Peshawar celebrated the 90th birthday of Indian film actor Yousaf Khan, famously known as Dilip Kumar, for the first time in his ancestral city.
Organised by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Culture and Heritage Council, writers, actors, lawyers and locals gathered at the Peshawar Press Club and paid tribute to the famous ‘tragedy king’ of Bollywood who belongs to their city.
Participants asked the provincial government to consider the houses of both Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor as national heritage sites to preserve it for future generations.
Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the government was considering buying Kumar’s house from its current owners but was currently facing legal challenges.
The present owner of the house, Akram, said that the provincial government had offered him Rs200 million to buy the house. Akram refused, saying that the house was three times more valuable than that. He added that the government would inform him of a decision regarding the sale within the next three months.
Hussain also praised Kumar’s acting and said that the actor had made a unique name for himself.
Dilip Kumar and his wife Saira Bano called in on the event and thanked Peshawarites for their love and respect.
“Where Kumar is now is only because of the prayers and love of this city,” Bano said. Kumar also spoke briefly and asked the residents of the city to remember him in their prayers.
Apart from being dubbed ‘tragedy king’, Kumar is also referred to as the ‘ultimate method actor’. He was born in Peshawar’s Mohallah Khudad, near the famous Qissa Khwani Bazaar on December 11, 1922. He moved to Bombay, India, in late 1920’s where his father Ghulam Sarwar Khan had set up a fruit business.
Kumar started his six-decade-long acting career in his debut film Jwar Bhata in 1944. Since then, he has appeared in over 60 films. He was awarded the Filmfare Best Actor Award eight times and the Indian government honoured him with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian civilian award, in 1991 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2012.