Dilip Kumar Biography
Yusuf Khan was one of the greatest and most iconic Indian film actor and a former Member of Parliament. He lives in Pali Hill in the Mumbai suburb of Bandra. Acclaimed throughout his career span of 54 years, he has won an unparalleled eight Filmfare Best Actor Awards.
Starting his career in 1944, Dilip Kumar has starred in some of the biggest commercially successful films from the late 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1980s. His performances have been regarded as the epitome of emoting in Indian Cinema. He was the first actor to receive a Filmfare Best Actor Award and holds the record for most number of Filmfare Awards won for that category. Though he has done all kinds of films - he balanced a wide variety of roles such as the intense Andaz (1949) with the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955) with the comical Azaad (1955) and the historical romance Mughal E Azam (1960) with the social Ganga Jamuna (1961). In the 1970s roles dried up for Kumar and after 1976 he left films for a five year break. In 1981 he returned with a character role in the blockbuster film Kranti and continued his career playing central character roles in hits such as Shakti (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991) his last film was Qila in 1998. He has since retired from the industry.
He was born Muhammad Yusuf Khan, in Mohallah Khudadad, at the back of Qissa Khwani Bazaar in Peshawar,Pakistan, in the then Undivided India. Peshawar is part of Pakistan since 1947. Yusuf Khan was born in a Hindko-speaking Peshawari family of Afghan origin with twelve children. His father, Ghulam Sarwar was a fruit merchant and owned large orchards in Peshawar and Deolali in Maharashtra near Nashik. The family relocated to Mumbai in 1930s and in the early 1940s Yusuf Khan moved to Pune and started off with his canteen business and supplying dry fruits.
He was spotted in Crawford Market fruit stall which was run by his father, by a leading director from Bombay Talkies of those years, Amiya Chakravarty who was a protege of Devika Rani. Devika Rani, who was also the wife of the founder of Bombay Talkies, Himanshu Rai, and helped his entry into the Bollywood film industry. Mr.Amiya Chakravarty also gave him the screen name of Dilip Kumar and starred him in Dilip Kumar's first movie Jwar Bhata. Devika and her husband Roerich spotted the young and smart looking Yusuf Khan in one of Pune's Aundh military canteen.
His first film Jwar Bhata, was released in 1944 which went unnoticed. In 1947 he shot to prominence with working with the legendary singer/actor Noor Jahan who agreed to act opposite him in the film Jugnu which was his first major hit. In 1949, he co-starred with Raj Kapoor in the romantic melodrama film Andaz, which went to become a huge success and made him a star. Throughout the 1950s he was one of the biggest stars of Bollywood along with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand. He became known for playing tragic roles in popular films such as Deedar (1951), Amar (1954), Devdas (1955) and Madhumati (1958) which earned him the title of "tragedy king".
He was also successful in playing lighthearted roles such as playing a swashbuckling peasant in Aan (1952) and a comic role in Azaad (1955). In 1960 he starred in the historical film Mughal-e-Azam which is as of 2008, the second highest grossing film in Hindi film history inflation adjusted in which he played the role of the Mughal crown-prince Jehangir, the son of Akbar.
In 1961 he produced and starred in the hit Ganga Jamuna in which he and his real-life brother Nasir Khan played the title roles. Despite the film's success he did not produce any film after this. Dilip had a narrow brush with international fame in 1962, when British director David Lean offered him the role of Sherif Ali in his 1962 blockbuster, Lawrence of Arabia. However, Kumar declined the part. The role eventually went to Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor. After a brief period of box office flops in the mid 1960s, he bounced back when he played a dual role of twins separated at birth in the film Ram Aur Shyam (1967) which was one of the biggest box office hits of the year. The success of Ram Aur Shyam spawned a number of remakes and imitators.
In the 1970s Kumar acted in fewer films as newer actors such as Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan had begun to take the spotlight.
In 1976 film Bairaag in which he played triple roles did well, and then he took a five year break from acting.
He made a comeback in 1981 with the multi-starrer Kranti which was the biggest hit of the year. He went onto play character roles as an elderly family patriarch or a police officer in a string of box office hits including Shakti (1982) (in which he starred alongside the reigning superstar of the time Amitabh Bachchan), Vidhaata (1982), Mashaal (1984) and Karma (1986). In his last major successful film, Saudagar (1991) he appeared alongside another legendary actor Raaj Kumar after three decades since they last appeared together in Paigham (1959). In 1993 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1996 he was attached to make his directorial debut with a film titled Kalinga but the film was shelved. In 1998 he made his last film appearance to date in the box office flop Qila where in a rare form he played a villainous role. He has since retired from the film industry although he has continued to receive film offers in recent years but the films have either been shelved due to his indifferent health or because he refused them.
Some of his older films have been shown over and over again on television or cherished on VHS and DVD. A few of them, such as Devdas and Ram Aur Shyam have been re-made several times. His 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam, which was originally released in black-and-white with some colour scenes in the latter half of the film, was fully colorized in 2004 and re-released. Even in 2004, it did well at the box office. Another one of his classic films Naya Daur was colourized and released in August 2007. He is from golden era of actors like Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar is one of the last actors from the golden era of Bollywood.
He has been active in efforts to bring the people of India and Pakistan closer together. He has been a member of the upper house of Parliament since 2000 and is known for his extensive charity work..
He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994. In 1998 he was awarded the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civilian award conferred by the government of Pakistan. He is the second Indian to receive the award; the first was former Indian prime minister Morarji Desai. At the time of Kargil War Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray urged Dilip Kumar to return Nishan-e-Pakistan . Mr Thackeray said Dilip Kumar must give back the award as a mark of protest for Pakistan's intrusion into Indian soil in May. "He must return Nishan-e-Pakistan following that country's blatant aggression on Indian soil."
Dilip Kumar married actress and "beauty queen" Saira Banu in 1966 when he was aged 44 and she was 22. At the time, gossip columnists predicted doom for the high-profile couple, but the union has been one of the longest lasting marriages in Bollywood.
Dilip Kumar's younger brother Nasir Khan was also an actor and appeared opposite him in Ganga Jamuna (1961) and Bairaag (1976) as well as some other films in the late 1940s and 1950s. His career was not as successful however. He died in 1974. Nasir Khan's wife was 1950s actress Begum Para who recently made a comeback to films after 50 years in the film Saawariya in 2007.
Dilip Kumar was said to be romantically linked to the actress Madhubala. It is claimed that Madhubala's family would not allow the couple to marry; some conjecture that this was because Madhubala was the main source of income for her family. Dilip Kumar and actress Madhubala were to appear together in Naya Daur, but Madhubala's father refused to allow his daughter to act with Kumar. The producer B.R. Chopra took Madhubala to court and Dilip Kumar testified against her. The former sweethearts were now on extremely bad terms. This complicated work on the film Mughal-E-Azam, which had started filming before the court case. It is said that Kumar and Madhubala, who were supposed to portray persecuted lovers, resisted filming any more love scenes.
Dilip Kumar dies at the age of 98 due to age-related health issues.