Interview : Udaya Tara Nayar


‘Dilip Kumar cried like a child when Raj Kapoor
passed away’

Udaya Tara Nayar, a veteran journalist and writer, these days is busy with the release of autobiography on Dilip Kumar called ‘Substance And The Shadow’ that is all set to be launched on June 9, 2014 by Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan. Narrated by the thespian the book has been documented by Udaya Tara Nayar, who is a close friend of Dilip Sahab, who knows her for over two decades.

In an exclusive interview with Glamsham, Udaya Tara Nayar talks about the autobiography and why it is special.


A lot has been written and re-written about Dilip Sahab so what makes this autobiography special?
The highpoint of the autobiography is that it is for the first time the thespian has spoken about his life from the day he was born to the present times. The story has not been told to anyone. This is the first time he is talking about his life, his mother, his father, his sisters and brothers, the people who influenced and changed his life.

What else is in store for the readers that will excite them?

The other attraction of the autobiography is the interesting graph of his life journey which moves from one place to another. He was born in Peshawar in undivided India. Then he moved to Deolali, when he was seven years old. Later he came to Mumbai and then from Mumbai to Pune and back to Mumbai and entered films. Thus, the autobiography has a story that has a captivating graph and that is the beauty of the book because the background changes with every chapter. It goes to Madras to Bhutan to London. Thus, the autobiography has a geographical graph too.

According to you which part is most exciting in the autobiography?
The most special part of the autobiography is the story how he married Saira Banu because there were many speculations and myths associated with their marriage. The book discloses the real truth.

‘Saira Banu is a real life Savitri’

Who proposed first, Dilip Sahab or Saira Banu ji? When did Saira ji first encountered Dilip Sahab?
The proposal first came from Dilip Kumar. During the making of RAM AUR SHYAM, Dilip Sahab proposed to Sairaji and when the movie was in the mid-way the two tied the nuptial knot.

Sairaji first saw Dilip Sahab at a party when she was quite young and had not entered films. She found Dilip Sahab as a very different person and secretly fell in love. Her love for Dilip Sahab is a mythological kind of sacred love. The kind of love story we heard in childhood about Savitri and Satyavan. I think Saira Banu is a real life Savitri.

What does the title ‘Substance And The Shadow’ signify?
The title has been given by Dilip Sahab. He told me that Yusuf Khan is substance and Dilip Kumar is his shadow because when we walk our shadow grows larger than our actual image. Similarly Dilip Kumar has become bigger than Yusuf Khan.

CHECK OUT: Saira Banu – Dilip Kumar’s story is a stimulating 

Dilip Sahab is always referred as ‘Thespian’, how did this term come up and who coined it?
The word ‘Thespian’ refers to high caliber of acting and was used to describe actor’s par excellence, working in plays during the Shakespearean era. Since Dilip Kumar is the only actor to have the highest caliber of acting, hence somebody from the media used the term to describe his talent.

The media has always framed Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor as rivals. Does the autobiography clears on it?

Yes, contrary to the popular belief generated by the media, the book highlights about their treasured friendship. Dilip Sahab speaks very lovingly and affectionately about Raj Kapoor. They were neighbors in Peshawar. In Mumbai they both attended the same college and played football together. In fact, while in college Raj Kapoor used to recommend Dilip Sahab to join films, praising his chiseled features. Admiring their friendship, Sairaji says that there have been just two occasions when Dilip Sahab has cried like a child, once at the demise of his younger brother Nasir Khan (who played the second lead in GUNGA JUMNA) and second when Raj Kapoor passed away.

The book has a chapter by Rishi Kapoor where he speaks about the eternal friendship of Dilip Sahab and his dad Raj Kapoor.

‘Aamir Khan is the true blue successor of Dilip Kumar’

The name Dilip Kumar was suggested by eminent Hindi author Bhagwati Charan Varma. How much is this true?
In the book, Dilip Sahab haven’t mentioned anything like that. He only says that before the release of JWAR BHATA, Devika Rani called him in her office and suggested him that she desires to change his name. Dilip Kumar took time to think and later agreed as he felt Devika Rani’s decision was right.

Dilip Sahab had the privilege of working with all the great actors including Amitabh Bachchan in SHAKTI. Does he regret not working with the three Khans of Bollywood?

I don’t think so.

But there were rumors that Subhash Ghai was planning a movie with the trio Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan?

It would have been wonderful to see the trio together on screen but it is unfortunate it didn’t happen. But one actor of second generation who is very much like Dilip Kumar is Aamir Khan. He is following the footsteps of Dilip Sahab and can be rightly termed as the true blue successor of Dilip Kumar. Aamir khan tries to be different as Dilip Sahab used to do. His TV show ‘SATYAMEV JAYATE’, was Dilip Sahab‘s favourite show and he used to watch it regularly.

In SHAKTI, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan acted for the first time but the movie bombed at box-office. Does he regret its failure?

Dilip Sahab has no regrets. He is a person who moves on when one film is over to another. Nevertheless, he has spoken about the movie in the book.