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Nawazuddin: “Dilip Kumar is the school, We are its students ”

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Dilip Kumar and Nawazuddin

There  Never  Was  There  Never  Will Be Another  Dilip Kumar,” Nawazuddin On The Wonder That Is Dilip Kumar

“Star, superstar, icon, legend, yeh sab kehne ki baat  hai.

Dilip Kumar Saab was  far beyond these  commonly-used  terms. No award,  not even the Bharat Ratna, can do justice to his talent,” says Nawazuddin who finally speaks on  the death   of  his acting idol.

“I don’t think there’s any actor in Hindi cinema  who is not influenced  by Dilip KumarHum sab unke shishya  hai. He is  the school. We are  its students. It is difficult to put into words what Dilip Kumar meant to  Indian cinema. Long before Method Acting  had reached India, Dilip Saab was practising it. His dedication to internalizing  his  characters  during a time when  everyone  was  screaming and  shouting to be noticed  was something that will take  generations to analyze. How did he do  it?”   Nawaz wonders.

Pausing to ponder admiringly Nawazuddin resumes, “He was  known as  the Tragedy King. But he  never had  to shed tears  on screen  to  get sympathy  for his  characters. Bharata  Muni,  the father of Indian theatre,  had said  it is  an actor’s job to extract the juice   from the emotions  of his character, not  to taste  and relish  the  juice. Most of us actors forget that we are only the  messengers  of emotions. Dilip Saab did not. He was always  in character  .He  did things that must have taken even him by surprise. In the song Suhana safar in Madhumati,as he roams  in the outdoors,  he bites a twig…such an innocent gesture  so natural.”

Going back to his  initiation into the artistry  of  Dilip Kumar Nawaz  remembers , “My father  was a  crazy fan of Dilip Kumar Saab. Through him I got to know the  films of  Dilip Kumar.At the  NSD where  I was the convener  of  Dilip Saab’s films, I got to see  all his films over and  over again. I loved  all of them. My favourites were MadhumatiSagina , Mughal-e-Azam—Salim  is my dream  role—even the later films Vidhaata and Shakti….Shakti, oh my God!  He had  no  major dialogues  and yet he had us riveted. Look  how he turned an ordinary father’s role into something  outstanding. Only he  could do this, no one else.”

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Speaking of  Nawazuddin’s dream role, he says, “Mughal-e-Azam resonated with theatrical  performances and  dialogues. And yet Dilip Saab toned down his emotions to the  lowest pitch possible  , said his dramatic  lines  naturally…I don’t know how he  did it. When everyone  around you is  screaming  and  getting dramatic, how  do you remain  calm? How did he  remain so natural at  a time when the louder you were the better actor you were considered? It will take  us generations to  analyze  Dilip Kumar. Even then we  wouldn’t really know how his  mind and craft worked. I believe  he never had formal education. And yet he  was  the most learned  actor  in the  country. Sheer genius!”

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