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An era comes to an end: Dilip Kumar passes away at 98

Known as the 'tragedy king', Dilip Kumar has left behind a rich legacy of cinema. Team NewsFile

July 7: India woke up to the shocking news on Wednesday of the legendary actor Dilip Kumar passing away at 98 in Mumbai’s Khar Hinduja Hospital. He left behind a legacy that spans over six decades and is so rich that it can never be fulfilled. 

Mohammed Yusuf Khan, known professionally as Dilip Kumar, passed away on July 7 due to prolonged illness. 

The news of Kumar’s demise was confirmed by Dr. Jalil Parkar, the pulmonologist treating the actor at Mumbai’s PD Hinduja Hospital. Kumar is survived by his wife Saira Banu, who is also a renowned actor.

Dilip Kumar no more

“With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip Saab, a few minutes ago. We are from God and to Him we return,” his family friend Faisal Farooqui posted on Kumar’s Twitter account.

 He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a non-COVID-19 hospital in Mumbai’s suburban Khar on June 29 following complaints of breathlessness as a “precautionary measure”. This had come 10 days after he was discharged.

On June 6, he was admitted to the same hospital due to episodes of breathlessness. He was then diagnosed with bilateral pleural effusion — a build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs and underwent a successful pleural aspiration procedure, news reports had suggested earlier.

The legacy

Known as the ‘tragedy king’, Dilip Kumar was born in the Qissa Khwani Bazaar area of Peshawar (now in Pakistan) and made his film debut with Jwar Bhata (1944). However, his first box office hit came in the form of Jugnu in 1947.

He was one of the last surviving stars of the Hindi film industry’s 1940s–1960s ‘Golden Age’. In his career, he gave several hits including Mughal-e-Azam, Devdas, Naya Daur and Ram Aur Shyam. His last big screen appearance was the 1998 film Qila.

PM Modi pays tribute

From the Prime Minister to members of the Indian film industry, tributes poured in for Dilip Kumar on social media.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered him as a “cinematic legend.” 

“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,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

 President Ram Nath Kovind said the “thespian’s charm transcended all boundaries, and he was loved across the subcontinent.” 

“Dilip Kumar summarised in himself a history of emerging India. The thespian’s charm transcended all boundaries, and he was loved across the subcontinent. With his demise, an era ends. Dilip Saab will live forever in the heart of India. Condolences to family and countless fans,” he tweeted. 

The “acting institution” 

Amitabh Bachchan tweeted that with the death of Dilip Kumar, an ” institution has gone.” Quite rightly so. Dilip Kumar could convey with a look what many had to deliver with pages full of dialogue.

Who can forget Dilip Kumar as young prince Salim in Mughal-e-Azam. His mute frustration – as a prince in love with a nautch girl, but duty-bound to his father the emperor – is palpable on the screen in an unforgettable love story.

His charm has earned him lifelong fans. Satyajit Ray called Dilip Kumar the ultimate method actor. Whether he was a man caught between two women and needed to do the right thing, or he played a journalist, yelling into the dark night for help for his dying wife, Dilip Kumar was known for his tragic roles (Andaz, et al), and comedies too!

Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, director Hansal Mehta, the defence minister Rajnath Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, actress Nimrat Kaur, Sonu Sood, Suhel Seth, comedian turned actor Vir Das were the first to post about the veteran’s demise, offering their prayers for his soul.

Awards and accolades 

Dilip Kumar is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour, as well as the Nishan-e-Imtiaz – one of the highest civil decorations conferred by Pakistan.

Fluent in his first language Hindko, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Marathi and English, among others, Kumar won the ‘Best Actor’ Filmfare Award a record eight times and was honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994.

Team NewsFile