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Life & Style

Pakistanis share their grief and memories of Dilip Kumar

  • Thespians don’t die. They live on in their work, writes actor Adnan Siddiqui
Published July 7, 2021
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Legendary Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar passed away at a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday after a prolonged illness. He was 98.

His death was followed by an international outpouring of grief; as a giant of his industry, he had inspired colleagues and acolytes alike with his character on and off the screen.

Born Mohammad Yusuf Khan in 1922 in Peshawar, he was known by his screen name Dilip Kumar once he joined Bollywood in the 1940s. Kumar is survived by his wife, Saira Banu, a popular leading lady in Bollywood in the 1960s and 1970s.

He maintained connections to Pakistan throughout his life, visiting at least twice on private trips and meeting film and TV artists. In 1998, he was awarded a Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the country’s highest civil award, and to date is the only Indian to receive one. In 2014, his ancestral home in Peshawar’s Qissa Khawani Bazaar was turned into a national heritage site with funds allocated for its restoration and maintenance.

Kumar also helped with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initial efforts for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust by appearing at fundraisers. “Saddened to learn of Dilip Kumar's passing. I can never forget his generosity in giving his time to help raise funds for SKMTH when project launched. This is the most difficult time — to raise [the] first 10% of the funds and his appearance in Pakistan and London helped raise huge amounts,” wrote PM Khan.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed also expressed condolences, saying he had found Kumar to be an “enchanting” personality in their meetings.

Veteran Pakistani actor Manzar Sehbai also offered his condolences, sharing his photos with the Devdas actor on Instagram.

“The previous and the present century will never witness a most popular personality like him,” wrote actor Reema Khan, who added that the time she spent with Kumar and his wife Saira Banu in their home in 2004 would be a memory she’d keep forever.

“Thespians don’t die. They live on in their work,” wrote Adnan Siddiqui of the Mughal-e-Azam actor, adding that to call Kumar a “legend” would be an understatement.

"I was literally awed and spellbound with your presence. I can’t comprehend my feelings of losing an institution, a legend, the epitome of stardom yet kindness," wrote actor Imran Abbas, who also shared pictures from his time together with the star.

“That was when I realized the magic of the silver screen,” wrote longtime actor Simi Raheal, calling him the most powerful of the Bollywood Khans and a true gentleman. She also reminisced her first memories of watching Kumar on screen in his hit Devdas at a Lahore cinema: “I remember being mesmerized by his look, his presence and his voice!”


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