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Dilip Kumar is no more, but his legend lives on

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Laid to rest with full state honours; President, PM, J&K LG, others pay tributes

Mumbai:  Legendary actor Dilip Kumar died at a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday morning and was laid to rest with full state honours in the evening, his death a testament that end of an era can be more than just a cliché. He was 98.

The actor, known to generations of film-goers as ‘tragedy king’ for his portrayal of the brooding, intense romantic in classics such as “Mughal-e-Azam” and “Devdas”, is survived by his wife Saira Banu.

Kumar, an enduring legend through his decades in cinema and in public life, had been admitted to the Hinduja Hospital, a non-COVID-19 facility in Khar, since last 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 on the actor’s Twitter handle at 8.01 am.

Kumar’s body was taken to his Pali Hill residence around 9.30 am where friends, political leaders and colleagues, including Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi, Shah Rukh Khan and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, paid their respects.

The screen icon, who embodied the best of India with his films and in his public persona, was accorded a state funeral, his body wrapped in the tricolour and a gun salute sounding out.

The actor was given a tearful sendoff at the Juhi Qabrastan at Santacruz shortly before 5 pm with just close family members present given Covid protocols.

While not more than 25-30 people were allowed inside the Qabrastan, the venue was packed with media and fans of the late star. The crowd, of nearly 100 people, was being controlled by the police.

Post the funeral, megastar Amitabh Bachchan and son Abhishek Bachchan visited the Juhu Qabrastan to pay their respects to Kumar.

The Hindi cinema veteran, the last of the golden troika with Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand and one of India’s most venerated stars, was admitted to hospital last month following episodes of breathlessness.

The actor had been battling ill health for the last few years, including advanced stage prostate cancer and lung disease, and had been in and out of hospital.

Kumar, born Yousuf Khan in Peshawar on December 11, 1922, underwent a successful aspiration procedure to treat his lung condition, doctors said. He was discharged after five days only to be admitted to the hospital again.

Condolence messages for the much-loved star, who had been an integral part of India’s societal fabric, poured in from all quarters with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi joining political leaders, the film fraternity and others to express their grief.

“Dilip Kumar summarised in himself a history of emerging India. The thespian’s charm transcended all boundaries, and he was loved across the subcontinent…Dilip Saab will live forever in the heart of India,” the president said.

The prime minister said Kumar would be remembered as a cinematic legend.

“He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled. His passing away is a loss to our cultural world. Condolences to his family, friends and innumerable admirers. RIP,” Modi said on Twitter.

While paying tributes to legendary star, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha tweeted:

“Saddened by the demise of legendary actor, Dilip Kumar Ji. He was a multifaceted personality, who entertained millions of fans in India and abroad with his versatile acting. His contribution to Indian cinema will always be remembered for centuries. Condolences to his family, admirers”.

Amitabh Bachchan, who co-starred with him in “Shakti”, said an institution has gone. “… whenever the history of Indian cinema will be written, it shall always be ‘before Dilip Kumar and after Dilip Kumar. My duas (prayer) for peace of his soul and the strength to the family to bear this loss… Deeply saddened.”

Dharmendra, who visited Kumar’s Pali Hill residence to pay his last respects earlier in the day, said he has lost his “most affectionate brother in the industry” with the legendary actor’s demise.

“Jannat naseeb ho hamare Dilip Sahab ko (May Allah give him the right place in heaven),” he tweeted.

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar said the screen icon had been ailing for a while.

“Yusuf Bhai was ill for the last many years, could not recognise anyone. At such a time Saira Bhabhi left everything and served him day and night. There was no other life for him. I bow to such a woman and pray that Yusuf Bhai’s soul rests in peace,” she tweeted.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Kumar’s extraordinary contribution to Indian cinema will be remembered for generations to come.

Pakistan’s top leadership and people also showered their adulation on the Peshawar born actor who was also awarded the country’s highest civilian award – Nishan-e-Imtiaz.

