Legendary celeb veteran actor Dilip Kumar (also fondly called Yusuf-saab) turns 98 years ‘young’ today! As informed by his charismatic, charming (former lead film-actress) wife Saira Banu, this year there would “no celebrations”. – by Chaitanya Padukone
my brothers-in-law (Ehsan-bhai and Aslam-bhai) lost their lives due to the corona infection
Explains the dignified Saira-jee, “This year 2020 has been so terrible. Besides the sense of prevailing gloom everywhere, my brothers-in-law (Ehsan-bhai and Aslam-bhai) lost their lives due to the corona infection. Frankly speaking, Dilip-sahab never plans anything for his own birthday. It is a very super-joyous event for all of us, but for him, it’s just that he has turned a year older. Sahab’s legion of loyal fans and well-wishers call up and send messages and even huge flower-bouquets. Since the lock-down in March end, we have both been in self-isolation at our Bandra bungalow”
the modest Dilip-saab was known for his flawless Urdu-Hindi dialogue delivery
discloses the graceful Saira-jee Hailed by every superstar hero and top actors as their ‘acting-Guru’ right from Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, from Dharmendra to Rajesh Khanna, and from Anil Kapoor to Anupam Kher, the modest Dilip-saab was known for his flawless Urdu-Hindi dialogue delivery, his agile dancing and of course his sterling award-winning performances in a variety of contrasting screen-characters.
As a film-journalist, I had the privilege to meet the iconic Dilip-saab personally at least 15 times either at film parties (‘Lekin’ movie music-launch where he was the chief guest), on the sets of his movies ‘Mazdoor’ (1983), and ‘Duniya’ (1984) or at his bungalow and even at pre-release private parties of his movie ‘Izzatdaar’(1990), hosted by producer Sudhakar Bokade.
“Janaab, pataa nahin kyon, people have frequently tagged me only as the ‘tragedy King’,” Dilip Kumar
What struck me was Dilip-saab always ensured that he put the person or group of people sitting across at ease, with his witty sense of humour and by sharing funny jokes. I still recall him saying “Janaab, pataa nahin kyon, people have frequently tagged me only as the ‘tragedy King’. Even film-distributors used to be ‘dying’ (curious) to know at private preview-shows of my movies whether my screen-character dies or gets killed in the climax. At the same time I have acted in numerous breezy movies like ‘Azaad’ (1955) and ‘Aan’ (1952), where there is no tragedy,” he would laugh.
“Do you know why badminton is a romantic game?” Dilip Kumar asked
Being an ardent sports-lover Dilip-saab used to be an excellent badminton-player and he had his own select filmy group-team. Once Dilip-saab quizzed me, “Do you know why badminton is a romantic game? Because the game-score starts with ‘Love All’ followed by ‘Love One’,” quipped the thespian super-actor who has enacted ‘triple roles’ of a father and his twin sons in ‘Bairaag’ (1976) and dynamic contrast ‘double-roles’ in the landmark movie ‘Ram Aur Shyam’ (1967) which was the obvious inspiration for four more similar-subject movies including Hema Malini’s ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’(1972)! Here’s wishing revered iconic actor Dilip-saab a cheerful, healthy, long life ahead!