India lost yet another gem this year – Dilip Kumar, the legendary Indian actor has died in Mumbai at the age of 98.
The late actor had acted in more than 65 films, in nearly five decades. He played roles that ranged from iconic to endearing.
On June 30, Kumar was admitted to the hospital, after he complained of breathlessness. Moreover, he had been often ill for several months.
He used to live with his wife, Saira Banu, a Bollywood actress herself. The couple has no children.
His burial took place in Mumbai on Wednesday with full state honours. Numerous members of the film fraternity and fans gathered at Juhu Kabristan, to bid him an emotional farewell.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray along with several Bollywood stars, including Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor was seen paying their condolences to Kumar’s family.
Social media was overflowing with tributes for the legendary actor – politicians, Bollywood stars and even historians have tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted:
“Dilip Kumar Ji will be remembered as a cinematic legend. He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled. His passing away is a loss to our cultural world. Condolences to his family, friends and innumerable admirers. RIP”.
Dilip Kumar was a Muslim, born as Yusuf Khan in December 1922 in Peshawar – now in Pakistan – before the partition.
He took a Hindu name when he joined the Hindi film industry, just like some of his Muslim colleagues.
He debuted in 1944 in Jwaar Bhata but it was the 1949 hit, Andaz, that shot him to fame. The blockbuster love triangle also starred Nargis and Raj Kapoor, who went on to become celebrated actors.
Lord Meghnad Desai, Kumar’s biographer compared him to Hollywood’s great Marlon Brando or Italian legend Marcello Mastroianni.
“Dilip Kumar was arguably the best actor Indian cinema has produced. There are stars, some even bigger than him, but no better actor. He was the finest tragic actor of his days but also succeeded at comedy,” he said.
His superhit films – Mela, Naya Daur, Ganga Jumna, Devdas and Mughal-e-Azam – won him legions of fans.
He played a gamut of roles including a villager, a polished urbanite, a Bengali gentleman and a daring hero, before moving to play older, supporting roles in the 1970s, Mr Desai said.
“More than his list of films and his box office popularity, Dilip Kumar reflected India’s political and social evolution through his films,” he said.
He continued – “As independent India grew, prospered, ran into difficulties and faced challenges, Dilip Kumar’s roles told the story as it unfolded.”
Kumar was honoured with significant film awards and two of India’s highest civilian awards.