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Shatrughan Sinha: “Dilip Kumar Deserved The Bharat Ratna”

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Shatrughan Sinha  and Dilip Kumar

Shatrughan Sinha: “He Deserved The Bharat Ratna While He  Was Alive….I Was  So Fortunate To Have Worked With Him In Kranti

“Is there an Indian actor who is not a fan  of  Dilip Kumar? He  was beyond  a  legend…yeh legend-vegend icon-vicon toh kayee ke bare mein bolte hain marne ke baad(so many are called legends  icons, etc after they die). Yusuf  Saab, my favourite  one and  only Dilip  Kumar was beyond all these  ghisa-pita descriptions,” says Shatughan Sinha feelingly .

“What  an awful day this is!” he bemoans hours after  the tragic news. “We all  knew the end  was  coming. But when it came we were unprepared  to let him go.He was  too precious. But he was suffering immensely  in his  last  years. I’d say  death has come as a relief  and  a  release to this great  man, the greatest actor of Indian screen whom everyone from Manoj Kumar  to  Amitabh to  Shah Rukh  sought  inspiration from.”

Manoj Kumar reminds Shatrughan Sinha of  the film that they did together.  “Kranti  was  an immense  experience . Manoj Kumar   had earlier offered  me  Shor, the  role that Premnnath  did . But I couldn’t do it  because Manoj Saab needed more dates than I could give. In Kranti  I got to work with the greatest actor Dilip Kumar and  Manoj Kumar who is the greatest  Dilip Kumar fan in the world. I thought Manoj Saab would be too awed to direct  the Thespian. Dilip Saab also had  the reputation of  directing the director. However when  it came to Manoj KumarDilip Saab listened to his directorial instructions very carefully and followed them minutely.”

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 Shatruji recalls the  shooting of Kranti  with great fondness. “I had many powerful  scenes with him and Dilip Saab was  very fond of me. He would  ask me, ‘Tum itna late  kyon aate ho?’ referring to my infamous punctuality. I replied. ‘Sikha kiss se hai, the greatest  acting institution  of India.’ I could take  liberties with him  which none dared. When in Kranti  we we were supposed to shoot that  famous confrontation sequence on the ship, I  reached at 5 pm for a  2pm shift.My heart sank like the  ship when I saw him leaving waving goodbye to me from his car with a smile. The  next day I came on time.”

Shatruji  says his heart reaches out to  Sairaji. “I’ve never seen a  more devoted  life partner  than Sairaji. She gave up  everything , her career, social life,  other responsibilities  to  look after  Dilip Saab. Hats off to this exemplary spouse. Today when marriages are  breaking up at the drop of a hat , Sairaji stands  tall and admirable.”

 Concluding his  thoughts on the Thespian Shatruji says, “Dilip Saab is the true Bharat Ratna  of  Indian cinema. I wonder why he  didn’t receive it in his  lifetime. I am sure he will get it now. In our country we value our most valuable  people  after they’re gone.”

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