Ritwik Ghatak, who shot most of Madhumati, having begun his career along side Bimal Roy under the great P C Barua of Naya Theatre.

It is nevertheless curious that for all his achievements, and closeness to Nehru, and even being a Nehruvian hero as Meghnad Desai put it, state honours came very late to Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapur got his Padam Bhushan in 1971, Dilip Kumar had to wait another two decades to get it. Dilip Kumar was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke, a full 28 years after the award had been instituted, and when he had long done all his great work, and AFTER it had been awarded to Naushad, Lata, Majrooh and Prithviraj Kapur among others, while Nargis received Padma Bhushan in 1957.

Dilip Kumar only worked on projects where his character was the film’s pivot, often re-writing films on the spot, and that’s why he could only work with Directors he trusted, since he co-created his films, in every sense of the term, from the story, to dialogues, to shot taking.

But he faced enormous difficulties while making Ganga Jamuna as a producer and ghost director, with the censors, with distributors and financiers and therefore he refrained from becoming a true auteur, a la Raj Kapur or Gurudutt, this was also the time when the Bengal police had accused Dilip Kumar and Mahboob Khan of spying against India and of keeping a secret transmitter at his house in the early 1960s, wholly bogus charges, levied by an East Pakistani refugee who worked briefly in Bombay, but even then, even despite being Dilip Kumar his religion could land him in trouble, as it did several times in his career, although he handled these grim situations with exceptional sagacity and wisdom, but the India after 1992, and especially after 2002, deeply worried him and therefore his passing may have been a relief to him.

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