Pakistan President Arif Alvi described Kumar as “an outstanding actor, a humble man, and a dignified personality” in a tweet

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said Khan was “the greatest and most versatile actor”.

“Saddened to learn of Dilip Kumar’s passing. I can never forget his generosity in giving his time to help raise funds for SKMTH when (the) project launched. This is the most difficult time – to raise (the) first 10% of the funds & his appearance in Pak & London helped raise huge amounts,” Khan tweeted, referring to the hospital in his mother’s name.

Kumar, often known as the Nehruvian hero, did his first film “Jwar Bhata” in 1944, three years before independence, and his last “Qila” in 1998, 54 years later. The five-decade career included “Mughal-e-Azam”, “Devdas”, “Naya Daur”, and “Ram Aur Shyam”, and later, as he graduated to character roles, “Kranti” and ‘”Karma”.

The first of the Khans, as he was sometimes referred to, was nominated to the Rajya Sabha for one term, awarded the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, the Dadasaheb Phalke award and also served as sheriff of Mumbai. He was also a polyglot, fluent in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Marathi, Bengali and English.

Actor Shabana Azmi, wrote, “Adieu Dilip Saab. Unknown to you I have been your Eklavya. Thank you for the movies. Thank you for the language. Thank you for the dignity. Thank you for being socially responsible. Thank you.”

Among the many who paid their tributes to the actor, an inspiration for generations of actors to follow, was Subhash Ghai, who worked with him in “Karma” (1986) and “Saudagar” (1991).

“Dilip saheb Yusuf bhai gone. My personal loss of my most precious idol. No words,” Ghai tweeted.

Veteran actor Sharmila Tagore remembered Kumar as someone who was always at the forefront to help people in difficult times.

“At the time, the industry was so close knit that every time there was an earthquake, drought or crisis, the industry got together and raised money. I remember Yousuf sahab taking a lead role in all these activities,” Tagore recalled.

“Best actor Indian cinema has ever seen and will ever see… #RIP Dilip Saab,” tweeted Salman Khan.

Madhuri Dixit, who worked with Kumar in 1989’s “Kanoon Apna Apna”, said the screen icon single-handedly altered the present and went on to script history in the world of cinema.

Anil Kapoor reminisced about working with Kumar on three movies — “Shakti”, “Mashaal” (1984) and “Karma” (1986).

“He was and will always be the finest & greatest actor of our industry for me,” he said.

His “Karma” co-star Jackie Shroff also paid tributes to Kumar in a post on Instagram, writing, “Prayers for his soul and strength to the family.”

Anupam Kher, who played the antagonist in “Karma”, said Kumar was known for conjuring magic with his performances.

Sanjay Dutt, who worked with Kumar in “Vidhaata” and “Kanoon Apna Apna”, said the veteran actor was like a “father figure” to him.

“To the world many others may be heroes. To us actors, he was The Hero. #DilipKumar Sir has taken an entire era of Indian cinema away with him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Om Shanti,” actor Akshay Kumar said.

Kamal Haasan said Kumar was “a bridge of reconciliation between the people of India and Pakistan”.

Mohanlal hailed Dilip Kumar as the “doyen of Indian Cinema” who will forever be remembered.

“No one like you! Have a great journey from here on master… Rest in peace,” Manoj Bajpayee wrote.

Adnan Sami, whose father was the first cousin of the legendary actor from Peshawar, told PTI, he used to address him as Yousuf lala as per Pashtun tradition.

“To me, he was a man who was simple at heart and a very humble man,” he added.

South star Chiranjeevi described Kumar as “one of the greatest actors India has ever produced, an acting institution and a national treasure.”

“Thank you for the memories,” said filmmaker Srijit Mukherji said.

Prosenjit Chatterjee tweeted, “When it comes to his exceptional acting prowess – I don’t think I can even make a comment about it..can only admire forever.”

Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Taapsee Pannu, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal, Rajkummar Rao, Sonu Sood, Emraan Hashmi, John Abraham, Jr NTR, among others, also paid tributes to Kumar.

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