Dilip Kumar: King of all times
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The difference between Raj, Dev and Dilip Kumar was only in the story material; we chose keeping our individual capabilities in mind. The dedication, effort and pursuit of faultlessness were the same, I would say
However technologically advanced the medium may become in the years to come, Indian cinema audiences are happy only when they have sat through an absorbing narrative and applauded the subduing of the bad fellow by the good
Saira (Bano) is a hard working person. I was pleasantly
surprised by her competence in enacting the role of the tribal girl with a wild cat personality in Sagina considering how refined and elegant she is in reality
How do you feel on the occasion of this very special year — your 90th birthday? Does age lend wisdom?
I think the summer of life should be sunny, bright and chirpy like the season and I am happy to be experiencing it. Age and wisdom should not be related. I think I became wise very early in my life, thanks to my being the fourth elder one in a large family of girls and boys who had individual demands, competence and aspirations.
Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor were the leading trio of 50s and 60s. What your professional and personal rapport with the other two greats of Hindi cinema?
My personal rapport with Raj was very special because our acquaintance went way back to our childhood in Peshawar, and then our college years at Khalsa, where we were both Arts students. We belonged to the college football team and we played passionately. Raj was invariably the goal keeper or referee. He was so handsome that the girls would cheer him, and he loved the attention. We met later at Bombay Talkies, and it pleased him that I had entered the profession he wanted me to be in. We were like brothers, and we let the scribes write whatever they wanted to and maintained our relationship securely. Dev was very westernised, and he had his own preoccupations which did not let us meet as often as Raj and I met. I have spoken and written so many times on the topic of the perceived unhealthy rivalry between Raj Kapoor, Dev and me. The perception came about only because Raj, Dev and I enjoyed equal success as actors, and our starrers also had equal success at the box-office When we met we shared genuine spontaneity and respect for each other.