Dilip Kumar, one of the pillars of the post-independence Indian cinema, who bedazzled his audience for near to six decades, breathed his last on July 07. His filmography that started in the 1940s when Indian cinema has little technical advancement, comprises of some unforgettable movies that made the Indian silver screen what it is today.
Dilip Kumar tasted commercial success with Jugu, in 1947, the same year when India won Independence. It was the highest-grossing Indian film and also starred Noor Jehan, Shashikala, and Mohammed Rafi in a cameo appearance. The film quite typical of films of the time was a breezy romance hitting a tragic end.
This Bimal Roy film, released in 1955 won Kumar a Flimfare award and is considered one of the best performances of the actor. The sensitivity with which he played the role. Having established himself as a tragic hero, it was no a surprise that he was the first choice for the role. The sensitivity with which he played the part of a doomed lover won hearts.
Daag, where Dilip Kumar plays the part of an alcoholic seeking reform until he redeems himself and turns his life around got him his first Filmfare Award in the Best Actor category. Also starring in this film directed by Amiya Chakravarty, were Nimmi, Usha Kiran and Lalita Pawar. It was a hit at the box office. The despondency and insobriety of his character in the film laid bare with his empathic expression in Daag
Breaking the mold of grief and loss, Dilip Kumar stared in light-hearted fare in Azaad. His lively antics with his counterpart Meena Kumari lend Azaad an air of wholesome cheerfulness. Azaad, a remake of Tamil hit Malai Kallan, proved to be therapeutic for the actor.
One of the most memorable roles — Salim and they gave Bollywood one of its most iconic couples — Anarkali and the Mughal prince set the box office wheel spinning for months. It centered on their forbidden relationship of a Mughal empire and a tragic end and the film held the distinction of being the highest-grossing film of all time for 15 years and the first black-and-white Bollywood film to become digitally coloured.
Naya Daur, set against the backdrop of post-colonial India that run on Nehruvian policies and focused on industrialisation showed Dilip Kumar as a rebel. Playing the role of tongawalla, he decides to shake things up and bring respect to the oppressed section. Naya Daur won Dilip Kumar his third consecutive Filmfare Award in the Best Actor category, and fourth overall.
Directed by Bimal Roy and written by Ritwik Ghatak, the film had a noir-gothic feel to it. It was the first re-incarnation drama of its kind and also one of the highest-grossing films of 1958. The film also starred and Vyjayanthimala in the lead roles, with Pran and Johnny Walker in supporting roles. The plot focuses on Anand, a modern man who falls in love with a tribal woman named Madhumati. It won 9 Filmfare Awards and a National Film Award as well.
Ram Aur Shyam
Another film where Dilip Kumar gets to play a double role of twin brothers with contrasting personalities, but the actor stood by the challenge with aplomb. Ram Aur Shyam, a situational comedy proved to be a blockbuster at the box office and it was one of 1967’s highest-grossing Indian films, domestically in India and overseas in the Soviet Union.
The Ramesh Sippy film where the two biggest stars of Bollywood, Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan were cast. The duo plays father and son, but are on opposite sides, with Kumar enacting a cop and Bachchan’s Vijay playing an outlaw. Both men are conflicted between their own ideals and filial ties. Considered to be one of the greatest films in the history of Indian cinema, it went on to win four Filmfare Awards.
Kumar received the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian awards, in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke, India’s highest award for cinematic excellence, in 1994, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015.