goodbye dilip kumar

dilip kumar, one of india’s greatest actors, an icon, a legend, loved by many generations of south asian women, passed away at 98. his real name was muhammed yusuf khan, born to a muslim family in peshawar in 1922, before the city became part of pakistan. my mother loved him. there was no one else like him. no one. although i was born too late to fall under dilip’s spell (i preferred sanjeev kumar, and later naseeruddin shah and farooq sheikh) i understood his appeal: the sensitivity with which he approached his craft, less machismo, more intelligence, and that mellifluous voice. he spoke like no other actor. his own cadence, his soft-spoken, almost musical way of delivering dialogue. my mother’s wildest dreams came true when dilip visited quetta at a time when my dad was posted there. my mom got to meet her idol. she couldn’t muster the courage to have a deep conversation with him but she got to shake his hand and tell him what he meant to her. perhaps i should finally watch mughal-e-azam, with dilip kumar and madhubala, a masterpiece i’ve been told many times. something to do with my mom – to think about the good old days and remember dilip fondly. inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.

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