Dilip Kumar dead – Bollywood’s ‘Marlon Brando’ who starred in 65 films dies aged 98 as Indian PM leads tributes

BOLLYWOOD icon Dilip Kumar who has been hailed as one of India’s greatest actors has died today in a Mumbai hospital aged 98.

Kumar was one of the big names who dominated the golden age of Indian cinema from the 1940s to the 1960s, enjoying a career spanning more than 50 years and nearly 60 films.

Dilip Kumar, one of Bollywood's most accomplished and respected film stars died on today aged 98


Dilip Kumar, one of Bollywood’s most accomplished and respected film stars died on today aged 98Credit: Reuters
He played the lead in some of the Indian film industry's most commercially successful films


He played the lead in some of the Indian film industry’s most commercially successful filmsCredit: Reuters

Kumar was hospitalized twice last month after he complained of breathlessness, and his family tweeted with a heavy heart and profound grief the announcement of his passing.

Dilip Kumar will be remembered as a cinematic legend. He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled.

As one of the country’s earliest method actors, he was often compared to Marlon Brando, another early adopter of the technique.

In his autobiography, he said: “I learned the importance of studying the script and characters deeply and building upon my own gut observations and sensations about my own and other characters.”

Paying tribute Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “His passing away is a loss to our cultural world.”

His passing away is a loss to our cultural world

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mod

Meanwhile, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: “An institution has gone,”

“Whenever the history of Indian Cinema will be written, it shall always be before Dilip Kumar, and after Dilip Kumar ..”

Kumar was born Muhammad Yusuf Khan, a Muslim, on December 11, 1922.

His Pathan family hailed from Peshawar, in what became Pakistan after Partition, and he visited his ancestral home in the late 1980s.

He changed his name as he debuted in Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry centered in Mumbai, with Jwar Bhata, or Sea Tides, in 1944.


His career spanned over six decades with over 60 films. His first major box-office hits were Jugnu, or Firefly, in 1947 in which he starred alongside Noor Jehan, and the 1948 film Shaheed, or Martyr.”

He played a variety of characters a romantic hero in Andaz, a swashbuckler in Aan, a dramatic drunkard in Devdas, a comic role in Azaad, a Muslim prince in the historical epic Mughal-e-Azam and a robber in the social movie Ganga Jamuna.

Mehboob Khans blockbuster Aan in 1952 was his first film in Technicolor and was among a string of light-hearted roles he took at the suggestion of his psychiatrist to shed his Tragedy King image.

He starred in many social drama films like Footpath, Naya Daur (“New Era”), Musafir (“Traveller”) and Paigham (“Message”) in 1950s.

His top female co-stars included Madhubala, Nargis, Nimmi, Meena Kumari, Kamini Kaushal and Vyjanthimala.

In 1966,Dilip Kumarmarried Saira Banu, who was 22 years younger than him, and the couple acted in Gopi,” Sagina Mahato and Bairaag. They had no children.

In 1961, he produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna in which he and his brother Nasir Khan played the title roles. It was the only film he produced. Indian media reports say he declined the role of Sherif Ali in David Leans “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1962. The role went to Egyptian actor Omar Sharif.

He took a break in the late ’70s but returned with a character role in the successful Kranti,” or Revolution in 1981. He continued playing key roles in films such as Shakti, Karma and Saudagar. His last film was Qila (“Fort”) in 1998.

In 1994, he was given the “Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest honor for contributions to Indian cinema. He also served in the upper house of Indian Parliament after being nominated for a six-year term.

More to follow…

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