Quirk of fate and a trip to Nainital landed Dilip Kumar his debut film Jwar Bhata

Dilip Kumar
Image Source : FILE PHOTO

Dilip Kumar

Bollywood superstar Dilip Kumar was an institution in himself. His films are iconic and his status is legendary and his life is no less than a blockbuster inspiring tale. If stories are to be believed, the Bollywood idol Dilip Kumar’s debut film “Jwar Bhata” (1944) happened by a quirk of fate. It is said that superstar of the era, Devika Rani, and filmmaker Amiya Chakrabarty were location hunting in Nainital when they accidentally met Dilip Kumar, then Yusuf Khan. 

Incidentally, a teen Dilip happened to be at the hill station too, on a business deal. As luck would have it, Devika Rani met Dilip and was immensely impressed by Yusuf’s charming Pathani frame. She gave him her card and asked the boy to meet her once he returned to Mumbai. 

According to Trinetra Bajpai and Anshula Bajpai’s book, “Dilip Kumar: Peerless Icon Inspiring Generations”, Yusuf showed up in front of Devika Rani and Amiya Chakrabarty and gave a screen test for their upcoming film. In fact, in his early years, Dveika Rani, who was a powerful name in Bollywood back then, ensured Kumar had the right grooming to become a star.

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The film for which he screen-tested merged as “Jwar Bhata”. The film that marked Yusuf Khan’s Bollywood debut as Dilip Kumar. The actor is said to have been paid a monthly salary of Rs 1000 plus Rs 200 as war allowance.

Besdides Dilip, the film also featured Mridula Rani, Shamim Bano, Agha, Vikram Kapoor, K. N. Singh, Khalil, and Mumtaz Ali. It was produced by Bombay Talkies. The music director was Anil Biswas.

While it may not have been a box-office success, it gave Hindi cinema, one of its most inspiring talents. 

Kumar, known to generations of film-goers as ‘tragedy king’, had been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital, a non-COVID-19 facility, since Tuesday. India’s enduring film legend through the decades, died at a Mumbai hospital on Wednesday after a prolonged illness, his family and doctors treating him said. He was 98.

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