Ramesh Sippy on Dilip Kumar: ‘He played the tragedy hero the best’

  • Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy spoke fondly of late Dilip Kumar, explaining how he aced the ‘tragedy hero’ roles but added that the veteran was versatile too.
Dilip Kumar in Devdas.
Dilip Kumar in Devdas.
Published on Jul 07, 2021 05:52 PM IST
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ByJuhi Chakraborty

Veteran actor Dilip Kumar died on Wednesday in Mumbai. For millions of his fans, over the years, no one did a tragic role as well as he did. Dilip has often been called an ‘institution’. Eminent filmmaker Ramesh Sippy, in a chat with Hindustan Times, spoke of his admiration for Dilip Kumar as a ‘tragedy hero’ while reminding all that the actor was versatile too.

Here’s what he said:

As far as I can look at it, I think it is about how the media and stars relationship is. It is built on that. Back then during Dilip Kumar’s era there were these three gentlemen who ruled the movies-- Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip saab. They had different personas. All three has their own image.

Of course, Raj Kapoor was known more for his common man image and portrayal in films, with a lot of music and dance. Dev Anand, on the other hand, was all style, charisma and glamour.

Ramesh Sippy is best known for Sholay.
Ramesh Sippy is best known for Sholay.

And Dilip Kumar was the tragedy king back then because of his films like Andaz (1949), Deedar (1951), Mela (1948), Babul (1950) and so many others. Then, came Devdas (1955) and there was that image attached to him that ‘oh he is the tragedy king’ in cinema. What kept on contributing more to that image was that fact that he was doing those films back-to-back.

I also think that in that era, tragedy was the in thing; it was in vogue and he was just doing it. He was keeping up with the times. I don’t think that it was about him doing it consciously or that no one else was doing it. But Dilip Kumar was doing it the best. He played the tragedy hero the best.

Also read: Dilip Kumar dies at the age of 98, burial to take place at Juhu Qabrastan today

Dilip Kumar did lighter roles as well, be it Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and others later in his career. In Ganga-Jamuna (1961), he did action and, then, he did Mughal-e-Azam (1960). There is no end to the work he has done.

So we must not remember him just by the tag of ‘tragedy king’ because he was a versatile actor and contributed to more than just playing the tragic hero. It would be unfair to his acting talent to just think of him as the tragedy king. He played it across the genres and even though he did very few films, I only saw absolutely superb work from him.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022