One reason those roles of Dilip Kumar seem to have made such an impact on me could be this: the loads and tons of patience his characters so beautifully essay and personify. And with our new-found patience in these pandemic times, we are finding virtue in many aspects of life that we otherwise wouldn’t have…
By Ahmad Hamood
I was born in the year 2000. Which qualifies me as one from the ‘Generation Z’! You may also call me a post-Millennial, or one from the ‘iGeneration’.
We are – as Wikipedia tells us – the demographic cohort following the Millennials (those reaching young adulthood around the year 2000, when we had just about opened our eyes to this abode called Earth).
I had had a fleeting sense of Dilip Kumar thus far. After all, we were born the same year that Hrithik Roshan made his debut in – Kaho Na Pyar Hai, year 2000. And, since the time dad has been taking me to movie theatres (may I tell you he’s been doing it very, very often and this passion of his continues unabated!), it has been Hrithik the roshan star for us, my favorite.
Dad often tells me he belongs to the generation that grew up reading ‘A’ for Amitabh and ‘B’ for Bachchan!
So, when I learnt of Dilip Kumar’s demise a few days ago – of course it was all over the media, the social media, the drawing room discussions in family – that fleeting sense returned. It came back to haunt me to the extent I went into binge watching of some of his classics: Ram Aur Shyam, Ganga Jamuna, Devdas, and a few more.
One of the things that struck me was his regal, almost effortless, way with the Urdu language. This, I felt, added a humongous charm to his dialogue delivery.
I can neither read nor write Urdu. Many of the Urdu words he spoke were alien to me, let’s say as alien as French or German since I cannot write or read French or German as well. And yet, those Urdu words seemed so mellifluous that one almost seemed to understand their meaning.
So, what was it that made me grasp the meaning of those regal-sounding words?
In my own assessment, empathy it was. Yes, empathy. At least that’s what I could make out of it.
So, here was an actor who I thought delved really, really deep into the realm of empathy. It’s the ‘connect’ I thought that was making such a difference.
On dad’s advice I watched two movies of his, which, as dad told me, brought out two opposite spectrums of his acting career – Devdas and Ram Aur Shyam. And phew, what a contrast it was! Almost like the literal meaning of ‘antonym’.
What struck me most was the ease with which he dons both the hats. Effortless. Picture perfect, almost.
My dad tells me he finds Naseeruddin Shah’s criticism of Dilip Kumar as “someone who didn’t groom other actors” as “superfluous and bordering on envy”.
I do not know. I have no credentials to comment on that. It’s my dad’s opinion on Naseeruddin Shah’s opinion of Dilip Kumar aka Muhammed Yusuf Khan, who was born on 11th December 1922 in Peshawar in Pakistan, and passed away in Mumbai in India on 7th July 2021.
Of course, I am not a film critic as well. So I am in no position to comment on the finer nuances of the thespian’s acting skills. And yet, I could find so much comfort in the measured way he would conduct himself on screen.
My dad tells me he once met Dilip Kumar sometime in the year 1993 and found him equally measured and gentle off screen as well.
The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the way we had been conducting ourselves – I mean, we the post-Millennials. Until corona struck us last year, we could never imagine we were capable of staying put in a 2-BHK flat for months together and not venture out of our abodes. Or that we could skip the gym or the cricket ground or the shopping arcade for so long a time. Patience had always been in short supply for us post-Millennials in the pre-pandemic era. No more. Now, we have indeed learnt to be patient the hard way, the pandemic way.
One reason those roles of Dilip Kumar seem to have made such an impact on me could be this: the loads and tons of patience his characters so beautifully essay and personify. And with our new-found patience in the pandemic times, we are finding virtue in many aspects of life that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
A big salute to his breath-taking repertoire of skill-sets. They called him the Tragedy King. But I found him exactly the opposite in Ram Aur Shyam. Some of the scenes in the movie just trigger a laughter riot nothing less. I had never laughed so much watching a movie. A case in point is the scene where he keeps gulping down eggs one after the other while an angry Pran keeps on trying to scaremonger him with his menacing eyes.
This post-Millennial just couldn’t help appreciating Dilip saheb’s contribution to Indian cinema.
You were indeed an original, Dilip saheb.
You were such a gentleman giant.
You’ll continue to inspire generations – the Millennials, the post-Millennials and all.
Rest in peace Dilip saheb.
[This article has been used here in arrangement with www.thenewsporter.com, where it was first published]
Ahmad Hamood is a freelance journalist currently pursuing his management studies from Mumbai. He takes up freelance assignments occasionally and likes to write on subjects he considers close to his heart.