Not that Dilip Kumar needs any Award to prove his greatness. No Award, how much prestigious it might be, can match his excellence in film acting. The Indian government awarded him with Padma Vibhushan last Sunday . Earlier he had been awarded with Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke awards back in 1991 and 1994 respectively. The Padma Vibhushan was given to him only three days after his 93rd birthday in a ceremony held in his house in Mumbai as he could not travel to the President House New Delhi to receive it because of his ill health. These Awards are given by the Indian government to those who excel in various fields of life. Dilip Sahib is now in the autumn of his life. Three generations of film heroes have sat at his feet and tried to emulate his style of acting. He has been just like a beacon light to them. In a film career spanned over 60 years he worked only in 60 films meaning thereby that on average he worked in not more than one film every year. He believed in quality rather than quantity. He was very choosy in the selection of his roles. His pronunciation was excellent and his histrionics matchless. Granted that some of his films did not click at the box office but Dilip Sahib, never for once, himself ever flopped in any of his films. Another great filmstar of Bollywood, Amitabhachan describes him as the king of understatement. The famous Bollywood film director Subash Ghai says he had learnt a lot from him. The noted film poet Javed Akthar bills him as a legend of the legends.
Dilip Kumar was born in a small mohallah in Peshawar city on 11th December 1922 to Ghulam Sarwar, a fruit merchant. Little did any one know then that one day he is going to become the best actor of the sub-continent. Frankly speaking, Bollywood and Lollywood, taken together, during the past one hundred years or so of their history have not produced any actor of his calibre. Though he is known as the king of tragedy, he also excelled in comedy roles in many films. As a character actor too he was superb. His brother Nasir Khan too was a film hero who had worked in many Bollywood films. He was hero of Lollywood’s first film TERI YAAD. His life was cut short by cancer.