New Delhi: The legendary Dilip Kumar, an astute method actor, was primarily labelled as the ‘Tragedy King’ courtesy of his ill-fated characters in films.
But his over five-decade-long career of 65 films saw him evolve from a young, brooding man in love to playing the dual role of a simpleton and a sharp cookie in a light-hearted film to finally, character roles of authoritative figures. Here are 10 of the films from the screen icon’s filmography:
1. Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
Director K Asif’s epic extravaganza, which turned 60 last year, revolves around the star-crossed lovers — rebellious prince Salim (Kumar) and the headstrong dancer Anarkali (Madhubala) and their futile attempt to brave fate and his father, the Emperor of India — Akbar, played by Prithviraj Kapoor.
2. Naya Daur (1957)
The film narrates the story of Shankar (Kumar) and Krishna (Ajit), two best friends who fall for the same woman, Rajni (Vyjayanthimala). Directed by B R Chopra, the movie also explores the classic man versus machine theme.
3. Ram Aur Shyam (1967)
One of the first Hindi films to use the “twins-separated-at-birth” trope, “Ram Aur Shyam” saw Kumar taking up this light-hearted movie to play two contrasting roles in a comedy of errors.
4. Madhumati (1958)
This Bimal Roy film was also one of a kind Hindi movie at the time of its release. Employing elements of paranormal and reincarnation, the story follows Anand (Kumar), a modern man who falls in love with a tribal woman named Madhumati (Vyjayanthimala).
5. Devdas (1955)
Kumar played the doomed and alcoholic lover as the eponymous character in one of the interpretations of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhya’s Bengali novel of the same name. Another Roy directorial that is regarded as one of the best performances in the history of Indian cinema by the lead actor. Kumar’s dialogue ‘Kaun K kambakht hai jo bardaasht karne ke liye peeta hai’ is as evergreen today as it was at the time of the film’s release.
6. Ganga Jamuna (1961)
A defining example of the dacoit genre, the Nitin Bose-directed film tells the story of two impoverished brothers, Ganga and Jamna (Kumar and Nasir Khan), and sibling rivalry on opposing sides of the law, one a dacoit criminal and the other a police officer. Kumar also wrote and produced this film.
7. Andaz (1949)
With Kumar, Nargis and Raj Kapoor in the lead, the film was a love-triangle to remember, also as a story that does not get a happy ending for any of the three characters. Directed by Mehboob Khan, “Andaz” was the only film to feature Kumar and Kapoor, friends and childhood neighbours, together onscreen.
8. Daag (1952)
Kumar played Shankar, a poor family’s sole breadwinner who drowns his sorrows in alcohol. After turning a new leaf, he gives up drinking and leaves for the city to earn money. Just as he returns home to pay off his mortgage, he finds out that the love of his life Parvati (Nimmi) is engaged to be married.
9. Shakti (1982)
The one which saw Kumar become the father after playing the son. This Ramesh Sippy film saw a clash of two generations and ideologies with Kumar, the police officer, and his hurt and now defiant son, played by Amitabh Bachchan. “Shakti” was the only film to feature Kumar and Bachchan together.
10. Karma (1986)
Kumar essayed the role of a former police officer who offers a life of honour to three men of death row (Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, and Anil Kapoor) in exchange of settling personal score with the head of a major terrorist organisation, played by Anupam Kher.
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