Dilip Kumar was a great mimic and used to imitate the dance moves of Helen with effortless ease, according to his wife Saira Banu. She recalled this trait of her husband in his autobiography “The Substance And The Shadow”. Banu, who wrote the foreword to the book published in 2014, wanted his admirers to be acquainted, through incidents and episodes, with Dilip Kumar’s “innate simplicity, straightforwardness and immeasurable goodness of heart”.
She considered her husband, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 98, a man full of joie de vivre (the joy of living) and as mischievous as a child prankster. “When I stopped my work in films and took over the management of the house, sometime after marriage, my new avatar was replicated hilariously by Dilip Sahab a few times having me and my mother in splits,” she wrote.
“He would perch a pair of spectacles on his head, a telephone diary pressed under his arms, and carry a dress outfit precariously for showing to the tailor in one hand while keeping one half of his pyjama drawn high on his leg (much like me) and he would romp around absentmindedly in the house impersonating me. It was a sight,” she reminisced.
Another hilarious and perfect copy was his grand depiction of the dancing queen Helen’s famous cabaret item, she said.
“It had to be seen to be believed! His imitation of the ‘Monica, O my darling’ number was mind-boggling! I was amazed! What a superb duplication he did of Helenji! He seductively projected his leg out of the slit of a towel and with the batting of his thick eyelashes to give that come-hither look, he paid his own tribute to Hindi cinema’s most adorable seductress,” Saira Banu wrote.
“I wish I had filmed it quietly to show all of you what a good mimic he is,” she also mentioned.
Dilip Kumar once also tried to depict the difficult steps of famous Kathak star Gopi Krishna from V Shantaram’s “Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje” (1955). “To add conviction to the dance performance, Dilip Sahab would recite the necessary tabla ‘bols’ (words) exquisitely, chanting and doing ‘chakkers’ (rounds) like a professional dancer, his tousled mop of hair bouncing in a frenzy all over his forehead and you could not miss his mischievous eyes darting to and fro. We rolled over on the ground with laughter,” the book by Hay House India said.
Once Gopi Krishna himself was a witness to one such spectacle, when he visited the couple with the renowned danseuse Sitara Devi, it said.
According to Saira Banu, a man like Dilip Kumar walks rarely on this earth.
“I started my life as an admiring fan, and fortunate am I to marry him and see the different aspects and qualities of this great human being who was not like any of the people I had met and spoken to…”