Tag Archives: Mughal-E-Azam

Dilip Kumar – the man who redefined acting.

Dilip Kumar – the man who redefined acting.

written by Souranath Banerjee

In the 40s, when the legendary actors K.L. SaigalPrithviraj Kapoor and Ashok Kumar were still running the show in the Mumbai Film Industry, three superstars burst into the scene with their debut films lined up within a couple of years to each other – Dipil Kumar Jwar Bhata (1944), Dev Anand Hum Ek Hain (1946) and Raj Kapoor Neel Kamal (1947).

dev-anand-raj-kapoor-and-dilip-kumarThey changed the concept of stardom and in the process revolutionized Indian Cinema!

One of the most popular heroine of the time, Devika Rani and her husband Himansu Rai, the owner of the famous Bombay Talkies studio spotted young Dilip Kumar and gave him his first break.

And thus, at the age of 22, Mohammed Yusuf Khan, the son of a fruit merchant from Peshawar and at the time a canteen manager by profession, changed his name to Dilip Kumar and tried his luck in acting.

Dilip-kumar2But his first film Jwar Bhata was a big flop and all the critics doubted the debutant’s acting capability!

Little did they know that this debutant’s career will span over the next six decades and with over 60 films; that this aspiring actor will be the first recipient of Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954) and will also eventually hold the Guinness World Record for the maximum number of awards won by any Indian actor ever (8 Filmfare Best Actor awards and 19 Filmfare nominations). And in 1993 he was given with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award too.

Devdas-poster1Dilip Kumar is honored by the Government of India with the Padma Bhushan award in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions towards Indian cinema and is also nominated to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term.

Even the Government of Pakistan honoured him with their highest civilian honour Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1997!

Dilip Kumar’s image as an actor was primarily that of the ‘Tragedy King’. HulchulJoganTaranaDeedarDaagMadhumatiGunga Jumna – in all these films he specialized in playing the intensely passionate, sensitive yet doomed lover (no wonder he was also the ideal ‘Devdas’ for Bimal Roy‘s famous tragic drama Devdas 1955).

Madhumati-posterSuch was his involvement in these tragic roles that he soon suffered from depression in his personal life and following his psychiatrist’s opinion Dilip Saab started acting in light-hearted films and social dramas as well. Such films were AanAzaadNaya DaurMusafirKohinoor.

In the films Ram Aur Shyam and Dastaan he played double roles and in Bairaag he even did a triple role!

andazHis acting capability was probably most appreciated in Mehboob Khan‘s superhit film Andaz (1949) where he was paired opposite to Raj Kapoor and Nargis. And also (towards the last phase of his acting career) in the film Shakti (1982) where he clashed with superstar Amitabh Bachchan

But Dilip Kumar’s most popular role till date will be as Prince Saleem  in K. Asif‘s magnum opus Mughal-E-Azam (1957).

Mughal-E-Azam-posterHis performance – the emotional duels with Prithviraj Kapoor (who played the part of Akbar) and the romantic chemistry with Madhubala (who played Anarkali) have become some of the most proud moments in the history of Indian Cinema.

Dilip Kumar’s use of silence in certain scenes was legendary. Many a times he managed to convey a lot without even speaking a word, only through his eyes, expressions and body language.

And he mastered the technique of turning his back to the camera, hiding his facial emotions from the audience and intensifying the drama of the scene in an unique way.

A famous scene with Raj Kapoor from the film Andaz is a perfect example of such tenique.

He was recognized as “the ultimate method actor” by Satyajit Ray himself.

By the way, Dilip Kumar refused the role of “Sherif Ali” which was offered to him by the famous British director David Lean for his film Lawrence of Arabia (1962). The role eventually went to the Egyptian actor, Omar Sharif.

with-Bimal-RoyDilip Saab had great regards for director Bimal Roy with whom he had worked in classics such as YahudiMadhumati and Devdas. He fondly remembered him with his kind words:

Today we have institutions, they teach cinema, acting etc. We did not have these in our times. We had instead directors like Bimal Roy’.

As Dilip Kumar recently touched 90, we wish him good health and thank him for not only his enormous contribution to Indian Cinema but also for entertaining us for decades by his sheer enigmatic screen presence.

A living legend indeed!

Best Bollywood Classics (10+1list)

Best Bollywood Classics

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Bollywood Classics: Can anybody pin point the place so popularly know as ‘Bollywood’?

You cannot, because interestingly enough Bollywood does not exist as a physical place.

Bollywood’s existence is only in the form of it’s Cinemas; the films that are produced from in and around Mumbai (earlier called Bombay) essentially in the language ‘Hindi’.

When Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke) made the first Indian silent feature Raja Harishchandra in 1913; when Ardeshir Irani directed films like Alam Ara in 1931 (the first talkie film of India) and Kisan Kanya in 1937 (the first Indian colored film) – little did they know that some day the Bombay-based Film industry (Bollywood) will churn out the maximum number of films in the world!  

