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Adnan Sami remembers Dilip Kumar: ‘He had an elephant’s memory’

Adnan Sami's late father Arshad Sami Khan, who was a Pakistani Pashtun, happened to be Dilip Kumar's first cousin from Peshawar. The singer said he used to address Kumar as Yousuf lala.

Adnan Sami and Dilip KumarAdnan Sami shared a collage of pictures with Dilip Kumar. (Photo: AdnanSamiLive/Twitter)

Dilip Kumar’s death is a personal loss for Adnan Sami, whose father was the first cousin of the legendary actor, said the singer as he remembered the screen icon as a great man who was simple heart.

Sami’s late father Arshad Sami Khan, who was a Pakistani Pashtun, happened to be the veteran star’s first cousin from Peshawar, he said.

“He had an aura and a personality. He was aware that he is Dilip Kumar but he would make everyone around him comfortable and calm them down. That was a sign of his greatness,” Sami told PTI.

Kumar passed away on Wednesday at the age of 98 following a prolonged illness. He was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Hinduja Hospital, a non-Covid-19 facility, last Tuesday.

Born as Yousuf Khan in Peshawar on December 11, 1922, Kumar was known to generations of film-goers as the “tragedy king“.

Recalling the days he spent with Kumar after London-born Sami shifted base to India from Pakistan in 1999, the singer said he used to address the legendary actor as Yousuf lala according to Pashtun tradition.

“He was Dilip Kumar, the superstar and the greatest actor of all time but I used to call him Yusuf lala. It’s a tradition in Pashtun to address elders with respect and that’s how we do it. To me, he was a man who was simple at heart and a very humble man.”


The 49-year-old singer, who became an Indian citizen in 2016, said Kumar was a pillar of support for him when he came to Mumbai.

“I remember when I had come to Mumbai he was of tremendous support. He guided me about how I should deal with different situations and conduct myself, among other things.”

They used to have unending discussions on art, literature, and cinema whenever they met, he added.

“At the drop of a hat, he would recite poetry. I must say he had an elephant’s memory. He would reminisce about his childhood, he never forgot his roots.”


Sami also revealed that Kumar was a foodie and his favourite dish was Kabuli pulao that the singer’s wife Roya used to cook especially for him.

“Yusuf lala was a master of wit. When I told him I have got married and this is my begum (wife) and he said, ‘So say this is my bahu (daughter-in-law)’. I didn’t know what to say next,” he recounted.

Kumar, often known as the Nehruvian hero, made his acting debut with Jwar Bhata in 1944 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, Shakti and Karma.

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From President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi to many Bollywood personalities, including Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan, several people from all walks of life paid rich tributes to the legendary actor.

First published on: 07-07-2021 at 04:25:11 pm
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