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Dilip Kumar, Bollywood’s ‘Tragedy King’, passes away

The actor was 98

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 7, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago
Posted: Jul 7, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago

Dilip Kumar has passed away at the age of 98, Indian websites have reported.

According to ANI, his pulmonologist Dr Jalil Parkar at Mumbai’s PD Hinduja Hospital made the announcement.

“With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip Saab, few minutes ago,” came the post from his Twitter handle on behalf of manager Faisal Farooqui. “We are from God and to Him we return.”

Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “My heartfelt condolences to the family, friends & fans of Dilip Kumar ji. His extraordinary contribution to Indian cinema will be remembered for generations to come.”

He acted in more than 65 films over five decades and was known as the King of Sorrow.

Dilip Kumar was born Muslim, in Peshawar in 1922, where his family home still stands. His original name was Yusuf Khan. He took on the name Dilip Kumar when he joined Bollywood.

The “Tragedy King”

Dilip Kumar’s first film Jwar Bhata was released in 1944, but it went unnoticed. The actor had his first box office success Jugnu three years later. A string of hits followed: Mela (1948), Andaz (1949) and Deedar (1951). 

Dilip was anointed the “Tragedy King” of Bollywood with his 1955 release Devdas, in which he played the lead. He then chose light-hearted roles on the suggestion of his psychiatrist as tragic characters were taking their toll on him. Dilip appeared in Aan (1952), Azaad (1955), and Kohinoor (1960).

Superstardom and hiatus 

Dilip rose to superstardom with the historical drama film Mughal-e-Azam in 1960. It became the highest grossing film in the history of Indian cinema. Dilip’s first and only production Ganga Jamuna (1961) saw himself playing the lead alongside his brother Nasir Khan.

Dilip was one of the few actors to have been offered an international project: the role of Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Dilip declined the offer. He appeared in Ram aur Shyam in a dual role and the film went on to become a major hit.

Dilip’s career fluctuated in the 1970s, a period that saw new faces entering the industry. His films Dastaan (1970) and Bairaag (1976) failed to do well. He took a break from 1970 to 1981.

Return to acting and last release

Dilip returned to the big screen with his 1981 blockbuster Kranti, which reinstated his megastar status. He then went on to deliver several hits, including Shakti (1982), Vidhaata (1982), Mashaal (1984) and Karma (1986).

Dilip appeared with the late Raj Kumar in the hit Saudagar (1991). He was awarded his first Lifetime Achievement award for having completed 50 years in cinema two years later. Dilip tried his hand at direction with Kalinga in 1996, but the project was shelved and never saw the light of day.

He was last seen in Qila (1998).

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