||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
Dilip Kumar in 2006
|Born||Muhammad Yusuf Khan
December 11, 1922
Peshawar, British India
(now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
|Residence||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|Spouse(s)||Saira Banu (1966–present)
|Awards||Padma Vibhushan 2015|
Dilip Kumar (born Muhammad Yusuf Khan on 11 December 1922) is an Indian film actor also known as Tragedy King, and described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray. He debuted as an actor in the film Jwar Bhata in 1944 produced by Bombay Talkies. His career has spanned over six decades and with over 60 films. He starred in films of a variety of genres such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), the historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and the social Ganga Jamuna (1961).
In 1976, Dilip Kumar took a five-year break from film performances and returned with a character role in the film Kranti (1981) and continued his career playing leading roles in films such as Shakti (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). His last film was Qila (1998). Dilip Kumar has acted with actress Vyjayanthimala the most, where they both had acted seven films together including the former's home production Gunga Jamuna resulting in great on-screen chemistry and an alleged affair between them.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan award in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions towards Indian cinema and nominated him to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term. He is the first recipient of Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954) and still holds the record for the most number of Filmfare awards won for that category with eight wins. Critics acclaimed him among one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema. In a blog post, Amitabh Bachchan has described Dilip Kumar as the greatest actor ever.
Dilip Kumar was born Yusuf Khan into a Hindko-speaking Awan family of 12 children on 11 December 1922 at his house in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar, in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. His father, Lala Ghulam Sarwar, was a landlord and fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar and Deolali (in Maharashtra, India). Dilip Kumar did schooling from prestigious Barnes School, Deolali, near Nasik. In the late 1930s, his family of 12 members relocated to Mumbai. Around 1940, Dilip Kumar left home for Pune where he started his career as a canteen owner and a dry fruit supplier. In 1943, actress Devika Rani, who owned Bombay Talkies spotted Dilip Kumar in Aundh military canteens Pune, and cast him with a lead role in the film Jwar Bhata (1944), which marked Dilip Kumar's entry into the Hindi film industry. Hindi author Bhagwati Charan Verma gave him the screen name Dilip Kumar. It is believed that Dilip Kumar could speak a number of languages, including English, Persian, Hindi, Urdu, Hindko, and Pashto.
Dilip Kumar's first film, Jwar Bhata (1944) went unnoticed, it was Jugnu (1947) in which he starred alongside Noor Jehan that became his first major hit at the box office. His next major hit was the 1948 film Shaheed. He got his breakthrough role with Mehboob Khan's Andaz (1949) in which he starred alongside Raj Kapoor and Nargis in a love triangle story.
He went on to have success in the 1950s with playing leading roles in romantic films like Jogan (1950), Deedar (1951), Daag (1952), Devdas (1955), Yahudi (1958) and Madhumati (1958). He also played an anti-hero in Mehboob Khan's Amar (1954). These films established his screen image as the "Tragedy King". He also starred in many social drama films like Footpath (1953), Naya Daur (1957), Musafir (1957), Taraana (1951) and Paigham (1959). He was the first actor to win the Filmfare Best Actor Award for Daag and went onto win it a further seven times in his career. He formed popular on-screen pairings with many of the top actresses at the time including Madhubala, Nargis, Nimmi, Meena Kumari, Kamini Kaushal and Vyjanthimala.
In an attempt to shed his "tragedy king" image, Dilip Kumar took up his psychiatrist's suggestion that he take on lighthearted roles such as Mehboob Khan's blockbuster Aan (1952), his first film in technicolour in which he played a swashbuckling peasant. He had further success with lighter roles in Azaad (1955) and Kohinoor (1960) In 1960 he portrayed Prince Salim in K. Asif's big-budget epic historical film Mughal-e-Azam which as of 2008 was the second highest grossing film in Hindi film history. The film told the story of Prince Salim who revolts against his father Akbar (played by Prithviraj Kapoor) and falls in love with a courtesan (played by Madhubala). The film was mostly shot in black and white, only some scenes in the latter half of the film in colour. 44 years after its original release, it was fully colourized and re-released in 2004.
In 1961 he produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna in which he and his brother Nasir Khan played the title roles, this was the only film he produced. In 1962 British director David Lean offered him the role of "Sherif Ali" in his film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but Dilip Kumar declined to perform in the movie. The role eventually went to Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor. His next film Leader (1964) was a below average grosser at the box office. He was the co-director alongside Abdul Rashid Kardar of his next release Dil Diya Dard Liya in 1966 but was uncredited as director. In 1967 Kumar played a dual role of twins separated at birth in the hit film Ram Aur Shyam. In 1968 he starred alongside Manoj Kumar and Waheeda Rehman in Aadmi.
