Mohammed Yusuf Khan (11 December 1922 – 7 July 2021), known by his stage name Dilip Kumar, was an Indian actor who worked in Hindi films. A pioneering act in cinema, he dominated the Indian film scene from the late 1940s until the 1960s, earning the nickname “Abhinay Samrat” (Hindi for “Emperor of Acting”) by audiences. Kumar holds the record for the most wins for Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards (eight times, later rivaled by Shah He Rukh Khan) and was also the first recipient of the award. He holds the most dominant box office record for a Hindi movie star (male or female) with more than 80% of his box office earnings and holds several long standing earnings records.
In his over a 50-year career, Kumar has played a variety of roles in his less than 60 films. He made his acting debut in the Bombay Talkies film Jwa Bhata (1944). After a series of unsuccessful ventures, he made his first box-office success with Jugnu (1947). Kumar starred in the romantic Andaz (1949), the brave Aan (1952), the social drama Darg (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comic Azard (1955), Noir Mystery Madhumati (1958), the Comedy Drama Peagam (1959), Epic History Mughal E Azam (1960), Social Dakoit Crime Drama Gunga Jumna (1961), Comedy Drama Ram Aur Sham (1967) Andaz, Aan, Naya Daur. All three films were briefly the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. This feat was later matched by his Mughal-e-Azam, who held the record for 15 years.
n the 1970s, Kumar’s career experienced a recession that was hit by three consecutive commercial failures: Dastan (1972), Sagina (1974), and Bairag (1976). After 1976, he took a four-year hiatus from acting in films, returning with the revolutionary drama Kranti, the highest-grossing Indian film of the year. His last screen appearance was his commercially unsuccessful Qila (1998), in which he played a dual role. Kumar then served as a member of the Rajasabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, from 2000 to 2006. Kumar’s personal life has received a lot of media attention, but he himself has largely avoided the limelight and media support. He married actress Saira Banu in 1966 and lived in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai, until his death in 2021. For his contribution to cinema, the Government of India awarded him Padma Bhushan Award in 1991 and Padma Vi Bhushan Award in 2015. In 1994, he also won India’s highest film award, Dada Saheb He Farke Award. In 1998, the Pakistani government awarded Kumar the highest civilian honor, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, making him the only Indian. The Peshawar home where Kumar grew up was declared a national heritage site by the Pakistani government in 2014.
Dilip Kumar was born Mohammad Yusuf Khan on December 11, 1922, to a Hinduko-speaking Awan Muslim family in his childhood home in the Kissa Hawani Bazar district of Peshawar, a city in the North West Frontier Province of British India. He was one of 12 children of Lala Ghuram Sarwar Khan and his wife Aisha Begum. His father was a fruit merchant.
Khan was educated at his Barnes school in Deorari (now Maharashtra) where his father owned an orchard. He grew up in the same Peshawar neighborhood as his childhood friend and later colleague in the film industry, Raj Kapoor. In 1940, he moved to Pune and started a dried fruit shop and diner. Khan’s family was from Peshawar, but after the partition of India in 1947, he decided to remain in Bombay.
Dilip Kumar passed away on 7th July 2021 at 7 am at Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai. He died after a long illness. He suffers from several age-related problems and was diagnosed with a pleural effusion. Kumar is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema and cinema in general. A pioneer of method acting, Kumar was ahead of Hollywood actors like Marlon Brando. From his contemporaries like Balraj Sani to subsequent generations of artists like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kamal Haasan, Mammootty, Aamir Khan, Naseruddin Shah, and Nawazuddin Siddiqi, he inspired many great Indian film actors. Kumar is the one who pioneered his own method of acting without any drama school experience, and filmmaker Satyajit his Ray, despite never having worked with him, described it as the “ultimate method actor.”