Dilip Kumar aka Mohammed Yusuf Khan is considered an acting institution. Referred to as “The First Khan Of Bollywood” and “Tragedy King”, Dilip Kumar set the benchmark too high when it comes to method acting. He began his career in the year 1944 and with consistency, passion, and hard work, he became the first-ever superstar of Hindi cinema.
While his performance always looked natural on-screen, it was initially very tough for him. He admitted that he felt humiliated on the sets of his first film because he couldn’t get the scene right. Recalling the first day on the sets of his first film, Dilip Kumar once told in an interview, “I was an athlete. I used to play soccer and hockey. I was a good baller in cricket. On the first day, on the sets of my film, they asked me to run from one point to the other. The scene was such that my character has come to know that the heroine might commit suicide and I have to run and save her. So, I ran and I ran very fast. The director said, ‘Cut’ complaining that I ran too fast because the camera couldn’t capture it perfectly. I then ran a bit slow. But the director still complained. I then thought that I am too good for the camera. I wondered why would someone run slowly if he wants to save the girl from committing suicide. I ended the day with this feeling that I am damn good.”
He further told, “The next day, I had to run again and catch the heroine. So, when I used to get closer to the heroine, my hands couldn’t hold her. I felt very awkward touching her. I did re-takes three to four times. I felt very humiliated that I couldn’t even hold the girl. Even the actress was making fun of me. And then, I finally did it and delivered my dialogue.”
Dilip Kumar, who initially thought that he was too good for the camera, now felt humiliated and understood that acting wasn’t an easy job. He explained, “When I came back, for the first time I realized that it is a very difficult job and I’ll have to learn a lot. I never thought that it would be so hard to even hold a girl. The mind knows what to do but it gets a little difficult to set the coordination between your senses.”
Summing up the entire incident in a few words, he said, “My experience was tough and I had a feeling of humiliation.”
Dilip Kumar debuted as an actor in the film “Jwar Bhata” produced by Bombay Talkies. The film also featured Mridula Rani, Shamim Bano, Agha, Vikram Kapoor, and Mumtaz Ali.