Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar
Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar in 2006.
Born Yusuf Khan
11 December 1922 (1922-12-11) (age 88)
Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, British India
Residence Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Other names Dilip Sahaab
Occupation Actor, Producer, Director, Politician
Years active 1944–1998 (retired)
Religion Islam
Spouse Saira Banu (1966–present)

Muhammad Yusuf Khan[1] (Urdu: يوسف خان) (Hindi: यूसुफ़ ख़ान) (born 11 December 1922),[2] popularly known with nickname Dilip Kumar (Hindi: दिलीप कुमार), is an Indian actor and a former Member of Parliament. He lives in Pali Hill, Bandra in Mumbai, India. He is commonly known as "Tragedy King",[3] and is described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray.[4]

Starting his career in 1944, Kumar's career has spanned five decades and over 600 films. He is widely considered to be the greatest actor in the history of Hindi Cinema.[5][6][7] Kumar was the first actor to receive a Filmfare Best Actor Award and holds the record for the most number of Filmfare Awards won for that category along with Shahrukh Khan; 8 wins.[8] He starred in a wide variety of roles 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). In 1976, Kumar had a five-year break from film performances. In 1981, he returned with a character role in the film Kranti and continued his career playing central character roles in films such as Shakti (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). His last film was Qila in 1998. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1991 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.


Early life

Dilip Kumar was born Muhammad Yusuf Khan at Mohallah Khudadad, in Qissa Khwani Bazaar in Peshawar, British India (now Pakistan). He was born to a Pathan/Pakhtun Peshawari family with twelve children. His father, Lala Ghulam Sarwar, was a fruit merchant who owned large orchards in Peshawar and Deolali in Maharashtra near Nashik. The family relocated to Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1930s and in the early 1940s Yusuf Khan moved to Pune and started a canteen business and supplying dried fruits.[9]

In 1943, actress Devika Rani, who was also the wife of the founder of the Bombay Talkies film studio, Himanshu Rai, helped Khan's entry into the Bollywood film industry. Hindi Author Bhagwati Charan Varma gave him the screen name Dilip Kumar and gave him the leading role in his film Jwar Bhata (1944). Devika Rani and her husband Svetoslav Roerich spotted Khan in one of Pune's Aundh military canteens.[9]


His first film with Nisar Bhai and Hamed Bhai Jwar Bhata was released in 1944 which went unnoticed. His first major hit was the 1947 film Jugnu. He appeared in many hits thereafter including the romantic melodramas Mela (1948), Andaz (1949), Deedar (1951), Daag (1954), Devdas (1955), Yahudi (1958) and Madhumati (1958). These films established his screen image as the "Tragedy King".[10]

He also played lighthearted roles in films such as Aan (1952), Azaad (1955) and Kohinoor (1960). In 1960 he portrayed Prince Salim in the historical film Mughal-e-Azam which as of 2008 was the second highest grossing film in Hindi film history.[11]

In 1961 he produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna in which he and his real-life brother Nasir Khan played the title roles. This was the only film he produced. In 1962 British director David Lean offered him the role of Sherif Ali in his 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia, but Kumar declined the part.[12] The role eventually went to Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor. His next film Leader (1964) was below average at the box office.[13] In 1967 Dilip Kumar played a dual role of twins separated at birth in the hit film Ram Aur Shyam. His career slumped in the 1970s with films like Dastaan (1970) and Bairaag (1976) where he played triple roles failing at the box office.[14][15] He took a five year hiatus from films from 1976 to 1981.[9]

In 1981 he returned with the multi-starrer Kranti which was the biggest hit of the year.[16] He went onto play character roles in hit films including Shakti (1982), Vidhaata (1982), Mashaal (1984) and Karma (1986).[16] In 1991 he starred alongside veteran actor Raaj Kumar in Saudagar which was his last successful film.[17] In 1993 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996 he was attached to make his directorial debut with a film titled Kalinga but the film was shelved. In 1998 he made his last film appearance in the unsuccessful film Qila where once again he played dual roles as an evil landowner and his twin brother investigating his death. His films Mughal-E-Azam and Naya Daur were fully colorized and re-released in 2004 and 2008 respectively.


Dilip Kumar had three voices during his Bollywood career.

  • Talat mahmood Dilip Kumar's first voice
  • Mukesh till 1958The Dilip-Mukesh combi had to break up because Mukesh was the main voice of his competitor Raj Kapoor

Public life

Kumar has been active in efforts to bring the people of India and Pakistan closer together. He has been a member of the upper house of Parliament since 2000.[9]

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 Kumar return his Nishan-e-Pakistan, arguing that "He must return Nishan-e-Imtiaz following that country's blatant aggression on Indian soil."[18] 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?"[1]

Personal life

Kumar married actress and beauty queen Saira Banu in year 1966 when he was aged 44 and she was 22. His brothers are Nasir Khan, Ehsan Khan and Aslam Khan.[19] Kumar's younger brother Nasir Khan was also an actor and appeared opposite him in Ganga Jamuna (1961) and Bairaag (1976).

