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Dilip Kumar

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Title: Dilip Kumar  
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Subject: Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Raj Kapoor
Collection: 1922 Births, 20Th-Century Indian Male Actors, Dadasaheb Phalke Award Recipients, Filmfare Awards Winners, Hindi-Language Film Directors, Hindkowan People, Indian Actor-Politicians, Indian Film Directors, Indian Film Producers, Indian Male Film Actors, Indian Male Voice Actors, Indian Muslims, Indian People of Hindkowan Descent, Indian Sunni Muslims, Living People, Male Actors from Mumbai, Male Actors in Hindi Cinema, Nishan-E-Imtiaz, Nominated Members of the Rajya Sabha, People from Peshawar, Pseudonymous Artists, Rajya Sabha Members from Maharashtra, Recipients of Nishan-E-Imtiaz, Recipients of the Padma Bhushan, Recipients of the Padma Vibhushan, Sheriffs of Mumbai
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Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar
Dilip Kumar in 2006
Born Yusuf Khan
(1922-12-11) 11 December 1922
Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, British India
(now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Residence Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Hindko-speaking Awan[1]
Occupation Film actor
Years active 1944–1998
Religion Islam [2]
Spouse(s) Saira Banu (1966–present)
Asma (1979–1982)
Awards Padma Vibhushan 2015[3]
Padma Bhushan 1991
Dilip Kumar signature

Dilip Kumar (born Muhammad Yusuf Khan on 11 December 1922) is an Indian film actor also known as Tragedy King,[4] and described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray.[5] He debuted as an actor in the film Jwar Bhata in 1944 produced by Bombay Talkies. His career has spanned over six decades and with over 60 films. He starred in films of a variety of genres such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), the historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and the social Ganga Jamuna (1961).

Dilip Kumar has acted with actress Vyjayanthimala the most, where they both had acted seven films together including the former's home production Gunga Jamuna resulting in great on-screen chemistry and an alleged affair between them.

In 1976, Dilip Kumar took a five-year break from film performances and returned with a character role in the film Kranti (1981) and continued his career playing leading roles in films such as Shakti (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). His last film was Qila (1998). .[6][7]

He is the first recipient of Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954) and still holds the record for the most number of Filmfare awards won for that category with eight wins.[8] Critics acclaimed him among one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema.[9][10][11]

The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan award in 1991,[12] the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan[13] in 2015 for his contributions towards Indian cinema and nominated him to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term.

The Government of Pakistan honoured him with its highest civilian honour Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1997.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • 1940s 2.1
    • 1950s 2.2
    • 1960s 2.3
    • 1970s 2.4
    • 1980s 2.5
    • 1990s 2.6
    • 2000s 2.7
    • Other career highlights 2.8
  • Public life 3
  • Personal life 4
    • Illness 4.1
    • Scandals 4.2
  • Awards and popularity 5
  • Filmography 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Dilip Kumar was born Yusuf Khan into a Hindko-speaking Pathan[1][14] family of 12 children on 11 December 1922 at his house in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar, in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. His father, Lala Ghulam Sarwar, was a landlord and fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar and Deolali (in Maharashtra, India). Dilip Kumar did schooling from prestigious Barnes School, Deolali, near Nasik.[15] In the late 1930s, his family of 12 members relocated to Mumbai.

Around 1940, while still in his teens and after an altercation with his father, Dilip Kumar left home for Pune. With the help of an Iranian cafe owner, and an elderly Anglo-Indian couple, Kumar met a canteen contractor Taj Mohammad Shah, an acquaintance of his father from Peshawar days. Without letting on his family antecedents, he got the job on the merit of his knowledge of good written and spoken English. He managed to set up a sandwich stall at the army club and when the contract ended he headed home to Bombay having saved Rs. 5000.[16] In 1942, anxious to start some venture to help out his father with household finances, he met Dr. Masani at Churchgate Station, who asked him to accompany him to Bombay Talkies, in Malad. Here he met actress Devika Rani, owner of Bombay Talkies, who asked him to sign up with the company on a pay of Rs. 1250 per month.[17] Here he met actor Ashok Kumar who was to influence his acting style telling him to act "natural". He also met Sashadhar Mukherjee, and both these people became very close to Kumar over the years. Initially, Kumar helped out in the story-writing and scripting department because of his proficiency in Urdu language. Devika Rani requested he change his name from Yousuf to Dilip Kumar, and later cast him in a lead role for the film Jwar Bhata (1944), which marked Dilip Kumar's entry into the Hindi film industry.[17]



Dilip Kumar's first film, Jwar Bhata (1944) went unnoticed, it was Jugnu (1947) in which he starred alongside Noor Jehan that became his first major hit at the box office. His next major hit was the 1948 film Shaheed. He got his breakthrough role with Mehboob Khan's Andaz (1949) in which he starred alongside Raj Kapoor and Nargis in a love triangle story. Shabnam also released that year was also a hit.


