Mumbai, July 7: Dilip Kumar, India’s enduring film legend through the decades, died at a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday after prolonged illness, his family and doctors treating him said. 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.
The last rites will be held at 5 pm at the Juhu Qabrastan at Santacruz Mumbai, a post from his Twitter handle said.
Kumar, who embodied the best of India through his work and seven decades 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.
The Hindi cinema veteran, the last of the golden troika with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand, was admitted to hospital last month following episodes of breathlessness.
Kumar, born Yusuf Khan in Peshawar on December 11, 1922, was diagnosed with bilateral pleural effusion, a build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs, and underwent a successful pleural aspiration procedure. He was discharged after five days only to be admitted to the hospital again.
Condolence messages for the much loved star, whose death truly epitomised the end of an era, 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 had 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."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Kumar's extraordinary contribution to Indian cinema will be remembered for generations to come.
Kumar, often known as the Nehruvian hero, did his first film “Jwar Bhata” in 1944 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”.
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 (sic)," Ghai tweeted.
"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 tweeted.
Manoj Bajpayee tweeted that Dilip Kumar will always remain irreplaceable. "No One like you! Have a great journey from here on master... Rest in peace," the actor wrote.
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta called him "the greatest" and wrote: "There will never be another Dilip Kumar."
The Peshawar Connection:
Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government on Wednesday condoled the demise of Dilip Kumar, saying he will always be remembered for his love and affection he had for the people of his ancestral home town.
In a statement, Kamran Bangash, the Special Assistant on Information to Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), expressed profound grief and sorrow over the demise of the film legend. "Late Dilip had great regard and respect for the people of his birth place Peshawar. He will always be remembered for his services, love and affection he had for the people of Peshawar," the statement said.
The Pakistan government has already declared his native house as a national heritage and completed all formalities to convert it into a museum in his name. Kumar visited Peshawar in the early 90's. He was given an unprecedented reception and welcome by the people of Peshawar.