Arts & Entertainment

Dilip Kumar, ‘tragedy king’ of Indian cinema, dies at 98

By Sarwar Kashani

Srinagar, India, July 7 (EFE).- Dilip Kumar, one of the most celebrated Indian actors, who earned the nickname of “The Tragedy King” for his lugubrious roles in Bollywood films, died on Wednesday morning, his family said. He was 98.

Born as Yusuf Khan in 1922, the actor was more famous for his screen name of Dilip Kumar and dominated the Indian cinema during what is known as the golden age of Bollywood from the 1940s to the 1960s.

He was ailing for quite some time and was admitted to a hospital a week ago.

“With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip Saab. We are from God and to Him we return,” Faisal Farooqui, a family friend, wrote on the actor’s Twitter account.

Kumar was on June 30 admitted to a hospital in Mumbai, the financial and entertainment capital of India, after breathing difficulties.

The actor, known for his pensive good looks and soft and deep voice, was born in Peshawar of British India, now in Pakistan.

He acted in more than 65 films in his film career spanning more than half a century.

He debuted with “Jwar Bhata” in 1944 that was a box office disappointment but marked the beginning of an era for Kumar, who went on to become one of the most famous actors in the Indian cinema.

His most celebrated films include “Mela” (1948), “Andaz” (1949), Devdas (1955), and Mughal-e-Azam (1960).

“Mela,” a romantic tragedy of star-crossed lovers crushed by the rigid rules of society and the villainy of a scoundrel, catapulted Kumar into real stardom.

Then came “Andaz”, in which Kumar played a jilted lover caught in a love triangle between a woman and her husband. The film was one of the highest-grossing Indian movies of that era.

He played a dramatic drunkard in “Devdas,” where a scion of a wealthy landowner family turns to alcohol and self-pity after he ends his relationship with his childhood sweetheart due to class differences.

Kumar added to his stardom by playing a Muslim crown prince in the historical epic Mughal-e-Azam where he falls in love with a court dancer and battles with his emperor father, Akbar.

The actor tried his luck and switched over to politics in 1998.

In 2000, he got nominated as a lawmaker in the upper house of Indian parliament for a six-year term.

In 1998, he received Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian honor in Pakistan, which angered Hindu nationalists in India.

The Indian government, in 1994, awarded him the Dadasaheb Phalke award, the highest honor for contributions to the cinema in the country.

In 1991, the government awarded him a Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award of India. He received a Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian honor, in 2015.

Numerous Bollywood celebrities, politicians, and citizens took to social media to pay their respects to the deceased actor.

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