Have personally always wondered, why a certain class of people had problem with the name Dilip Kumar. It was basically their sick mindset that didn’t allow them to think beyond tinted glasses of radicalised version. Few posts in Media did appear mischievously if as Dilip Kumar, he would be cremated or as Yousuf Khan, a burial would be arranged for him. He died on July 7, 2021 at an age of 98. He had been in & out of Hospitals quite frequently in his last few days. Medical emergencies on account of depleting health increased his visits to Hospitals & ICUs. His wife, Saira Banu, remained in constant company with him. But the inevitable finally happened. If Religious bigotry is a staple diet for certain elements with extremist views, no one can mend their ways with even plainest of Truth. It must be noted that the lad of ‘Kissa Khwani Bazar’ in Peshawar was named Mohd. Yousuf Khan by father Ghulam Sarwar Khan. He was a very shy boy with all natural inhibitions. The area where his childhood was spent, in literal translation meant, the lane of Story-tellers. As if by divine intervention, his vocation-call led him to the destination matching that description only. His family basically traded in Fruits. In a lean period of business, they all shifted to Mumbai and started afresh in Crawford Market in Fruits business only. Yousuf completed his Graduation from local Khalsa College and after a tiff with father, did an independent stint as Manager in Army Canteen at Pune. Once back in Bombay, an acquaintance took him to Devika Rani of Bombay Talkies. She got highly impressed by the smart looks of the young man and his ability to speak good Urdu. She immediately offered him to work in films at Rs.1250/- pm which were astronomical by any standards, he could think of. Once employed, he learnt tricks of the trade gradually. In initial years, actor Ashok Kumar mentored him teaching nuances of acting. But before he could be launched in acting assignment, Devika Rani changed his name to Dilip Kumar, a preferred name out of three choices offered. In fact, those days, it was a done thing to give screen names to actors. It was Devika Rani only who had changed the name of Kumud Ganguli to Ashok Kumar. No doubt, approaching years before Independence and its fallout in the form of Partition, had not remained that cordial as they used to be earlier. So probably, it was purely a practical business-decision of the Lady to give him a non-controversial screen name, Dilip Kumar. He accepted it willingly on the other hand as it would have helped him to keep his identity as actor camouflaged from father whom he dreadfully respected and who didn’t have good opinion about film as a profession. Certain other prominent screen names deserve a mention here like Meena Kumari (for Mahzabeen), Bina Rai ( for Krishna Sarin) etc. After a couple of initial setbacks, Dilip Kumar got stupendous success in Jugnu, just when Partition had divided our land. Many Muslim Artists chose migration to Pakistan but not Yousuf Khan for his destiny was to shine in India. He thus remains a proud God’s Gift to us. He started delivering hit-after-hits in movies like Mela, Deedar, Andaz etc. His charismatic personality and strong dialogue-delivery had caught the fascination of Indian masses. He soon got the highest paid actor status. He used to be the preferred choice of established Producers and renowned Directors. An era of Dilip Kumar started like an aura unheard of earlier. There was a time when many leading Heroines of those times had pinching desire to be cast opposite him. But he didn’t let himself turn into a Taxi accepting customers at the drop of a hat. He preferred quality over quantity to maintain a particular standard of class to his chosen vocation. In a career-span of just over 60 years, he did just approximately as number of films restricting himself to one movie a year at an average. In 50s & 60s, he did Daag, Shikast, Shabnam, Musafir, Uran Khatola, Aan, Amar, Naya Daur, Insaniyat, Madhumati, Sunghursh, Dil Diya Dard Liya etc. But the role that established his credentials as ‘Tragedy King’ was in Devdas by Bimal Roy. A classic out of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s vision. The film was a complete package. Suchitra Sen was so angelic as Paro as if she only was born to do that particular role, no one else. Vyjyanthimala had transformed herself into the skin of sacrificing nautch-girl, Surajmukhi, to such a total perfection that it resplendently translated on screen through her dances. Moti Lal was at his natural best. All the actors were hand-picked by the Director like Jewels in a necklace as stands proved by Nazir Hussain in the role of attendant-companion of Devdas. Dilip Kumar stole the hearts as self-destructive anti-hero inviting suicidal-like death. Such roles impacted his personal mental-health so invasively that he had to seek Psychologist Advice from a London Doctor. Under his suggestion, he decided to change track from Tragedy to Comedy roles. Guru Dutt had wanted him to do the role of dejected Poet in Pyasa but due to same reason, he politely declined, rather advised Guru Dutt to cast himself in the role. Dilip Kumar came with a vengeance in his new avatar starting with Azad followed by Kohinoor, Leader, Ram aur Shyam, Gopi etc. Somewhere in between two defining roles of his life put a stamp of versatility on this Power House of acting. ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ was a Magnum Opus, a vision of K. Asif. Ganga-Jamuna was his own Production and he, in fact, Ghost-directed it for the official Director, Nitin Bose. Fans wonder, how could a Pathan speak Bhojpuri with such a perfect fluency, but he did. Not many know that he was a Polyglot who could speak Hindi, English, Punjabi, Pashto, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu with equal ease and fluently too. His speeches are still a pleasure to listen to. His choice of words was always magnificent. His diction & way of speech was so endearing that it would cast a spell on the listener. Satyajit Ray called him to be the 1st Method Actor of Indian screen. Many claim that he did it even much before Marlon Brando. For a scene requiring him to show his breathlessness after a stiff climb atop a hillock to meet his damsel ‘Madhumati’, he literally ran around the studio many times just before the shot to bring alive that very effectiveness on screen. He did take care of minute details too like taking off his coat on the top to convey a feeling of generated heat after the climb. He would surprise his audiences by his style of acting. When they expected of him to be loud in a particular scene, he would just convey the anger dismissively by his silent gaze only, and when they expected a sombre response from him, he delivered a scorching dialogue to express his feelings. He was the primary author of Monologues before gods on Indian screen. Not that nothing, he is called Thespian. In later years and due to advancing age after unsuccessful outing in Bairaag, he took a hiatus of five years. His second innings started as Character Actor with Kranti followed by some inconsequential outings on Box-office returns like Duniya, Dharmadhikari, Izzatdar etc but still, his acting was appreciated. In his second innings, certain films like Shakti, Karma, Vidhata, Saudagar etc gave him ample scope to show his histrionics and public loved it all. His last film was Quila and thereafter, he led a retired life. But his social life was not curtailed. He remained as ever actively associated with many charitable societies where his charismatic persona helped to raise funds. He was a nominated Rajya Sabha member once & had also been once chosen as Sheriff of Bombay. A Padma Shree awardee, he was our Pride worldwide. Film fraternity has overwhelmingly expressed shock & grief at his departure from this Planet. Dharmendra, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi, Shatrughan Sinha, Mukesh Khanna and a hoard of others have paid glowing tributes to him. Amitabh Bachchan has summed-up his departure by tweeting that henceforth Hindi films shall be known by two distinctive periods as ‘Dilip Kumar era and Post-Dilip Kumar era’. Certainly, a whole generation of actors after him could not remain unaffected, consciously or sub-consciously, by his stupendous repertoire as learning lessons. May our Government someday consider conferring him with ‘Bharat Ratna’ posthumously, we do believe. Meanwhile, pray for eternal peace to his soul.