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Dilip Kumar – Charisma To The Core

Dilip Kumar – Charisma To The Core

Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar’s passing is a personal loss – not only for those who knew him but even those who did not. Read on to understand why…

By Manjulaa Shirodkar

Even an era comes to an end. You somehow hope that it wouldn’t, and this inspite of the knowledge that all good things do and will perish one day. But the memories that linger on let you savour the moments, of the time gone by, once again. Its not for nothing that the whole country is mourning the loss of Dilip Kumar as one. He found his calling on the big screen and he touched lives across board.

Even though he made his debut with a powerful script like Jwar Bhata(1944) directed by Amiya Chakraborty under the aegis of the leading film studio of its time Bombay Talkies, he made a mark on the audiences only in 1947 with Jugnu. It was directed by Shaukat Hussain Rizvi and co-starred Noor Jehan and became the highest grossing film of the year.

Kumar had arrived on the silver screen and how! Thereafter his presence commanded awe – irrespective of whether one saw him onscreen or in person. I recollect a short but delightfully sweet story that my mother-in-law shared with me when she learned of his demise.

Brought up in a sprawling home located in Hindu Colony, Dadar, Mumbai she recalls her childhood days vividly. In a large, joint family household comprising 14 family members each adult and child had a defined role to play. As one of the younger ones, and aged around 11, she was called up to stand and look out for the official car that would arrive at 9 am or thereabouts to ferry her uncle to his office in South Mumbai, before she left for school with siblings and cousins.

Every morning she stood just outside her main door and waited for the chauffeured vehicle. Her job was to run back and inform her uncle soon as it showed up round the corner.

One morning however, she spotted Dilip Kumar being driven right past her home in his Impala. “It was a steel gray, majestic vehicle and he sat behind so royally.” Not only did her excitement know no bounds – as she recognized her favourite star, she was also excited enough to check whether he would take the same route again the following morning.

And sure enough, he did. Morning after morning, the Impala with its imperial star in the backseat would sail past her home. It came to a point that the little girl, who had found her first crush in this “great looking Pathan with a beautiful, rich complexion and handsome looks” began wondering if he would smile at her one of these days.

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And then one morning, he did. And that to her was the prize she had been waiting for. Her ultimate fan moment. “Thereafter I used to go out of the house a little early – even before I had been summoned for my daily chore and wait for Dilip Kumar’s car to pass by. It was special,” she laughs while sharing one of her favourite memories.

“Today, I feel the loss is personal. I understand that he was 98 and that he was suffering a lot but still he was and continues to be my favourite star. When you watched him on screen it felt as though he was talking only to you. He seemed to come out of the screen. That’s how real it felt. There will never be another actor like him,” shares a lady who grew up in the city of dreams but has never been enamored by stardom.

Cineastes may bandy around terms like ‘method acting’ and ‘legend’ and ‘one of a kind’. But it is the little personal stories like these which made Dilip Kumar the charisma that he became over the years.

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