He went on to have success in the 1950s with playing leading roles in romantic films like Jogan (1950), Tarana (1951) Hulchul (1951) Deedar (1951), Daag (1952), Devdas (1955), Yahudi (1958) and Madhumati (1958). He also played an anti-hero in Mehboob Khan's Amar (1954). These films established his screen image as the "Tragedy King". He also starred in many social drama films like Footpath (1953), Naya Daur (1957), Musafir (1957) and Paigham (1959). He was the first actor to win the Filmfare Best Actor Award for Daag and went onto win it a further seven times in his career.[18] He formed popular on-screen pairings with many of the top actresses at the time including Madhubala, Vyjayanthimala, Nargis, Nimmi, Meena Kumari, and Kamini Kaushal. In an attempt to shed his "tragedy king" image, Dilip Kumar took up his psychiatrist's suggestion that he take on lighthearted roles. In Mehboob Khan's blockbuster musical Aan (1952) he played a swashbuckling peasant in what marked his first film in technicolor. He had further success with lighter roles as a thief in Azaad (1955) and a royal prince in Kohinoor (1960)[18] In 1960 he portrayed Prince Salim in K. Asif's big-budget epic historical film Mughal-e-Azam which as of 2008 was the second highest grossing film in Hindi film history.[19] The film told the story of Prince Salim who revolts against his father Akbar (played by Prithviraj Kapoor) and falls in love with a courtesan (played by Madhubala). The film was mostly shot in black and white, only some scenes in the latter half of the film in colour. 44 years after its original release, it was fully colourized and re-released in 2004.


In 1961 he produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna in which he starred opposite his frequent leading lady, Vyjayanthimala and his brother Nasir Khan, this was the only film he produced. In 1962 British director David Lean offered him the role of "Sherif Ali" in his film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but Dilip Kumar declined to perform in the movie.[20] The role eventually went to Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor. Dilip Kumar comments in his much later released autobiography, "he thought Omar Sharif had played the role far better than he himself could have".[21]His next film Leader (1964) was a below average grosser at the box office.[22] He was the co-director alongside Abdul Rashid Kardar of his next release Dil Diya Dard Liya in 1966 but was uncredited as director. In 1967 Kumar played a dual role of twins separated at birth in the hit film Ram Aur Shyam. In 1968 he starred alongside Manoj Kumar and Waheeda Rehman in Aadmi.


His career slumped in the 1970s with films like Dastaan (1972) and Bairaag (1976), the latter in which he played triple roles failing at the box office. He starred alongside his real-life wife Saira Banu in Gopi (1970), Bengali film Sagina Mahato (1970) and Bairaag (1976) but all three failed to do well at the box office.[23][24] He took a five-year hiatus from films from 1976 to 1981.[25]


In 1981, he returned to films with the multi-starrer Kranti which was the biggest hit of the year. Appearing alongside an ensemble cast including Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha, he played the title role as a revolutionary fighting for India's independence from British rule.[26] He then formed a successful collaboration with Subhash Ghai starting with Vidhaata (1982) in which he starred alongside Sanjay Dutt, Sanjeev Kumar and Shammi Kapoor. Later that year he starred alongside the reigning superstar of the time Amitabh Bachchan in Ramesh Sippy's Shakti for which he won yet another Filmfare Award for Best Actor. In 1984 he starred in Yash Chopra's Mashaal and Ramesh Talwar's Duniya opposite Anil Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor respectively.

His second collaboration with Subhash Ghai came with the 1986 action film Karma. In this film, Kumar played a jailor who hires three men (played by Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor) to help him avenge his family's death by escaped terrorist Doctor Dang (played by Anupam Kher). This was also the first film which paired him opposite veteran actress Nutan.[26]


In 1991, he starred alongside fellow veteran actor Raaj Kumar in Saudagar, his third and last film with Subhash Ghai. This was his second film with Raaj Kumar after 1959's Paigham. Saudagar was Kumar's last box office success and also his last film for several years.[27] In 1993 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. He was attached to make his directorial debut with a film titled Kalinga but the film was eventually shelved.[28]

In 1998 he made his last film appearance in Qila, where he played dual roles as an evil landowner who is murdered and his twin brother who tries to solve the mystery of his death.