Bollywood is our planet’s largest Cinema factory, producing more than 1,000 films annually; about the double of Hollywood’s output!

And now let’s focus on some of the evergreen Bollywood classics; films which are adored by all generations and are directly responsible for Bollywood’s world wide success.

Here we go.

1. Do Bigha Zamin (1953)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmy8B_4bhAQ

Do-Bigha-Zamin-poster

Staring Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy, the film is a classic tale of economic exploitation with which we can easily relate to, even today.

Directed by Bimal Roy, it’s the heart breaking story of a poor farmer who in order to free his land-debts takes up rickshaw-pulling as a profession.

The film won the first ever Filmfare award and also got a special mention at the Cannes film festival.

2. Shree 420 (1955)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRg65WuI1tY

Shree420-poster

Probably the most influential film of the time that took Bollywood to global popularity.

A man comes to Bombay with big dreams that eventually comes true but with a price of course.

Director/actor Raj Kapoor sets a trend with his baggy trousers and the Chaplin-hat as he goes along the road singing ‘mera juta hain Japani’.

3. Mother India (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmPzpWQ5v_E

mother-india-poster

Starring NargisSunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar, it was the first Bollywood film that was nominated for the Oscars as the best Foreign language film from India.

The love and struggle of a single mother bringing up her two sons, director Mehboob Khan made the first ever Bollywood film with a female protagonist! 

4. Mughal-E-Azam (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXz_vWzMh_U

MughalEAzam-poster

A dramatization of the famous Mughal love story – prince Saleem (Dilip Kumar) who falls in love with a court-dancer Anarkali (Madhubala) against the will of his father, emperor Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor).

Director K. Asif manages to get the best out of these brilliant actors. With only expressions and dialogues – this film is probably the best ‘love-story’ ever made. 

5. Pyaasa (1957)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBZYJAzz5ys

pyaasa-poster

A film about poetic injustice (literally), since it’s the story of a poet and his thirst for love, fame and recognition.

Guru Dutt, the visionary actor/director along with Mala Sinha and Waheeda Rehman brings us this masterpiece.

Soulful songs – Sachin Dev BurmanHemanta MukherjeeGeeta Dutt and Mohammad Rafi at their best.

The 50s and the early 60s were considered as the ‘golden age’ of Bollywood and rightly so.

6. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDbIT13MRY

Sahib-Bibi-Aur-Ghulam-poster

Directed by Abrar Alvi, an illicit love story full of passion and desire, hate and loneliness – an epic tragedy.

Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman and Rehman in the star cast but the one who really stands out is Meena Kumari. Her drunken outbursts and the sarcastic laughs are textbook even for today’s heroines who dare to take such courageous roles.

7. Anand (1971)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfGX2AEaMUU

anand-poster

A man who is too busy living his life to the fullest, too busy to notice his terminal illness, too busy to be afraid of his inevitable death!

Superstar Rajesh Khanna gives his career best performance and Amitabh Bachchan is a great support.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee‘s best, the film will make you laugh and cry at the same time!

8. Sholay (1975)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLhzpe3_V_g

sholay-poster

Bollywood enters the phase of hard-core action and this film is an epic in it’s own right. A true entertainer.

Ramesh Sippy‘s direction, the brutal clash between Gabbar (Amjad Khan) and Thakur’s (Sanjeev Kumar) hired ‘hands’ Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) and Veeru (Dharmendra).  

Hema Malini and Jaya Bhaduri takes care of the love stories on the side.

9. Deewaar (1975)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN1ptONRWpE

deewar-poster

Enters the ‘angry young man’ – the era of Amitabh Bachchan best portrayed by this particular film.

The anger and an attitude of revolt against the system, the underworld and the police, the clash of two brothers, and the dilemma of their mother.

Yash Chopra direction, staring Shashi KapoorNeetu SinghNirupa Roy and Parveen Babi

10. Bhumika (1977)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdcVs0nceOY

bhumika-poster

Shyam Benegal was one director who held tight the reigns of art-cinema in Bollywood. This film is one of his greatest work and Smita Patil gives her best performance. 

The story of a girl growing up, her career, her affairs, her joy and her despairs.

Naseeruddin ShahAmrish PuriAmol PalekarKulbhushan Kharbanda all at their best.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most cool one. A must watch).

+1.  Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spkmLziFFg4

Jaane-Bhi-Do-Yaaro-poster

And finally a comedy, an ultimate political satire, full of dark humor and many rib-tickling moments of absolute joy.

Directed by Kundan Shah, the film is about two photographers Ravi Baswani and Naseeruddin Shah who are sucked into a whirlpool of dishonesty, corruption and murder.

Om PuriPankaj KapurSatish KaushikNeena Gupta all at their best but towards the end of the film Satish Shah as ‘Draupadi’ is simply priceless!

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Poster courtesy: www.imdb.comwww.impawards.com.