Saturday, December 10, 2022

Dilip Kumar, an Actor and Gentleman Par Excellence

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 10 December 2022 The memories of my first meeting with Dilip Kumar are still verdant in my memory. I met him at Turf Club, Poona, way back in 2007. My journalist friend Naeem Akhtar, who worked with a Pakistani Urdu daily, Azkaar (plural of Zikra) wanted to interview the thespian. He had already fixed an appointment. Yusuf Sahab used to visit Turf Club, Poona, and was particularly associated with Poona and Deolali (Nasik). We met him at 5 pm. Contrary to today's actors and their supercilious attitude and a retinue of assistants, secretary and a host of fawning admirers, Yusuf Sahab himself attended to my friend's call when he gave him a tinkle. That was in Bombay. He told him that he'd be in Poona where he, my friend, could meet and interview him. We both had a sense of trepidation before meeting him. After all, we were meeting a living legend who in addition to being a great actor, was also an erudite conversationalist. But lo and behold, he turned out to be so down to earth and humble, a sign of real greatness. “Adaab, Yusuf Sahab," we said in unison. “Adaab, Barkhurdar”, he replied politely. Dilip Kumar ------ Readers may be aware that Dilip Kumar never spoke loudly. He once told an interviewer, “Humne Taa-Hayaat Kabhi Kisi Se Oonchi Aawaaz Mein Baat Nahin Kee. Oonchi Aawaaz Mein Baat Karna Humein Shaaistagi Ke Khilaaf Lagta Hai '' (Never in life have I spoken aloud. To me, speaking loudly is against the very tenets of etiquette). To put us in ease, he continued, "Shahar-e-Poona (he never said the most awful-sounding Pune, Mumbai and Chennai and always used the old names of these metros) Se Hamari Beshumaar Yaadein Vaabista Hain. Na Jaane Iss Shahar Ki Hawa Main Aisi Kya Baat Hai Ke Jo Koi Yahan Aata Hai, Iski Muhabbat Mein Aseer Ho Jaata Hai” (I've fond memories of Poona. There's something so special about this city that whoever visits Poona, gets enamoured of it). He spoke at length about his life, career, his friends and co-actors and regaled us with his anecdotes. Extremely well read, Dilip Kumar would quote his friend and favourite Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz's Urdu poetry. He'd also quote Pablo Neruda and Robert Frost. He was devoid of all pretensions and was humility personified. When asked, how did he feel having achieved so much in life, Dilip Sahab quoted Raghupati Sahay 'Firaq' Gorakhpuri's famous couplet, " Bulandiyaan Sar Keen, Safar-E-Taveel Tay Kiya / Palat Ke Dekhta Hoon, Kya Khoya, Kya Paaya" (Reached dizzying heights, travelled a long way / Now when I look back, I ruminate over what I achieved and lost). There was no stipulated time given to us. It was a long interview followed by dinner. When we finished the interview, we thanked him for sparing time for us. He said, “Shukriya Toh Humein Ada Karna Chahiye, Baad-E-Muddat Aap Donon Se Adabi Urdu Mein Baat Karne Ka Mauqa Mila” (I should thank you as I got an opportunity after a long time to converse with you in chaste Urdu). That was his greatness. No airs, no attitude. The memories of that meeting are forever etched in the crevices of my heart and mind. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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