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Dilip Kumar

Muhammad Yusuf Khan, known professionally as Dilip Kumar, is an actor, producer and philanthropist, who was later elected to India’s parliament.

Popularly known as The Tragedy King and The First Khan, he has been credited with bringing realism to film acting since his first film.

Critics have acclaimed him as one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema.

Kumar debuted as an actor in the film Jwar Bhata (1944), produced by Bombay Talkies.

In a career spanning over five decades, Kumar worked in over 65 films.

Kumar is known for roles in films such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the heartwarming Babul (1950), the impassioned Deedar (1951), the swashbuckling Aan (1952), social drama Daag (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), Naya Daur (1957), Yahudi (1958), Madhumati (1958), Kohinoor (1960), the epic historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960), the social dacoit crime drama Gunga Jamuna (1961), and the comedy Ram Aur Shyam (1967).

In 1976, Kumar took a five-year break from film performances and returned with a character role in the film Kranti (1981) and continued his career playing leading roles in films such as Shakti (1982), Mashaal (1984), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). His last film was Qila (1998).

He has won nine Filmfare Awards and is the first recipient of the Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954). Dilip Kumar had a long relationship with actress Madhubala but never married her. He married actress Saira Bano in 1966.

He and his wife Saira Bano currently live in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra in India.

As of 2020, he is the last living male actor from Bollywood’s Golden Age of movies.

  • Full name: Muhammad Yusuf Khan
  • Profession: Indian actor
  • Born: 11 December 1922 (age 97 years), Peshawar, Pakistan
  • Full name: Muhammed Yusuf Khan
  • Siblings: Nasir Khan, Aslam Khan, Akhtar Asif, Noor Mohammed, MORE
  • Spouse: Asma Rehman (m. 1981–1983), Saira Banu (m. 1966)
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About Dilip Kumar

Kumar was born Yusuf Khan on 11 December 1922 at home in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar, British India (modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan).  

To Ayesha Begum and Lala Ghulam Sarwar Khan, one of 12 children, His father was a landlord and fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar and Deolali. Mohammad Yusuf Khan was schooled at Barnes School, Deolali, Nashik.

He grew up in the same religiously mixed neighbourhood as Raj Kapoor, his childhood friend, and later his colleague in the film industry.

In 1940, while still in his teens and after an altercation with his father, Mohammad Yusuf Khan left home for Pune in Maharashtra.

With the help of a Parsi café-owner and an elderly Anglo-Indian couple, Kumar met a canteen contractor.

Without letting on his family antecedents, he got the job on the merit of his knowledge of good written and spoken English.

He set up a sandwich stall at the army club and when the contract ended, he headed home to Mumbai, having saved Rs. 5000.

In 1943, anxious to start a venture to help his father with household finances, he met Dr. Masani at Churchgate Station, who asked him to accompany him to Bombay Talkies, in Malad.

There he met actress Devika Rani, owner of Bombay Talkies, who asked him to sign up with the company on a salary of Rs. 1250 per month.

There he met actor Ashok Kumar, who influenced his acting style by telling him to act “natural”.

He also met Sashadhar Mukherjee, and both of these people became close to Kumar over the years.

Initially, Kumar helped out in the story-writing and scripting department because of his proficiency in Urdu language.

Devika Rani requested him to change his name to Dilip Kumar, and later cast him in a lead role for Jwar Bhata (1944), which marked Kumar’s entry into the Hindi film industry.