From the time films began to be made in 1900, stars the world over assiduously cultivated distinctive images. In the Golden Age of Hindi cinema Raj Kapoor was always a Chaplinesque innocent. And Dev Anand was ever the happy-go-lucky urban imp. But there was one outlier. Picture these vignettes:
- A debonair young man at a piano sings “aaj kisi ki haar hui hai, aaj kisi ki jeet” (somebody lost today, somebody won). He has just learnt that the heiress he loved is actually long enamoured of someone else.
- The heir to the Mughal throne runs a feather along the face of an incredibly beautiful courtesan he passionately loves but cannot marry. Only the court musician’s aalaps are heard in the background.
- A farm labourer cavorts with his friends, singing “nain lad jaihein” until his fresh-faced beloved appears. He ends up a dacoit trying to save her from the clutches of the evil moneylender, only to die at the hands of his policeman brother.
- A scion of landed gentry tells a Calcutta courtesan who loves and cares for him, “kaun kambakht bardasht karne ke liye peeta hai” (I want to drink beyond tolerance). However much he drinks, he says, a sliver of consciousness reminds him of the pain (of separation from his childhood sweetheart, now married to someone else).
Yusuf Khan from Peshawar, aka Dilip Kumar, was completely believable in all these roles – arguably his best – in Andaz (1949), Mughal-e-Azam (1960) Ganga Jumna (1961), and Devdas (1955), in a span of 12 years at the height of his career covering 62 films in nearly 50 years.
TO READ THE FULL STORY, SUBSCRIBE NOW NOW AT JUST RS 249 A MONTH.
Already a premium subscriber? LOGIN NOW
SUBSCRIBE TO INSIGHTS
What you get on Business Standard Premium?
- Unlock 30+ premium stories daily hand-picked by our editors, across devices on browser and app.
- Full access to our intuitive epaper - clip, save, share articles from any device; newspaper archives from 2006.
- Curated newsletters on markets, personal finance, policy & politics, start-ups, technology, and more.
- Pick your 5 favourite companies, get a daily email with all news updates on them.
- 26 years of website archives.
- Preferential invites to Business Standard events.