Popularly known as the ‘Tragedy King’ of Bollywood, Dilip Kumar, passed away today at the age of 98. In the latest interview with actor, filmmaker and politician Hema Malini, got emotional talking about the late actor who she never got an opportunity to be paired opposite him in movies.
In a telephonic conversation, the actress said, “Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar were the three pillars of Bollywood. Each one had a distinct style of acting. With Raj Saab, I started my career in Hindi films. With Dev Saab, I was fortunate to do 7-8 movies. He was very fond of me. However, unfortunately, I never got an opportunity to be paired opposite Dilip Saab.”
The only time Malini worked with Kumar was in the film Kranti (1981). “But I was not paired opposite him. He played the role of my father-in-law,” says the actress who was later directed by him for a TV show.
She shares, “His wife Saira Ji made a TV show in which they showcased the journey of actors who are dancers. So, one episode was based on me, which was directed by him. It was shot in my house and I enjoyed being a part of the project which Dilip Saab was working on so passionately.”
As an admirer of the actor, Malini loved watching his films. “I liked Dilip Kumar-Vyjayanhtimala Jodi a lot and so I enjoyed watching films like Ganga Jumna, Sunghursh and Leader. When I was offered the film Seeta Aur Geeta, I wondered if people would compare me with Dilip Ji as it was similar to his film Ram Aur Shyam. He was a very sweet person and every time we met woh kisse sunanae lag jaate the about how they would shoot films back then without the advent of technology and so many facilities, which was always very interesting to hear.”
Recollecting one of the fondest memories of the actor, she shares, “It was very sweet of him to attend my daughter Esha’s (Deol Takhtani) wedding. He wasn’t able to walk. It was so beautiful and admirable to see Saira ji holding his hand and leading the way. We had made special arrangements for him to enter the venue so that he avoids the crowd. I felt happy that he came all the way and showered Esha and Bharat (husband) with his blessings.”
The actress signs off saying, “Through the years I kept in touch with Saira ji. Once a month I would make a call to her to know about Dilip ji’s health. Every time he was hospitalized we prayed for him, but this time he left all of us.”