The Indian comedian died on Wednesday July 7 at the age of 98. Nicknamed “The king of tragedy” in his country, he will have shot in more than half a century nearly sixty films.
Dilip Kumar, one of the biggest stars of the golden age of Indian cinema, died on Wednesday at the age of 98, a disappearance that sparked a shower of emotional tributes in the Indian cultural and political world. . With Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar was one of the three sacred monsters of the golden age of Bollywood, at the end of the partition between India and Pakistan in 1947 until the 1960s.
Nicknamed “the king of tragedyFor his natural gravity, he has shot in over half a century in nearly sixty films, starring in some of the most iconic Indian productions of the period. But he probably missed the opportunity for an international career by turning down David Lean’s offer to play Cherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia, released in 1962. It was finally Omar Sharif who accepted the role.
Mohammed Yusuf Khan, his real name, was born on December 11, 1922 in Peshawar, a city now located in northern Pakistan which was then part of British India.
His father, a fruit merchant, took his family to Bombay in the 1930s. The young man refused to take over the family business after being spotted by the actress Devika Rani who allowed him to shoot in 1944 in her first film, Jwar bhata. She persuaded him to change his name in order to get into the cinema without the knowledge of his father who did not approve of this career.
The aura of a huge actor
One of his most famous performances remains his role in Mughal-e-Azam, one of the greatest hits of Indian cinema released in 1960 which tells the legendary story of an impossible love between a Mughal prince and his slave.
In the 1970s, as a new generation of actors, like Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, emerged, he filmed less, even to the point of not appearing in any film for five years, before his return in 1981 with Kranti (Revolution), another success.
Unlike other Bollywood actors who have starred in hundreds of films, Dilip Kumar, while versatile in his roles, chose his projects carefully, which only strengthened his aura in a highly competitive film industry.
In the late 1990s, he became more involved in politics by agreeing to work for reconciliation between India and Pakistan. Two years later, he was elected parliamentarian from the ranks of the Congress Party, then in opposition.
Critically acclaimed, he kept saying he was amazed by his success. “Honestly, I still have a hard time understanding how a shy young man named Yusuf Khan became actor Dilip KumarHe declared to The Hindustan Times in an interview for his 85th birthday.
His death was announced on Wednesday “heart heavy with deep sadnessBy family friend Faisal Farooqui, who used the actor’s official account, who had been ill for several years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to him via Twitter: “ It was a legend of cinema because he was endowed with unparalleled brilliance. Its disappearance is a loss for our cultural world.“
Finally, the current great star of Indian cinema Akshay Kumar paid tribute to his illustrious predecessor in a vibrant eulogy: “In the eyes of the world, many more can be heroes. For us actors, he was The Hero.“