Dilip Kumar born on 11 December 1922, as Muhammad Yusuf Khan in Peshawar (now in Pakistan) is one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema. He is one of the last surviving actors of the Golden era of Indian Cinema (during the 1950 & 60s). Dilip Kumar’s career has spanned six decades.
Around 1940, Dilip Kumar settled in Pune where he started his career as a canteen owner. In 1943, actress Devika Rani, and her husband Himanshu Rai who owned Bombay Talkies spotted Dilip Kumar in Aundh Military Canteen in Pune and cast him in a lead role in their film Jwar Bhata (1944) with the screen name Dilip Kumar.
Dilip Kumar married actress and beauty queen Saira Banu in 1966 when she was 22.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan award in 1991 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 for his contributions towards Indian cinema. In 1998 he was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award conferred by the government of Pakistan. He is the second Indian after Morarji Desai to receive the award. Dilip Kumar is the first actor to receive a Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954).
Govt. of India nominated him to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term. He was appointed Sheriff of Mumbai (an honorary position) in 1980.
Dilip Kumar born to a dry fruit merchant in December 11,1922, Yusuf Khan started his career as a manager at Bombay Army Canteen. But fate had other plans for him. A chance encounter with Devika Rani of Bombay Talkies landed this shy and debonair young man in Tinsel Town. Of this Ashok Raj in his book Hero wrote: The Silent Era to Dilip Kumar
says: “Devika Rani had gone out for shopping to a local market. At one fruit shop, she looked keenly at the young man engrossed at selling his merchandise. It was by mere chance that the shy shopkeeper had only replaced his father that day. Devika Rani found this young man with a sensitive face and expressive eyes quite unusual. She gave him her visiting card and asked him to meet her at the studio.” Bombay Talkies not only changed his destiny but also his name– Yusuf Khan became Dilip Kumar and made his debut in Tinsel Town with Jwar Bhata (1944). It has been 70 long years since Yusuf was ‘spotted’ and today he is considered as the ‘first modern Indian actor’ who freed himself from the theatrical mannerisms and developed a more natural and distinctive style, which stressed on silent pauses and hand gestures and films like Andaz, Jogan, Daag, Baabul, Aan, Daag, Foot Path, Madhumati, Devdas, Naya Daur and Ganga Jumna stand testimony to his versatility.