When Dilip Kumar dissuaded Naseeruddin Shah from becoming an actor, told him to 'go back and study'

Jul 12, 2021 10:45 AM IST

Naseeruddin Shah recalled being dissuaded by the late Dilip Kumar from pursuing a career as an actor, and feeling too nervous to bring it up again after he made a name for himself.

Naseeruddin Shah revealed in a new interview that the late Dilip Kumar once advised him against becoming an actor. Both Dilip and Naseer are regarded as being among the finest male actors in Hindi cinema history.

Naseeruddin Shah and Dilip Kumar worked together in the film Karma.
Naseeruddin Shah and Dilip Kumar worked together in the film Karma.

Naseeruddin Shah said that Dilip Kumar once told him that 'people from good families' shouldn't be in films. Dilip died last week after a prolonged illness. He was 98.

"I think you should go back and study. People from good families should not try to become actors," Naseeruddin recalled the late actor's words to author and critic Saif Mahmood for Link Legal’s Beyond Law, according to The Quint. "I didn’t ask him how he’d become an actor in that case," he added with a laugh. Asked if he ever brought up the incident with Dilip again, he said, “I didn’t have the courage, I was too awed by him, like every other actor in India. He was above all.”

The two actors ended up working together in Karma. "That's the only time I think I have been nervous while acting in my life. Most of the time, I was too terrified to even approach him, apart from greeting him in the mornings," Naseeruddin said of his experience. Coincidentally, he was admitted to the same hospital as Dilip Kumar in his last days. They didn't meet.

Also read: When Raj Kapoor shouted at Rishi Kapoor for not giving Dilip Kumar's intense look: 'Mujhe Yousuf chahiye'

In the days after Dilip Kumar's death, several film industry figures have shared memories and old anecdotes of the late actor, whose career spanned nearly six decades. He was known as the 'tragedy king' of Bollywood, after playing doomed lovers in films such as Mughal-e-Azam and Devdas. He is survived by his wife, Saira Banu.

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