In 2001 he was set to appear in a film titled Asar — The Impact alongside Ajay Devgan which was shelved.[29] His films Mughal-e-Azam and Naya Daur were fully colorized and re-released in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

Other career highlights

  • Kumar was very choosy, and turned down lead roles in many films which eventually were released to great box office success, including Lawrence of Arabia, Pyaasa and Sangam.[30]
  • Several of his films remain unreleased and unfinished such as Jaanwar, Shikwa and Aag Ka Dariya.[30]

Public life

Kumar with Saira Banu in recent years

Dilip Kumar was nominated as Indian National Congress Candidate from Maharashtra State as member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term 03/04/2000 to 02/04/2006.[31]

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. At the time of the Kargil War, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray demanded Dilip Kumar return his Nishan-e-Imtiaz, citing "that country's blatant aggression on Indian soil."[32] Dilip Kumar refused, saying:

"This award was given to me for the humane activities to which I have dedicated myself. I have worked for the poor, I have worked for many years to bridge the cultural and communal gaps between India and Pakistan. Politics and religion have created these boundaries. I have striven to bring the two people together in whatever way I could. Tell me, what does any of this have to do with the Kargil conflict?"[33]

Dilip Kumar launched his Twitter account and his first tweet was on his 89th Birthday in 2011.[34][35]

Personal life

Dilip Kumar was first in love with the actress Kamini Kaushal, but they could not marry due to her being married to her deceased sister's husband.[36] Subsequently, he was also in love with the actress Madhubala but they had to part ways as her family was opposed to their marriage.[37][38] Vyjayanthimala, was Dilip Kumar's third love; they have denied any rumours of an affair. He married actress Saira Banu, who was 22 years younger than him, in 1966. He married a second time in 1980 to Asma but the marriage ended soon after.[39] Dilip Kumar for first time in his life undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2013 along with his wife Saira Banu [40]


Dilip Kumar at a wedding reception in November 2010

Around 10 September 2011 it surfaced that the health of Dilip Kumar is worsening. Some tweets even mistakenly spread news of his death.[41] Later Saira Banu made a public statement that the actor is in good health and in high spirits. On 15 September 2013, the 90-year-old Dilip Kumar suffered a silent Heart attack and was subsequently admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai. On 16 September, a Hospital statement said that his condition was stable and he was put under observation in ICU for 48 hours due to his bypass status and advanced age. He had undergone heart surgery 14 years before.[42] In December 2014, Dilip Kumar was hospitalized for pneumonia and admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai under ICU.[43]


Dilip kumar is very revengeful, sadist and selfish person. He financially spoiled his directors like Manmohan Desai, Chandra Barot and Kishore Sharma to name a few known cases.

He always made advances to his co-stars, and was revengeful if rebuffed.

excerpt from 1982 stardust: Manmohan Desai and his family of filmmakers were one of Dilip Kumar’s first victims. It is said that M.D’s father was one of the industry’s richest producers in his time. In fact, he had so much money, that he used to get his wardrobe specially flown in from the most expensive boutique in Paris! But, he made one mistake – he signed Dilip Kumar for one of his films and with it, he lost everything he had achieved and amassed in life. “That film never got made,” his son Manmohan Desai recalled sadly. “My father almost became a pauper.”

...Even his first begum Saira Banu will confirm this. “Saab is full of double standards,” she had said after the Asma-scandal broke out. “He knows that he has a blind following and he often takes advantage of this to get his own work done. He works so hard on his speeches and sways the masses with them. Even I was very impressed with his word. It was only after what he did to me (his second marriage), that I realized how empty and meaningless his speeches were. He never means what he says. His public image and the Yousuf Khan I now know are two completely different identities.”...

...Even women, especially his heroines, weren’t immune from Dilip Kumar’s petty grudges and revenge tactics. During his hey-days, Suraiya was probably the only top actress who didn’t send out feelers for films with him. Initially, intrigued by her indifference, Dilip requested K. Asif to cast them together. Suraiya accepted Janwar, but throughout the shooting, she stayed away from her co-star, ignored all his advances and was on her best professional behaviour. Humiliated by her blatant disinterest, Dilip got his own back in a way that fills Suraiya with disgust to this date....

...Mrs. Balsara pointed out that Dilip’s only grouse against their father was that when Dilip asked Madhubala to marry him immediately and stop working, their father had only insisted that she should complete all the films she had in hand first. “My father only told Dilip that he would not allow Madhu to ditch her producers. She would not sign any new films, but she had to complete her old commitments. Tell me was he wrong? But Dilip Kumar is a very revengeful man,” ...[44]

Awards and popularity

Dilip Kumar is widely considered as one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema.[9][10][11] He holds the Guinness World Record for winning the maximum number of awards by an Indian actor.[45][46] He has received many awards throughout his career, including 8 Filmfare Best Actor awards and 19 Filmfare nominations.[47] He was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.[48]

