Legendary Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar died on Wednesday morning after prolonged illness, his family and doctors treating him said. He was 98.
Kumar, known to generations of film-goers as 'tragedy king', had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Hinduja Hospital, a non-COVID-19 facility, since Tuesday.
"He passed away due to prolonged illness at 7.30 am," Dr Jalil Parkar, who had been treating Kumar, told PTI.
"With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip Saab, few minutes ago. We are from God and to Him we return," family friend Faisal Farooqui posted from the actor's Twitter handle.
The "Mughal-e-Azam" actor had been in and out of hospitals in the last one month and the family was hoping he would get better.
Dilip Kumar's youngest brother Aslam Khan, who was battling Covid-19, passed away on August 21 at the age of 88. The actor's second brother Ahsan Khan succumbed to the virus on September 3.
Kumar’s love life was as colourful as his onscreen persona. He fell in love with evergreen actress Madhubala while working in “Tarana”. They dated for 7 years after which he ended the relationship over personal issues with the actress and her father.
Before that he also dated actress Kamini Kaushal.
In 1966, Kumar married actress Saira Banu, who was 22 years younger than him.
Saira Banu was in love with Dilip from the age of 12. She confessed her love in a tabloid interview by saying, “I was not just another girl smitten by Dilip Kumar. For me, it was no castle in the air because I had given my dream the strong foundation of faith- faith in myself and faith in God.”
The premiere of Dilip Kumar’s superhit tragic romance, “Mughal-E-Azam”, was at Maratha Mandir in 1960. Those days she was 16-year-old. She went for the show only to get a first glimpse of the actor. But apparently, he was unable to come to the premiere.
Later, when she meets him, she remembered the very first moments fondly and as clearly as ever. She said in an interview, “When he smiled at me and remarked that I was a pretty girl, I could feel my whole being taking wing and flying rapturously. I knew somewhere deep within me that I was going to be his wife.”
The person behind Dilip and Saira, who brought them closer is Saira Banu’s mother Naseem Banu, who played a role of cupid between Dilip and Saira. She brought them closer and their love blossomed in the air. Later, he proposed to her while she was shooting for “Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan”. He said, “Saira, you are not the kind of girl I want to drive around with, or be seen around with… I would like to marry you… Will you be my wife?” Promptly came the response from Saira, “And how many girls have you said this to?” She, however, said yes.
However, in 1981 he married Hyderabad socialite Asma Sahiba, and made her his second wife. This however ended in 1983.
Calling it the only regret in his life, Kumar recalled in an interview, “Well, the one episode in my life that I would like to forget and which we, Saira, and I, have pushed into eternal oblivion is a grave mistake I made under pressure of getting involved with a lady named Asma Rehman whom I had met at a cricket match in Hyderabad."
Although Kumar and Banu have no children, according to his biography, "Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow", he revealed that Saira Banu conceived in 1972, but developed high blood pressure in her eighth month of pregnancy and the doctors couldn't save the baby, which had been strangulated by the umbilical cord.
Speaking of Dilip Kumar's contribution to Indian cinema, his career had spanned over six decades.
He acted in over 65 films in his career and is known for his iconic roles in movies like “Devdas” (1955), “Naya Daur” (1957), “Ganga Jamuna” (1961), “Kranti” (1981), and “Karma” (1986). His last film was “Qila”, which was released in 1998.