By Hindustan Times
Bollywood stalwart Dilip Kumar turns 90 today. And he looks back at his life with a sense of satisfaction and some surprise at certain twists and turns to an otherwise normal, serene life. He gets candid about life on his big day.
You turn 90 on December 11. 90 is just a number especially when one considers a life as well-lived as yours. Sir, as you look back what do you think about the 90 years of your life?
I can look back at my life with a sense of satisfaction and some surprise at certain events that have added the twists and turns to an otherwise normal, serene life.
Dilip Saab, in the 90 years which events would you regard as the greatest events and milestones in your astounding life?
My entry into the profession of acting, which was most unexpected. My marriage to a beautiful girl years younger to me, with whom I had declined to co-star because she was too young to be my leading-lady, my decision to challenge myself by switching over to comedy when I was being hailed for my intense tragic roles that had evoked public esteem and adulation.
Every actor wants to be like you. You have defined fine and brilliant acting for 6 decades. You have spawned generations of admirers from Mr Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan. How do you evaluate your own contribution as an actor?
I have seriously pondered over this because the question has been put to me so many times. I guess it is a normal instinct to follow an example if you are drawn to it for whatever attributes you admire in that example. An actor should possess a strong instinct, besides a mind of his own and a striking personality. He should be able to absorb the positive and delete the negative from the influences that are bound to crowd his mind. The mind has to be respected and obeyed when it tells you to accept or reject an influence.
What qualities should an actor cultivate?
It is not for me to generalise on the dos and don'ts. Every actor I watched in my formative years had his own individualistic qualities and assets. I had the discrimination fortunately at that age - I was only 20 - to decide that I had to be patient and pick only those films I liked to work in. There were times in the early phase of my career when I needed the big mon