It indeed is fortuitous that when the Hindi cinema is celebrating the 100th year of its existence, the thespian aka Dilip Kumar who is considered as a reference point for approaching the craft of acting is celebrating 90th birthday today. He would be one of the longest living legends associated with the world of cinema perhaps anywhere in the world.
No wonder, his place of birth, Peshawar in Pakistan has also risen to honour the son of the soil, and celebrate this monumental milestone that Dilip Kumar has achieved in his life. As a matter of fact there is one agency in Pakistan which is trying to acquire the paternal houses of Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor in Pakistan to convert it into a museum as a tribute to the contribution these two sons of soil have made towards the cause of cinema. Cinema indeed, cannot be restricted to geographical boundaries, and the melting of the restriction is catalyzed by the performances that the legends give to the audience which serves as the catalyst and increases the fan following.
Dilip Kumar is considered a thespian and a role model as though he was associated with the world of cinema since 1944 when he made his debut with JWAR BHATA he only acted in 60 films as Dilip Kumar never did a film in a hurry, he always prepared himself for the role and practiced the maxim that an actor cannot enter into the skin of the character that he has to enact on the screen until and unless he prepares for it. Therefore, though his films might have flopped in cases, his roles that he enacted are always remembered with fondness and awe.
Such was his perfection in the craft that he could smoke cigarette in 11 different ways, was an expert kite flyer, and could whip up a number of tricks through playing cards. He is the only actor alive now who has seen the world of Hindi cinema grow through him till the time he decided to hang his boot after his QILA in 1998.
CHECK OUT: Dilip Kumar to receive Bimal Roy Trophy
An example of his mastery of craft can be given to the role of ‘Devdas’ that he had enacted in Bimal Roy directed DEVDAS. There are 11 different versions of DEVDAS made so far, but whenever DEVDAS as a film is brought into discussion among the aficionados of cinema, it is Dilip Kumar’s DEVDAS that was talked with fondness.
When he started enacting character roles, it was the golden phase of his acting career, and the performances that he gave in SAUDAGAR along with Rajkumar, in KRANTI with Manoj Kumar and in SHAKTI with Amitabh Bachchan are considered as few of the best performances that Hindi cinema has ever seen. In this category name of VIDHAATA also need to be added as the timing and flair for comedy that he displayed along with Shammi Kapoor and the ruthlessness of a Don that he oozed reminds one of the performances that Marlyn Brando did in GODFATHER.
As long as the world of cinema is alive, Dilip Kumar’s name would be taken with reverence. May he live to complete 100 years.