Dilip Kumar was the first superstar of Hindi cinema. He, who started his career in 1944, delivered some remarkable films like “Mughal-E-Azam”, “Ram Aur Shyam” and “Devdas”. His unparalleled contribution to Indian cinema in the field of acting was recognized by the Indian government when they honoured him with “Dadasaheb Phalke Award”. First presented in 1969, “Dadasaheb Phalke Award” is India’s highest award in the field of cinema. It took the Indian government 25 years to honor Dilip Kumar’s exceptional talent and contribution to cinema.
Soon after he was honored with the award, Dilip Kumar candidly talked to Lehren and shared his feelings. He said, “I never got any award from the government. I thought they had written me off. I also had no expectations and it wasn’t a big disappointment honestly. The main point is the warmth and appreciation of the people which comes to you so radiantly in the way they greet you or talk to you. And it’s not just fame. I think fame can be injurious, it can be good too. But when it comes to the respect from people, I think I am very lucky.”
“I never craved for the award. Now that I have got recognition from the authorities, even though it is late, I think it is not an important thing. The important thing is that they thought to give it to me. It is very nice and kind of them. I am getting love and warmth from the audience after receiving this award and so I feel indebted to the government. It is like a Tohfa (gift),’ he added. After the Indian government honored him with “Dadasaheb Phalke Award” in 1994, the government of Pakistan too conferred him with “Nishan-e-Imtiaz”, their highest civilian decoration, making him the only Indian to have received the honour. Born on 11 Dec 2022, Dilip Kumar died at the age of 98. He passed away on 7 July 2021 after battling age-related ailments.