Star-actor Dilip Kumar is dead, the legend lives on

·5-min read

Mumbai, Jul 7 (PTI) Legendary actor Dilip Kumar died at a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday morning and was laid to rest with full state honours in the evening, his death a testament that end of an era can be more than just a cliché. He was 98.

The actor, known to generations of film-goers as ‘tragedy king’ for his portrayal of the brooding, intense romantic in classics such as “Mughal-e-Azam” and “Devdas”, is survived by his wife Saira Banu.

Kumar, an enduring legend through his decades in cinema and in public life, had been admitted to the Hinduja Hospital, a non-COVID-19 facility in Khar, since last Tuesday.

“He passed away due to prolonged illness at 7.30 am,” Dr Jalil Parkar, who had been treating Kumar, told PTI.

'With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip Saab, few minutes ago. We are from God and to Him we return,' family friend Faisal Farooqui posted on the actor's Twitter handle at 8.01 am.

Kumar’s body was taken to his Pali Hill residence around 9.30 am where friends, political leaders and colleagues, including Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi, Shah Rukh Khan and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, paid their respects.

'I am very sad today, I can't say anything. I've lost my brother,' an emotional Dharmendra told reporters outside Kumar's residence.

The screen icon, who embodied the best of India with his films and in his public persona, was accorded a state funeral, his body wrapped in the tricolour and a gun salute sounding out.

The actor was given a tearful sendoff at the Juhi Qabrastan at Santacruz shortly before 5 pm with just close family members present given Covid protocols.

The Hindi cinema veteran, the last of the golden troika with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand and one of India’s most venerated stars, was admitted to hospital last month following episodes of breathlessness.

The actor had been battling ill health for the last few years, including advanced stage prostate cancer and lung disease, and had been in and out of hospital.

Kumar, born Yousuf Khan in Peshawar on December 11, 1922, underwent a successful aspiration procedure to treat his lung condition, doctors said. He was discharged after five days only to be admitted to the hospital again.

Condolence messages for the much-loved star, who had been an integral part of India’s societal fabric, poured in from all quarters with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi joining political leaders, the film fraternity and others to express their grief.

“Dilip Kumar summarised in himself a history of emerging India. The thespian’s charm transcended all boundaries, and he was loved across the subcontinent…Dilip Saab will live forever in the heart of India,” the president said.

The prime minister said Kumar would be remembered as a cinematic legend.

“He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled. His passing away is a loss to our cultural world. Condolences to his family, friends and innumerable admirers. RIP,' Modi said on Twitter.

Amitabh Bachchan, who co-starred with him in “Shakti”, said an institution has gone. '… whenever the history of Indian cinema will be written, it shall always be 'before Dilip Kumar and after Dilip Kumar. My duas (prayer) for peace of his soul and the strength to the family to bear this loss... Deeply saddened.' Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar said the screen icon had been ailing for a while.

'Yusuf Bhai was ill for the last many years, could not recognise anyone. At such a time Saira Bhabhi left everything and served him day and night. There was no other life for him. I bow to such a woman and pray that Yusuf Bhai's soul rests in peace,' she tweeted.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Kumar's extraordinary contribution to Indian cinema will be remembered for generations to come.

Pakistan's top leadership and people also showered their adulation on the Peshawar born actor who was also awarded the country's highest civilian award - Nishan-e-Imtiaz.

Pakistan President Arif Alvi described Kumar as 'an outstanding actor, a humble man, and a dignified personality' in a tweet Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said Khan was “the greatest and most versatile actor”. 'Saddened to learn of Dilip Kumar's passing. I can never forget his generosity in giving his time to help raise funds for SKMTH when (the) project launched. This is the most difficult time - to raise (the) first 10% of the funds & his appearance in Pak & London helped raise huge amounts,' Khan tweeted, referring to the hospital in his mother's name.

Kumar, often known as the Nehruvian hero, did his first film “Jwar Bhata” in 1944, three years before independence, and his last “Qila” in 1998, 54 years later. The five-decade career included 'Mughal-e-Azam', 'Devdas', 'Naya Daur', and 'Ram Aur Shyam', and later, as he graduated to character roles, “Kranti” and ‘”Karma”.

The first of the Khans, as he was sometimes referred to, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha for one term, awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, the Dadasaheb Phalke award and also served as sheriff of Mumbai. He was also a polyglot, fluent in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Marathi, Bengali and English.

Actor Shabana Azmi, wrote, 'Adieu Dilip Saab. Unknown to you I have been your Eklavya. Thank you for the movies.Thank you for the language. Thank you for the dignity. Thank you for being socially responsible. Thank you.' Among the many who paid their tributes to the actor, an inspiration for generations of actors to follow, was Subhash Ghai, who worked with him in 'Karma' (1986) and 'Saudagar' (1991).

'Dilip saheb Yusuf bhai gone. My personal loss of my most precious idol. No words,' Ghai tweeted.

Veteran actor Sharmila Tagore remembered Kumar as someone who was always at the forefront to help people in difficult times.

'At the time, the industry was so close knit that every time there was an earthquake, drought or crisis, the industry got together and raised money. I remember Yousuf sahab taking a lead role in all these activities,' Tagore recalled.

'To the world many others may be heroes. To us actors, he was The Hero. #DilipKumar Sir has taken an entire era of Indian cinema away with him.My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Om Shanti,' actor Akshay Kumar said. PTI KKP JUR BK MIN MIN MIN

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