Mumbai, Jul 7 (PTI) The demise of screen legend Dilip Kumar has left Indian cinema poorer, for he was the one of the greatest actors to grace the silver screen, said Bollywood superstars Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Abhishek Bachchan as they paid homage to the veteran star.
Kumar, aged 98, passed away on Wednesday morning after prolonged illness at a city hospital here.
Courtesy his dramatic performances, inimitable dialogue delivery and ability to portray versatile characters and tell stories of the time, Kumar, born Mohammed Yousuf Khan, not only established an indomitable legacy but also introduced a new grammar of acting to Indian cinema.
Kumar's rise as the 'first Khan' of Bollywood was synonymous with the growth of Hindi cinema.
Aamir Khan took to Instagram and thanked Kumar for the 'invaluable' gift of his craft to the industry and audience.
'Thank you Yusuf Sahab for the invaluable, priceless and unique gift you have given all of us through your work. For me you have always been and always will be the greatest ever. Salaam,' Khan said.
Actor Hrithik Roshan tweeted that Indian cinema will always cherish Kumar's memories.
'Legends transcend space & time. The memories of Dilip Sir will forever adorn the pillars of Indian Cinema. My thoughts & prayers with Saira ji,' Roshan wrote on the microblogging site.
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who changed his Twitter display picture to a still from one of Kumar's films, wrote how the late actor was the pioneer of method acting in Hindi cinema.
'When acting was considered as an exaggeration, this man came & changed the scenario of Indian Cinema. 1 incident he shared was he wanted to play a Gangster & while deciding on scripts he saw #MarlonBrando playing #Godfather & he dropped the idea as it was done #RealOriginOfMethodActingInIndia,' Siddiqui, who was introduced to method acting by Russian drama teacher Valentin Teplyakov, said.
Recalling a meeting with Kumar a few years ago, Chopra Jonas said spending time with the icon was one of the most precious moments of her life.
'Very few got a chance to meet him, but I was one of those fortunate people. Since I have known Saira ji and Yousuf saab, I have only got love and blessings from them. Meeting them and having heart-felt conversations with them have been some of my most precious moments,' she wrote in Hindi.
His contribution to the arts is invaluable and irreplaceable, the actor added.
'Today the curtains have come down on one of India’s greatest. An end of an era. My condolences to Saira ma'am and the family. Rest in peace,' Chopra Jonas said.
Actor Abhishek Bachchan posted a note on Twitter, revealing to fans how his first film was supposed to be with Kumar titled 'Aakhri Mughal'.
In the film, which never got made, Kumar had signed on to play Abhishek Bachchan's father. Abhishek Bachchan's father in real life, megastar Amitabh Bachchan had famously starred with the Hindi veteran in the 1982 crime drama 'Shakti' as Kumar's son.
'I clearly remember my father telling me that it took him over a decade to have the honour of sharing screen space with his idol and here I was given that opportunity in my debut film. He told me to cherish this opportunity and to learn and observe as much as I could by watching the master at work. A film in which I get to work with my idol's idol! How lucky was I?' Abhishek Bachchan recalled.
'Sadly the film never got made and I never had the honour of being able to say that I've been in a film with the great Dilip Kumar Ji. Today, an entire era of cinema came to an end. Thankfully many generations will be able to watch and learn but most importantly enjoy and respect the immense talent of Dilip Sahab through his movies,' he added.
Filmmaker-choreographer Farah Khan Kunder took to Instagram and recounted her first meeting with Kumar, when there was a 'stampede' the moment he walked into a wedding reception.
'There was hysteria... Women thronged to see him, the bridal couples stage broke! Such was the magic! He was known as the tragedy king, but I was always a fan of his comedic timing. There will be no one like him... Deepest condolences to #sairaji and his family,' she wrote.
On Wednesday evening, Kumar was laid to rest with full state honours at the Juhu Qabrastan in Santacruz Mumbai in the presence of family, including his actor-wife Saira Banu.
He starred in around 60 odd films, most notable being 'Naya Daur', 'Mughal-e-Azam', 'Devdas', 'Madhumati', and 'Ram Aur Shyam' in a career spanning a little over five decades. PTI JUR RDS RDS