Updated: July 8, 2021 1:14:36 am
“Humaari aankhon ka noor tha… (he was the light of our eyes)”, says Rehana Khan, 55, a Bandra resident who had come to the Juhu Qabrastan in Santacruz (west) to pay final tributes to her favourite actor Dilip Kumar, who died aged 98 on Wednesday.
“I loved his adaayein (expressions). I have never attended any actor’s funeral but I have been watching his movies since I was a 15-year-old girl… I had to come. My father-in-law knew him and once even I got a chance to see him but could never take a picture together. He never broke anyone’s heart or hurt anyone,” she adds.
Khan is not the only one. As the yesteryear actor was laid to rest at the cemetery, a number of his fans who had gathered outside the compound only had words of admiration to share on him. While some hailed his altruistic nature, others praised his devotion towards his wife, actor Saira Banu.
Another fan in the crowd was Ansari Zariwala, 52, a zari (embroidery) worker, who said he used to work for Bano and had visited their home several times back in 1989-1991. “He was an altruistic person and loved his country a lot.
Once I was at their bungalow on the last day of Ramzan. He was gushing like a child and went running to the terrace and asked all of us to come along for moon sighting. I remember him telling everyone to ask blessings of Allah, not only for us but for all Indians and our country. One thing I observed was that he loved his wife a lot and always listened to her,” says Zariwala.
“In 1992, I took a man who had gone through a huge tragedy to Yusuf saab’s bungalow. Without even knowing him, Yusuf sir provided him with money, food and clothes,” Zariwala adds, referring to Kumar by his birth name, Yusuf Khan.
Over 200 people were present outside the cemetery, which saw heavy police bandobast to avert any untoward incident, as the actor’s body was brought in, draped in the Indian national flag. As per Covid norms, only a small group of people were allowed inside the Qabrastan for the burial. On the lane leading to the actor’s bungalow situated on Nargis Dutt Road in Pali Hill, too, a heavy police deployment, which included personnel from the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), was seen. Many celebrities and politicians, including Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, paid their respects to the actor at the bungalow.
At the Juhu Qabarastan, Masood Khan, 58, who had his pictures with the actor as his Whatsapp status, told The Indian Express: “I had the chance to meet Kumar sir years ago, when we used to provide him food from our catering service. To stand with him and click a photo in those days was a huge thing back then. The first thing I observed about Dilip saab was that he was a big foodie. He loved kabab and Raan Biryani.”
He was a religious person in his personal life and a very good human being, adds Khan, who runs a catering service, Altaf saffron.
Pickpockets have a field day outside cemetery
At least six people, including three media persons, lost their mobile phones while waiting in the crowd outside the Juhu Qabrastan for the funeral of Dilip Kumar. All of them lodged a complaint at the Santacruz police station, situated a stone’s throw from the cemetery.