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Happy Birthday Dillip Kumar Ji

Hindi Cinema is incomplete without this iconic personality - someone who made a million hearts skip a beat with his mesmerizing performances onscreen. Dilip Kumar, the institution of great learning turns a year ‘younger’ today. The great grand young 'Prince Salim' celebrates his 90th bir
BY:Sarika Mehta

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Hindi Cinema is incomplete without this iconic personality - someone who made a million hearts skip a beat with his mesmerizing performances onscreen. Dilip Kumar, the institution of great learning turns a year ‘younger’ today. The great grand young 'Prince Salim' celebrates his 90th birthday today.

Dilip Kumar was born as Muhammad Yousuf Khan on 11 December 1922 in Peshawar. He was born into a Hindko-speaking Peshawari family, and his father, Lala Ghulam Sarwar, was a fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar and Deolali (in Maharashtra, India). In the late 1930s, his family of 12 members relocated to Mumbai. Around 1940, Dilip Kumar left home for Pune where he started his career as a canteen owner and a dry fruit supplier. In 1943, actress Devika Rani, and her husband Himanshu Rai who owned Bombay Talkies spotted Dilip Kumar in Aundh military canteens Pune,and cast him with a lead role in their film Jwar Bhata (1944), which marked his entry into the Bollywood film industry. Hindi author Bhagwati Charan Varma gave him the screen name Dilip Kumar.

Dilip Kumar's first film Jwar Bhata (1944) went unnoticed, it was Jugnu (1947) which became his first major hit at box office. He went on to appear in many hit films including Mela (1948), Andaz (1949), Deedar (1951), Devdas (1955), Yahudi (1958) and Madhumati (1958). These films established his screen image as the "Tragedy King".[14] Together with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand he was the biggest star in Bollywood in the 1950s. He starred alongside Raj Kapoor in Andaz (1949) and with Dev Anand in Insaniyat (1955). He formed popular on-screen pairings with many of the top actresses at the time including Nargis, Kamini Kaushal, Meena Kumari, Madhubala and Vyjanthimala.

Depressed after playing many tragic roles in 1950's, Dilip Kumar took up his psychiatrist's suggestion that he take on lighter roles which he performed in films such as Aan (1952), Azaad (1955) and Kohinoor (1960).In 1960 he portrayed Prince Salim in the historical film Mughal-e-Azam which as of 2008 was the second highest grossing film in Hindi film history.In 1961 he produced and starred in Ganga Jamuna in which he and his brother Nasir Khan played the title roles, this was the only film he produced. In 1962 British director David Lean offered him the role of "Sherif Ali" in his film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but Dilip Kumar declined to perform in the movie. The role eventually went to Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor. His next film Leader (1964) was below average at the box office. In 1967 Dilip Kumar played a dual role of twins separated at birth in the hit film Ram Aur Shyam. His career slumped in the 1970s with films like Dastaan (1970) and Bairaag (1976), the latter in which he played triple roles failing at the box office. He took a five year hiatus from films from 1976 to 1981.

In 1981, he returned with the multi-starrer Kranti which was the biggest hit of the year. He went onto play character roles in hit films including Shakti (1982), Vidhaata (1982), Mashaal (1984) and Karma (1986). In 1991, he starred alongside veteran actor Raaj Kumar in Saudagar which was his last successful film. In 1993 he won the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996 he was attached to make his directorial debut with a film titled Kalinga but the film was shelved. In 1998 he made his last film appearance in the unsuccessful film Qila where once again he played dual roles as an evil landowner and his twin brother investigating his death. His films Mughal-e-Azam and Naya Daur were fully colorized and re-released in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

Dilip Kumar holds the record for winning three consecutive Film Fare Best Actor awards,sweeping them in 1955,1956 and 1957. No other actor has attained such feat in the history of Hindi Cinema.

Dilip Kumar has been active in efforts to bring the people of India and Pakistan closer together. He was nominated a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term.

He was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994. In 1998 he was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award conferred by the government of Pakistan. He is the second Indian to receive the award. At the time of the Kargil War, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray demanded Dilip Kumar return his Nishan-e-Imtiaz, citing "that country's blatant aggression on Indian soil." Dilip Kumar refused, saying:

"This award was given to me for the humane activities to which I have dedicated myself. I have worked for the poor, I have worked for many years to bridge the cultural and communal gaps between India and Pakistan. Politics and religion have created these boundaries. I have striven to bring the two people together in whatever way I could. Tell me, what does any of this have to do with the Kargil conflict?

However, is not in a mood to celebrate his birthday, for he is still mourning the loss of his dear colleagues who departed in the recent times.

Nonetheless, here’s wishing our very own Yusuf Khan aka Dilip Kumar a very Happy Birthday.

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