His career slumped in the 1970s with films like Dastaan (1972) and Bairaag (1976), the latter in which he played triple roles failing at the box office. He starred alongside his real-life wife Saira Banu in Gopi (1970), Bengali film Sagina Mahato (1970) and Bairaag (1976) but all three failed to do well at the box office. He took a five-year hiatus from films from 1976 to 1981.
In 1981, he returned to films with the multi-starrer Kranti which was the biggest hit of the year. Appearing alongside an ensemble cast including Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha, he played the title role as a revolutionary fighting for India's independence from British rule. He then formed a successful collaboration with Subhash Ghai starting with Vidhaata (1982) in which he starred alongside Sanjay Dutt, Sanjeev Kumar and Shammi Kapoor. Later that year he starred alongside the reigning superstar of the time Amitabh Bachchan in Ramesh Sippy's Shakti for which he won yet another Filmfare Award for Best Actor. In 1984 he starred in Yash Chopra's Mashaal and Ramesh Talwar's Duniya opposite Anil Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor respectively.
His second collaboration with Subhash Ghai came with the 1986 action film Karma. In this film, Kumar played a jailor who hires three men (played by Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor) to help him avenge his family's death by escaped terrorist Doctor Dang (played by Anupam Kher). This was also the first film which paired him opposite veteran actress Nutan.
In 1991, he starred alongside fellow veteran actor Raaj Kumar in Saudagar, his third and last film with Subhash Ghai. This was his second film with Raaj Kumar after 1959's Paigham. Saudagar was Kumar's last box office success and also his last film for several years. In 1993 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. He was attached to make his directorial debut with a film titled Kalinga but the film was eventually shelved.
In 1998 he made his last film appearance in Qila, where he played dual roles as an evil landowner who is murdered and his twin brother who tries to solve the mystery of his death.
In 2001 he was set to appear in a film titled Asar - The Impact alongside Ajay Devgan which was shelved. His films Mughal-e-Azam and Naya Daur were fully colorized and re-released in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
Other career highlights
- Kumar was very choosy, and turned down lead roles in many films which eventually were released to great box office success, including Lawrence of Arabia, Pyaasa and Sangam.
- Several of his films remain unreleased and unfinished such as Jaanwar, Shikwa and Aag Ka Dariya.
- During his career, Kumar was most often voiced by Mohammed Rafi. Others who provided his voice were Talat Mahmood, Mukesh (until 1958) and Kishore Kumar was chosen to playback the song "Saala Main To Saab Bangaya" for the film Sagina (1974).
He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994. In 1998 he was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award conferred by the government of Pakistan. He is the second Indian to receive the award. At the time of the Kargil War, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray demanded Dilip Kumar return his Nishan-e-Imtiaz, citing "that country's blatant aggression on Indian soil." Dilip Kumar refused, saying:
"This award was given to me for the humane activities to which I have dedicated myself. I have worked for the poor, I have worked for many years to bridge the cultural and communal gaps between India and Pakistan. Politics and religion have created these boundaries. I have striven to bring the two people together in whatever way I could. Tell me, what does any of this have to do with the Kargil conflict?"
Dilip Kumar was first in love with the actress Kamini Kaushal, but they could not marry due to her being married to her deceased sister's husband. Subsequently he was romantically involved with the actress Madhubala but they had to part ways as her family was opposed to their marriage. He married actress Saira Banu, who was 22 years younger than him, in 1966. He married a second time in 1980 to Asma but the marriage ended soon after. Dilip Kumar for first time in his life performed Umrah the holy pilgrimage to Makkah in 2013 along with his wife Saira Bano 
Around 10 September 2011 it surfaced that the health of Dilip Kumar is worsening. Some tweets even mistakenly spread news of his death. Later Saira Banu made a public statement that the actor is in good health and in high spirits. On September 15, 2013, the 90 year old Dilip Kumar suffered a silent Heart attack and was subsequently admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. On September 16, a Hospital statement said that his condition was stable and he was put under observation in ICU for 48 hours due to his bypass status and advanced age. He had undergone heart surgery 14 years before. In December 2014, Dilip Kumar has been hospitalized for pneumonia and admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai under ICU.
Awards and popularity
Dilip Kumar is widely considered as one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema. He holds the Guinness World Record for winning the maximum number of awards by an Indian actor. He has received many awards throughout his career, including 8 Filmfare Best Actor awards and 19 Filmfare nominations. He was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
Dilip Kumar was appointed Sheriff of Mumbai (an honorary position) in 1980, the Government of India honoured Kumar with the Padma Bhushan in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015. The Government of Andhra Pradesh honoured Kumar with NTR National Award in 1997. The Government of Pakistan conferred Kumar with Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award in Pakistan, in 1997. The ruling political party of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra had objected on this award and questioned Kumar's patriotism. However, in 1999 in consultation with the then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Kumar retained the award. He was honored with CNN-IBN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
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