Dilip Kumar was appointed Sheriff of Mumbai (an honorary position) in 1980,[48] the Government of India honoured Kumar with the Padma Bhushan in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015. The Government of Andhra Pradesh honoured Kumar with NTR National Award in 1997. The Government of Pakistan conferred Kumar with Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award in Pakistan, in 1997. The ruling political party of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra had objected on this award and questioned Kumar's patriotism. However, in 1999 in consultation with the then Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Kumar retained the award.[49] He was honored with CNN-IBN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.[50]



  1. ^ a b "Peshawar’s contribution to subcontinent’s cinema highlighted".  
  2. ^ "Spiritually thrilled after Umrah, Dilip Kumar extends Makkah stay". Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Padma Awards 2015". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Tragedy king Dilip Kumar turns 88".  
  5. ^ "Unmatched innings".  
  6. ^ Suresh Kohli (8 January 2004). "Celebrating The Tragedy King".  
  7. ^ Coomi Kapoor (8 October 2007). "Personalised fiction, anyone?".  
  8. ^ "Dilip Kumar turns 86". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 11 December 2008. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Sharma, Vishwamitra (2007). Famous Indians of the 21st Century.  
  10. ^ a b Dawar, Ramesh (2006). Bollywood: yesterday, today, tomorrow. Star Publications. p. 8.  
  11. ^ a b A documentary on the life of Dilip Kumar. Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ramdev, Rajinikanth, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Advani, Amitabh Bachchan to get Padma awards".  
  14. ^ "‘The King of Tragedy’: Dilip Kumar’s 92nd birthday celebrated in the city". The Express Tribune. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Renuka Vyavahare, TNN 28 December 2011, 08.13PM IST (2011-12-28). "Here’s why Dilip Kumar speaks Marathi fluently! – Times Of India". Retrieved 2013-09-28. 
  16. ^ Kumar, Dilip (2014). The Substance and the Shadow an autobiography (1 ed.). India: Hay House India. p. 102.  
  17. ^ a b Kumar, ch. 9
  18. ^ a b ", Movies: Tragedy King Dilip Kumar". Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  19. ^ All Time Grossers. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  20. ^ "Dilip Kumar's Hollywood dis-connection". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Box Office 1964. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  23. ^ Box Office 1972. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  24. ^ Box Office 1976. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  25. ^ Meghnad Desai, Baron Desai (2004), Nehru's hero Dilip Kumar in the life of India, Lotus Collection, Roli Books, ISBN 978-81-7436-311-4.
  26. ^ a b Top Earners 1980-1989 (Figures in Ind Rs). Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  27. ^ Top Lifetime Grossers 1990-1994 (Figures in Ind Rs). Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  28. ^ Asif Noorani (11 December 2012). "Dilip Kumar: 90 fruitful years | Entertainment". Dawn.Com. Retrieved 2013-05-09. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^ "Alphabetical List Of Former Members Of Rajya Sabha Since 1952". Rajya Sabha Secretariat. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  32. ^ The Rediff Interview/ Dilip Kumar. Rediff. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  33. ^ ANALYSIS: Dilip Kumar turns 88. Daily Times. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  34. ^ "Dilip Kumar joins Twitter on 89th birthday".  
  35. ^ "Dilip Kumar reconnects with fans on Twitter".  
  36. ^ "'Excerpt from Dilip Kumar's Biography'".  
  37. ^ "'She loved Dilip Kumar till the day she died'".  
  38. ^ Kumar, Anuj (6 January 2010). "Capturing Madhubala’s pain".  
  39. ^ Bhatia, Ritu (2 September 2012). "Don't mind the (age) gap".  
  40. ^
  41. ^!/shiekhspear/status/112492760149409793
  42. ^ "Actor Dilip Kumar's Condition Stable after Silent Heart Attack". Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  43. ^ "Dilip Kumar is recovering; out of ICU". 9 December 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  44. ^
  45. ^ "Dilip Kumar is my idol and inspiration: Amitabh Bachchan — The Times of India". 11 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-06. 
  46. ^ Kumar-Guinness-World-Records-TV-show.htm Dilip Kumar on TV show?
  47. ^ "Things that u don't know about Filmfare Awards...(Part IV)". Sify Movies. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  48. ^ a b "Lifetime Achievement (Popular)". Filmfare Awards. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  49. ^ "Dilip Kumar decides to retain Nishan-e-Imtiaz".  
  50. ^ "IOTY 2008: ISRO boss, team Chandrayaan". CNN IBN. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 

External links

  • 92nd birthday of Dilip Kumar celebrated in his hometown Peshawar
  • Dilip Kumar House to be conserved
  • Iconic Dilip Kumar turns 90 today
  • Dilip Kumar at the Internet Movie Database
  • Dilip Kumar Twitter Account
  • Book on Peshawar Cinema legends highlights Dilip Kumar's contribution

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