Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar, who was a defining figure in post-independence Indian cinema, has died at the age of 98.
Kumar had been taken to hospital in Mumbai last week with shortness of breath, but died early Wednesday morning. “He passed away due to a prolonged illness at 7:30 am,” said Dr. Jalil Parkar from the Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai.
Kumar’s death was confirmed by a family friend who posted on Twitter on Wednesday: “With great regret and deep sorrow, I announce the passing of our beloved Dilip saab a few minutes ago. We are from God and we return to him. “
The news of Kumar’s death sent waves of pain through India. Nicknamed “the king of tragedy,” he had been a beloved figure in Bollywood for generations and was one of India’s first method actors in the late 1950s, claiming that he had adopted the technique before Marlon Brando.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of those who offered their condolences on Kumar’s death. “Dilip Kumar Ji wants to be remembered as a movie legend. He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, so audiences of all generations were captivated, “Modi said in a tweet.
“His passing is a loss to our cultural world. Condolences to his family, friends and countless fans. “
Kumar’s best-known films of his five-decade career include Devdas, Naya Daur (New Age), Ram Aur Shyam, Madhumati and Mughal-e-Azam, which released in 1960, took eight years to make at a cost of 15 million rupees. and it remains one of the highest grossing Bollywood movies of all time.
Kumar, whose real name was Yusuf Khan, was born in 1922 in pre-independence India in the now-Pakistani city of Peshawar, the son of a fruit merchant and one of 12 children. After moving to Bombay, now Mumbai, Kumar accidentally started acting as a means of making money, but in 1947 his films began to garner critical acclaim.
His career took off alongside Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. Kumar became one of the three great names who dominated the golden age of Indian cinema from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Kumar’s career took a hiatus in the 1970s, when a new generation of actors like Amitabh Bachan stole the limelight, but he reinvented himself in the 1980s and ’90s with roles in blockbusters like Kranti, Karma and Shakti. , although he was still known to be selective in his choice of roles.
Kumar starred in his last film in 1998 and then began to pursue politics, becoming a legislator for the opposition Congress party. However, he became a politically divisive figure when he accepted the highest civilian honor from the Pakistani government in 1998, and was considered a traitor to India and an anti-national. He refused to return the reward.
Towards the end of his life, Kumar was showered with awards in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema. In 2006, he accepted a lifetime achievement award at the Indian National Film Awards in recognition of his contribution to Indian cinema, and last year he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for having a record number of best awards. actor.