Dilip Kumar was greatest actor on global scale, says biographer Lord Meghnad Desai

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London, Jul 7 (PTI) British Indian peer and economist Lord Meghnad Desai paid tribute to Dilip Kumar as the greatest actor on a global scale after the legendary thespian passed away in Mumbai aged 98 and was buried with state honours on Wednesday.

Lord Desai, the actor’s biographer as the author of ‘Nehru’s Hero Dilip Kumar’, described him as being universally respected for his decency and as an icon for younger Indian actors to emulate.

'Dilip Kumar was the greatest actor not just in Hindi cinema but on a global scale. He was the most popular actor through the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies,' said Desai.

'His style of acting, his sense of dress, his gait and his mannerisms were copied by many of the younger actors who entered the film industry in the Sixties onwards. He was universally respected for his decency and for representing Nehru’s Idea of India. Over his 50-year-long career he made sixty plus films in Hindi and Bengali,' he said.

Describing him as a versatile artist who played tragedy or comedy, adventurous roles or someone fighting for justice with equal ease, the peer reflected that the actor often referred to as the king of tragedy essayed a gamut of roles which defined manhood for generations of Indians.

'Generations of young Indians drew inspiration from his art as well as his conduct in public life. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the government of India in 1991 and the Dadasaheb Phalke award for lifetime achievement in cinema in 1998. He also won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor eight times,” said Desai.

Leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul said that with the death of the veteran actor, an epic era has ended in the Indian Cinema.

'Dilip Kumar was one of the greatest film stars in the world of Cinema and in his death India has lost a gem of an actor. He set the highest standard in acting. He was not only a genius on screen but a great friend and gem of a person. His contribution to cinema is unparalleled. My heartfelt condolences to Saira Banu and family,' said Lord Paul, Chairman of the Caparo Group of industries.

The news of the actor’s death was covered across all major UK media networks, with the BBC branding him a 'veritable legend' who played roles that ranged from the iconic to the endearing. Its Asian Network radio network dedicated a musical tribute session to Dilip Kumar, playing the music from the actor's classic films over the years. Other headlines made reference to the “Tragedy King of Bollywood”, credited for his method acting.

Kumar was admitted to the Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai on June 30 after he complained of breathing issues. Faisal Farooqui, a family friend, took to the actor’s Twitter handle on Wednesday to announce his death. PTI AK/HSR ZH ZH

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