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Dilip Kumar, legendary Bollywood star, dies at 98

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Collaborators Vedika Sud, CNN

Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar, one of the most beloved figures in Indian cinema, died on Wednesday at the age of 98, his doctor confirmed.

Kumar was known by several generations of movie buffs for starring in cult Hollywood classics, including the movies “Devdas,” “Naya Daur,” “Ganga Jamuna,” and more. He often took on tragic roles, earning himself the nickname “King of Tragedy”.

“Dilip Kumar died at 7.30am this morning, after a prolonged illness,” said Dr Jalil Parkar, who was treating him at the Hindu Hospital in Bombay.

Kumar had been taken to hospital in early June and later discharged, but was re-admitted on June 30, according to posts on his official Twitter account.

On July 5, just two days before his death, Kumar’s wife, Saira Banu Khan, had tweeted from his account saying his health was improving.

A tweet from Kumar’s account, signed by family friend Faisal Farooqui, confirmed his death on Wednesday. “With a heavy heart and deep pain, I announce the death of our beloved Dilip Saab, a few minutes ago,” the tweet said.

Kumar is survived by his wife. The couple had no children.

People from all walks of life, including politicians, actors and athletes, shared their condolences on social media following the news of his death.

“Dilip Kumar Ji will be remembered as a film legend,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Wednesday. “He was blessed with incomparable brilliance, due to which the audience of generations was fascinated. His passing is a loss to our cultural world. Condolences to his family, friends and countless admirers.”

Amitabh Bachchan, another heavyweight from Bollywood, tweeted that “there is an institution” and added that he was “deeply saddened”.

“Whenever the history of Indian cinema is written, it will always be‘ before Dilip Kumar and after Dilip Kumar ’,” he wrote.

From the fruit seller to the movie star

Kumar was born Muhammad Yusuf Khan in 1922, in Peshawar, in what is now Pakistan. His father was a fruit merchant and the family moved to Mumbai, then known as Mumbai, during Kumar’s childhood in the 1930s. A decade later, he moved to Pune to launch a dining business and supply fruit.

It was in Pune where he was seen by actress Devika Rani, also the wife of a famous founder of Bollywood film studios. He helped the young man enter the industry and found the screen name by which he would be known, Dilip Kumar.

Although Kumar’s early films did not achieve much effect, his 1947 film “Jugnu” was a major success, followed by the hit “Shaheed” the following year. It was on the set of “Shaheed” that he met and began a relationship with actress Kamini Kaushal, an on-screen pairing that became a fan favorite, and resulted in three more consecutive hits starring the duo .

Dilip Kumar with actress Meena Kumari in a scene from the 1958 film "Yahudi."

Dilip Kumar with actress Meena Kumari in a scene from the 1958 film “Yahudi”. Credit: Matteo Omied / Alamy

By the 1950s, she had become one of India’s biggest stars, garnering a long list of awards, placing her on the same level as Bollywood legends like Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.

But his personal life also took headlines off the screen. After their relationship with Kaushal ended in 1951, he met actress Madhubala, another on-screen couple who became popular with the public and spawned the film “Mughal-e-Azam,” widely considered one of the Bollywood’s most successful films, and an icon of its history. genre.

He married his wife, actress Saira Banu, in 1966.

But his professional life began to wane in his later years, with a string of box office failures in the 60s and 70s, except for a few successful films. He retired in 1998 due to ill health.

In addition to the film awards, Kumar has also been recognized for his long and illustrious career. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, the third and second highest civilian award, given by the Indian government, for his contributions to cinema.

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