Revisiting Dilip Kumar’s remarkable films on his 99th birth anniversary

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Bollywood star Dilip Kumar smiles after receiving a lifetime achievement award from India’s President Pratibha Patil (unseen) during the 54th national film awards ceremony in New Delhi September 2, 2008. REUTERS/B Mathur (INDIA)/File Photo

When veteran star Dilip Kumar passed away on July 7, 2021, an entire era in Bollywood came to a sudden end.

In a career spanning nearly six decades, the star delivered many unforgettable movies and moments that touched the hearts of many. On the 99th birth anniversary of the ‘Tragedy King’ December 11, 2021, here are some of his most remarkable films to watch, and relive the memory and the panache of one of the greatest Bollywood actors ever.

1. Devdas (1955)

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‘Devdas’ is widely regarded as one of the greatest Indian movies ever made. The film was based on Sarat Chandra Chatterjee’s classic novel of the same name.

Directed by Bimal Roy, ‘Devdas’ saw Dilip Kumar with Suchitra Sen and Vyjayanthimala in the lead roles. The film revolved around the romantic journey and emotional downfall of a young man from an influential family.

Dilip Kumar stood out for his dedicated act of a heartbroken lover who turns alcoholic. Lines like ‘Kaun kambakht bardaasht karne ko peeta hai?’ when delivered by Dilip Sahab never failed to touch the audience’s hearts. The film was a superhit and emerged as an evergreen classic.

It also won Dilip Kumar a Filmfare award. His performance in this film is often considered as one of his most remarkable, also credited for establishing him as the ‘Tragedy King’ of Indian cinema.

2. Naya Daur (1957)

Director BR Chopra’s ‘Naya Daur’ is another iconic film featuring a memorable performance by Dilip Kumar. Along with Dilip Kumar, the film saw Vyjayanthimala and Ajit Khan in the lead roles.

The plot revolved around two good friends who fall in love with the same woman. Being one of Dilip Kumar’s finest films, in ‘Naya Daur’ he played the role of a spirited Shankar, and unlike his other roles, smiled a lot and displayed exuberance.

The film also portrayed the concept of man versus machine with utmost sincerity and is best remembered for the iconic final sequence in which Dilip Sahab beats his wealthy foe in a tonga vs bus race.

The film won both commercial and critical success and was also one of the chart-topping hits of Dilip Kumar. The film’s unforgettable songs include ‘Ude Jab Jab Zulfen Teri’, and ‘Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka’.

3. Madhumati (1958)

‘Madhumati’ came with a unique plot. The popular film starred Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala in the lead roles.

One of Bollywood’s first few re-incarnation dramas, the film’s storyline began with two men, who took shelter in a rickety mansion during a storm. However, one of them (Dilip Kumar), feels that he has visited this mansion before, in a past life. He then recounts the tale of Anand (himself), a young city man falling hopelessly in love with a tribal woman named Madhumati.

Making a film on the mystical concept of reincarnation was an experiment as well as a risk. Director Bimal Roy’s masterful handling coupled with Dilip Kumar’s dedicated performance made ‘Madhumati’ a film to look up to, especially in the theme of reincarnation.

Legendary Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar in the film Mugal e Azam Photo:- Videograb via Youtube

4. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

It has been around 60 years since K Asif’s ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ was released, but the film continues to remain a cult classic. We are all well acquainted with the epic historical drama.

The film revolves around the tragic love story between Prince Salim played by Dilip Kumar and Anarkali played by Madhubala, battling the trials and tribulations crafted by the emperor Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor). Through his character, Dilip Sahab brought a new dimension to the love scenes of Salim and Anarkali. Along with that, Akbar and Salim’s confrontational scenes still continue to put the audience in awe.

Naushad’s skilful music adds to the charm, especially with the song ‘Jab Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’, which continues to remain one of the most loved romantic songs ever. This film is a treat to watch, with its iconic dialogues, grandeur, visuals and epic romance.

5. Ram Aur Shyam (1967)

In 1967 with ‘Ram Aur Shyam’, Dilip Kumar for the first time played a double role. Before there was ‘Karan Arjun’, ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’, ‘Judwaa’, there was ‘Ram Aur Shyam’.

It was one of the earliest films based on the concept of lookalikes and it surely managed to impress the audience. Directed by Tapi Chanakya, the film also included Waheeda Rehman.

After a bad spell at the box office for a few years, Dilip Kumar came back with ‘Ram Aur Shyam’. It was a major hit. Playing the double role of twins with hugely contrasting personalities, this was one of the best roles of Dilip Kumar, ever. While Ram was a shy and nervous man, Shyam was mischievous, brave and brought out laughter and anger in contrast to Ram. Both were portrayed with utmost ease by the legendary star, which makes this film a highly engaging and one of a kind watch.

Dilip Kumar’s capability wasn’t limited to performing serious roles. He could play a light-hearted or comical character in a commercial film too with equal ease.

Dilip Kumar will always remain alive in the hearts of his millions of fans through all of these remarkable films. He is currently survived by his wife and veteran actor Saira Banu.

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