Starting his career in British India, appearing in Bollywood’s some of the blockbusters, the Tragedy King, Dilip Kumar is not only Bollywood’s oldest living star, but also an Indian film institution himself. Working more than six decades, Dilip Kumar has seen the Indian Cinema change. The winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke award, Dilip Kumar has portrayed every sort of roles in his long acting career. Born in Pakistan, raised in India, Dilip Kumar is such an actor, who left his imprints in the Indian Cinema and will always be remembered.
Muhammad Yusuf Khan alias Dilip Kumar was born on 11 December 1922 (aged 96; as in 2018) in a Muslim family in Peshawar, (Now in Pakistan) British India. His father was a fruit merchant, who owned an orchard in Peshawar. For his primary education, Muhammad Yusuf Khan was sent to Nasik, Maharashtra where he became a close friend of another would-be Bollywood star, Raj Kapoor.
In 1940, when he was only 18 years old, he fled to Poona (Modern day, Pune, Maharashtra) after an argument with his father. On the merit of good English speaking and writing skills, he managed to get a job.
He set up a sandwich stall at Army Club in Pune. when the contract ended, he shifted to Mumbai with the saving of ₹5000. In 1942, he met Dr. Masani who took him to Bombay Talkies in Malad where he met actress Devika Rani, owner of Bombay Talkies. Devika Rani asked him to sign up with Bombay Talkies with the salary of ₹1250/month. It was Devika Rani who requested him to change his name to Dilip Kumar.
Later, he met actor Ashok Kumar, who influenced his acting style and told him to act natural.
Dilip Kumar was born to Lala Ghulam Sarwar and Ayesha Begum. Dilip Kumar lived in a small house in Peshawar, Pakistan with his 11 siblings.
He had five brothers: Nasir Khan (Younger, Film Actor), Ehsan Khan, Aslam Khan, Noor Mohammed, and Ayub Sarwar. Dilip Kumar had six sisters: Fauzia Khan, Sakina Khan, Taj Khan, Farida Khan, Saeeda Khan, and Akhtar Asif.
He married to film actress Saira Banu on 11 October 1966.
In 1980, he married to Asma Rehman.
He has no child.
Dilip Kumar made his debut in 1944 from the film Jwar Bhata. In 1949, he got his breakthrough from Mehboob Khan’s directed, Andaz. During the 1950s, he worked in several films such as Babul (1950), Jogan (1950), Deedar (1951), Hulchul, (1951), Daag (1952), Shikast (1953), Amar (1954), Insaniyat (1955), Uran Khatola (1955), Devdas (1955), Naya Daur (1957), Madhumati (1958), Yahudi (1958), etc.
In 1960, he portrayed the role of ‘Prince Salim‘ in K. Asif’s high-budget historical film, Mughal-e-Azam which was the highest grossing film in the Indian Cinema for the next 11 years until it was surpassed by film Haathi Mere Saathi (1971) and later by the film Sholay (1975).
In 1991, he did Saudagar, alongside fellow veteran actor Raaj Kumar. This film was his last box-office success.
In 1998, he worked in his last film, Qila which was flop at the box-office.
Relationships & More
During his initial days in Bollywood, he was hooked up with Kamini Kaushal, a former actress.
But, later, his pair with Madhubala (Actress) became very popular. During the filming of movie Tarana (1951), Dilip Kumar fell in love with Madhubala. They dated each other for seven years until Dilip Kumar stood by BR Chopra against Madhubala.
He married actress, Saira Banu in 1966 who was 22 years younger to him.
In 1980, he married to Hyderabad socialite Asma Sahiba, but marriage did not last for long and ended in January 1983.
Dilip Kumar is a renowned Indian actor. He holds the Guinness World Record for winning the maximum number of awards by an Indian Actor. He won 8 Filmfare awards for the best actor and one Lifetime achievement award. In 1980, he was appointed the Sheriff of Mumbai (An Honorary Position). In 1991, the then Indian government honoured him with the Padma Bhushan. He was bestowed upon the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994.
In 1997, the government of Andhra Pradesh honoured him with NTR National Award.
He has a net worth of $85 million.
- Dilip Kumar had a very close friendship with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.
- His first anti-hero role was in Mehboob Khan’s Amar (1954).
- In order to shed his image as “Tragedy King” once, a psychiatrist advised him to take lighthearted roles.
- In 1961, he produced one and last film of his career- Ganga Jamuna in which his younger brother- Nasir Khan also acted alongside him.
- In 1962, a British director, David Lean offered him a role in a British Film– Lawrence of Arabia, which he declined.
- In 1970, he starred alongside his wife Saira Banu for the first time in the film, Gopi.
- In 1997, Dilip Kumar was honoured with ‘Nishan-e-Imtiaz‘ (highest civilian award in Pakistan) by the Government of Pakistan.
- Between 2000 and 2006, he was the Member of Rajya Sabha on the Congress’ ticket.
- In 2011, on his 89th birthday, he launched his Twitter account.
- In 2013, he went to a pilgrimage, to Mecca along with his wife.