Manoj Kumar like millions of aspiring actor of the 50s and 60s idolized the superstar of that era Dilip Kumar and aspired to become an actor. His obsession for Dilip Kumar was such that he had seen Dilip Kumar’s movie SHABNAM umpteen numbers of times and when he got the opportunity to become a hero he rechristened himself as Dilip Kumar, after Dilip’s character in SHABNAM.
July 24 marks the legendary actor and filmmaker Manoj Kumar’s birth anniversary; Glamsham.Com remembers him today and reveals his relation with thespian Dilip Kumar.
After years of struggle, Manoj Kumar became a star with HARIYALI AUR RASTA. In terms of histrionics he bluntly aped Dilip Kumar and was labeled his carbon copy, however as a filmmaker he was a genius.
Incidentally his brilliance as a filmmaker was first noticed by none other than Dilip Kumar. During the making of AADMI, that featured both Dilip Kumar and Manoj Kumar together for the first time, the two became close friends. In an interview Dilip Kumar said, “Just as I was myself involved in the process of making a film, I observed Manoj Kumar also taking similar interest.” He further added, “During the making of the film I was overwhelmed my Manoj Kumar’s excellent suggestions, be it in the screenplay or camera angles and I wondered he would excel at direction.”
Besides Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar was applauded by many of his co stars and filmmakers as well and encouraged him to venture into direction. Hence while AADMI was being made Manoj Kumar began his home production and directed UPKAAR, the movie that established Manoj Kumar, as a filmmaker par excellence. The movie fetched him both the Filmfare Best Movie Award and Best Director Award. What’s more, he even won the National Award for Best movie.
After UPKAAR, Manoj Kumar made many hit films like PURAB AUR PASCHIM, SHOR, ROTI KAPDA AUR MAKAAN etc.
In the mid-70s when Dilip Kumar took exile from Bollywood after the failure of his movies like DAASTAN, SAGINA, BAIRAAG etc., during this phase many filmmakers approached him with lucrative offers but he declined them all. However it was Manoj Kumar, who injected in him the energy with a dynamic central role in his movie KRANTI, which Dilip Kumar could not resist.
Recalling his first shot under the direction of Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar said, “On the first day of the shooting of KRANTI, Manoj had erected a huge set of a cave and was to shoot the crucial confrontation scene between Manoj and me. After the shot was ready and about to be canned, I looked through the camera to gauge how Manoj would capture the shot on celluloid. I was content and knew I was in the hands of an excellent director.”