Legend Dilip Kumar Passes Away At 98
Wednesday 07 July 2021 20.30 IST
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One of the greatest legends of Indian cinema Dilip Kumar passed away at the age of 98 due to a prolonged illness. Dilip Kumar started his career in just before Independence in 1944 with Jwar Bhata and had a defining career of around 55 years and a film count of only 56 films.



His first film Jwar Bhata released in 1944 and success was not too far away as films like Jugnu (1947) and Shaheed (1948) scored at the box office and there was no looking back. Although these things are always arguable the fact is that Dilip Kumar is the greatest actor that the Indian screen has ever seen. The biggest actors who have come after have imbibed from him and even the actors today who may not even be aware that they are being inspired by Dilip Kumar but who they think they looking up to was in all probability inspired by Dilip Kumar. Basically acting in India all started from this man.



There was a phase in the late 40's and early 50's that his films were working only because the audience was coming to see his acting. These slow films which we can call towards the dark side were working just because of the histrionics of Dilip Kumar as no one before had seen such acting. The masses were lining up in cinemas across India to see films which may not be offering huge entertainment but they did not care as all they wanted to see was the histrionics of Dilip Kumar. This was the period where Dilip Kumar got the tragedy king tag. This has never happened with any other actor as they had to be backed by a genre or more commercial elements to pull through and this holds till today.



These films were becoming HITS due to the histrionics and then there were the BLOCKBUSTER films like Aan, Azaad, Insaaniyat, Naya Daur, Madhumati, Paigham and Kohinoor which were more in the commercial element of those times and smashed box office records. These films created the superstar Dilip Kumar. The likes of Aan, Azaad and Insaaniyat also set the precedent for that big budget Hindi commercial potboiler which was to dominate Hindi cinema for years and still does. 



The peak of the career came in the early 60's with films like Mughal E Azam (1960) and Ganga Jamuna (1961) which created history and remain today among the biggest BLOCKBUSTERS of Hindi cinema. The performance in Ganga Jamuna is also probably the greatest ever by an actor in India. The workload slowed after that though the big HITS still came with Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and Gopi (1970) but it was difficult now to fit into that traditional hero format due to age.



Dilip Kumar then too a break for a few years and then did something that no actor ever managed to do before or after as he returned as more of a character actor but this character actor was the main lead of these films and driving these to huge success. Films like Kranti (1981), Vidhaata (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1990) all were were BLOCKBUSTER films and all driven by Dilip Kumar despite playing older characters. There were others like Dharam Adhikari and Kanoon Apna Apna which also saw average success. This was the part of his illustrious career which sets him apart from all other actors as no one else has managed to such success as a character artist. It has to be said that you have to be a Dilip Kumar to get such roles without being the hero and there has only been one Dilip Kumar.



Simply put Dilip Kumar will remain the greatest actor ever of Hindi cinema unless we see some miracle over the next 100 years.




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