‘Tragedy King’ Dilip Kumar is no more. The actor breathed his last on Wednesday morning at the age of 98. The actor, who ruled the industry for several decades, was famous for his tragic roles in films. In an old interview, Dilip Kumar admitted how playing such characters or being a part of such films affected his mental well-being, calling it as a “punishment to our nervous equipment.”
“Main aapko bataun, tragedy yani almiyaan kisam ki kahaani ka asar jyada hota hai. Jaise Laila Majnu ki daastaan ya Shireen Farhad ka qissa, jahaan uska anjaam almiyaa hoga uska asar ya gham ka, taqleef ka, ranj ka asar derpah hota hai. Khushi jaldi guzar jaati hai. Mere khayaal se, ye almiyaa adakaari ka impression jyada der tak zaya raha hai wo iss wajah se hai ki almiyaa khud derpaa asar rakhti hai. (Let me tell you, tragedy has an impact for a longer time. For instance, stories of Laila Majnu or Shireen Farhad, where the ending is tragic or the characters are in pain, they tend to stay more with the audience. The feeling of happiness tends to phase out sooner. Even my acting in such films and the tag given to me lingers on only because of how tragedy continues to stay with the to people),” Dilip Kumar told BBC’s Mahendra Kaul in an interview, which was conducted in 70s.
When Kaul asked Dilip Kumar if portraying such characters have impacted him personally, the actor replied, “Of course!”
“These kind of emotions do impact your conscience,” Dilip Kumar said, adding that because he was attempting such roles at an early age, he was getting impacted and sought help of an acting coach as well as a psychiatrist.
“Log tragedians hote hai badi umar me jaise ki Laurence Olivier rahe hai. Lekin choti umar me ye bohot hi asar-andaaz hoti hai. Iske liye maine ek drama ke coach the unse mashwara kiya, ek psychiatrist the unse mashwara kiya. Ye insaan ke nukht-e-nigaah ko tragic rang dedeti hai. Yun samjh lijiye ki badnaseebi ki mohar lag gayi hum par bhi. Unhone kaha action film ya comedy film karne ko. Maine koshish kari. Maine comedies kee jaise Shabnam, Azad, Ram Aur Shyam (People are tragedians in latter phase of their lives but when you are at an early age, these sort of roles or films can impact you. I consulted a coach and a psychiatrist. Both told me to experiment with other sort of genres such as action or comedy. I did try. I did comedies like Shabnam, Azad and Ram Aur Shyam),” Dilip Kumar said. However, he added that working on a tragedy film is tough for an actor because it is like punishment for him.
“Wo kehte hai ye aapki maa hai aur ye marr gayi. Ab humko maloom hai ki ye humari maa nahi hai. Ye marri hue nahi hai. Inka naam Lalita Pawar hai. Ye abhi tak jaag rahi thi. Thodi der pehle hi inhone pet bhar ke khana khaya hai. Lekin apne upar uss jazbaat ko haavi karna ek saza hai apne nervous equipment pe. Ye roz roz ya har saal ye kaam karta rahe toh iska aseer hojata hai (They say act like your mother has died. Now, I know that this is not my mother nor she is dead. I know that she is Lalita Pawar and she was very much alive a while ago. She just had food. But as an actor, in that moment, you are allowing that emotion to take over you. Doing this every year or in every film can have an impact on you),” actor concluded.
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Dilip Kumar, also known as Mohammed Yusuf Khan, has been credited for bringing a distinct form of method acting technique to cinema. Kumar holds the record for most wins for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor and was also the inaugural recipient of the award. His last film was Qila (1998).