Dilip Kumar Left Behind No Significant Lessons for Actors: Naseeruddin Shah

Naseeruddin Shah added that Dilip Kumar's performances stood out because of his excellence.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Naseeruddin Shah and Dilip Kumar</p></div>

Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah admits that late Dilip Kumar was a legendary actor and had 'unsurpassable' achievements. However, he wondered why Kumar 'chose to play safe the way he did', in an opinion piece after Dilip Kumar's demise.

With his piece for Indian Express, Shah said that he wishes to raise a question of whether "his (Dilip Kumar) example as a star was worthy of emulation and whether he helped push the envelope toward progress or whether he facilitated the downward spiral of popular Hindi cinema into the total star-centricity in which it wallows today."

He remarked that Kumar had 'consummate characterisations, dignified deportment, mellifluous diction' in his performances, at least till Ganga Jamuna. Shah believes that Kumar's performances stood out in a time when ' quivering lips, caterpillar eyebrows' were commonplace on the big screen.

Referring to the number of films Dilip Kumar worked in during his lifetime, Shah said that his filmography was limited compared to his contemporaries. He added that Kumar 'didn't do enough' apart from acting and participating in social causes he held close to his heart.

“He produced only one film, didn’t direct any (officially at least), never passed on the benefit of his experience, didn’t bother to groom anyone, and apart from his pre-1970s performances, left behind no significant lessons for future actors; even his autobiography is but a rehash of old interviews."
Naseeruddin Shah, Actor

"It’s baffling why a man as conscious of his place in history as he was should be reluctant to record his interaction with some of the admittedly great filmmakers of his time or say anything really informative about the nature of his work and technique," he added.

Shah applauds Dilip Kumar's ability to sustain an audience and maintain a loyal legion of fans across generations. He believes that the long gap between Kumar's releases "meticulously crafted to create an aura of studiousness and sensitivity around him", and set him apart from his contemporaries.

Despite all that, Shah concluded, "Be all that as it may, I am merely one of the millions who will remain eternally grateful to him for the magic."

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