Ill health rumours

Around September 10, 2011 it surfaced that the health of Dilip Kumar is going on worsening. Some incredible tweets even mistakenly spread news of his death.[20]
Later Dilip Kumar's wife Saira Banu, made a public statement that the actor is good in health and in high spirits. She quoted in a public statement:

"I am releasing this statement with a tinge of displeasure because this is not the first time such a rumour has spread without any basis, reason or cause. I have been woken up from sleep at odd hours this time and on previous occasions by phone calls seeking to know the fact and my staff and close friends have also had to answer calls at odd hours just because some sadistic mind has been at work and has triggered a distasteful rumour."[21]

Legacy and awards

Dilip Kumar is widely considered to be one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi Cinema.[5][6][7] Kumar holds the Guinness World Record for having won the maximum number of awards by an Indian actor.[22] He has received many awards throughout his career, including 8 Darsh Award for Best Actor awards and 19 nominations.[23] He was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.[24] The Government of India honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994[1] - the highest award for cinematic excellence in India. In 1980, he was appointed Sheriff of Mumbai, an honorary position. In 1991, he was awarded Padma Bhushan from the Government of India.[25] In 1997, Kumar was awarded, Nishan-e-Pakistan, Pakistan's highest civilian award.

He received in 1997 the NTR National Award. He was also awarded CNN-IBN Indian of the Year - Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.


Year Film Role Awards
1944 Jwar Bhata Jagdish
1945 Pratima
1947 Milan Ramesh
Jugnu Sooraj
1948 Shaheed Ram
Nadiya Ke Paar
Mela Mohan
Ghar Ki Izzat Chanda
Anokha Pyar Ashok
1949 Shabnam Manoj
Andaz Dilip
1950 Jogan Vijay
Babul Ashok
Arzoo Badal
1951 Tarana Motilal
Hulchul Kishore
Deedar Shamu
1952 Sangdil Shankar
Daag Shankar Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
Aan Jai Tilak
1953 Shikast Dr. Ram Singh
Footpath Noshu
1954 Amar Amarnath
1955 Udan Khatola
Devdas Devdas Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
Azaad Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1957 Naya Daur Shankar Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1958 Yahudi Prince Marcus
Madhumati Anand/Deven Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1959 Paigham Ratan Lal Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1960 Kohinoor Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
Mughal-E-Azam Prince Salim
1961 Gunga Jumna Gunga Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1964 Leader Vijay Khanna Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1966 Dil Diya Dard Liya Shankar/Rajasaheb Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1967 Ram Aur Shyam Ram/ Shyam Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1968 Sunghursh Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
Sadhu aur Shatan
Aadmi Rajesh/ Raja Saheb Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1970 Sagina Mahato
Gopi Gopi Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1972 Dastaan Anil/ Sunil
Anokha Milan
1974 Sagina Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
Phir Kab Milogi
1976 Bairaag Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1981 Kranti Sanga/Kranti
1982 Vidhaata Shamsher Singh
Shakti Ashvini Kumar Winner, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1983 Mazdoor Dinanath Saxena
1984 Duniya Mohan Kumar
Mashaal Vinod Kumar Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1986 Dharam Adhikari
Karma Vishwanath Pratap Singh, alias Rana
1989 Kanoon Apna Apna Collector Jagat Pratap Singh
1990 Izzatdaar Brahma Dutt
Aag Ka Dariya
1991 Saudagar Thakur Veer Singh Nomination, Filmfare Best Actor Award
1998 Qila Jaganath/Amarnath Singh


  1. ^ a b c ANALYSIS: Dilip Kumar turns 88. Daily Times. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  2. ^ Video : Dilip Kumar's Birthday Party. Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  3. ^ Tragedy king Dilip Kumar turns 88. Indian Express. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  4. ^ Unmatched innings. The Hindu. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Vishwamitra Sharma (2007), Famous Indians of the 21st Century, Pustak Mahal, ISBN 8-1223-0829-5, p.196.
  6. ^ a b Ramesh Dawar (2006), Bollywood: Yesterday, Today , Tomorrow, Star Publications, ISBN 1-9058-6301-2, p.8
  7. ^ a b A documentary on the life of Dilip Kumar. Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Dilip Kumar turns 86". The Hin du (Chennai, India). 11 December 2008. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/009200812111330.htm. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d Meghnad Desai, Baron Desai (2004), Nehru's hero Dilip Kumar in the life of India, Lotus Collection, Roli Books, ISBN 8-1743-6311-4.
  10. ^ Dinesh Raheja. Rediff. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  11. ^ All Time Grossers. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Dilip Kumar's Hollywood dis-connection". The Times Of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/did-you-know-/Dilip-Kumars-Hollywood-dis-connection/articleshow/4138036.cms. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  13. ^ Box Office 1964. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  14. ^ Box Office 1972. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  15. ^ Box Office 1976. Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  16. ^ a b Top Earners 1980-1989 (Figures in Ind Rs). Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  17. ^ Top Lifetime Grossers 1990-1994 (Figures in Ind Rs). Box Office India. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  18. ^ The Rediff Interview/ Dilip Kumar. Rediff. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  19. ^ Dilip Kumar saw a psychoanalyst after acting as Devdas. The Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  20. ^ https://twitter.com/#!/shiekhspear/status/112492760149409793
  21. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/news-interviews/Dilip-Kumars-in-good-health-Saira-Banu/articleshow/9935141.cms
  22. ^ Dilip Kumar on TV show?. MiD DAY.
  23. ^ "Things that u don't know about Filmfare Awards...(Part IV)". Sify Movies. 27 February 2007. http://www.sify.com/movies/things-that-u-don-t-know-about-filmfare-awards-part-iv-news-bollywood-kkfv7Sahcih.html. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  24. ^ "Lifetime Achievement (Popular)". Filmfare Awards. http://filmfareawards.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/articleshow?artid=33782146. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  25. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954-2009)". Ministry of Home Affairs. http://www.mha.nic.in/pdfs/LST-PDAWD.pdf. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 

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