Born on December 11, 1922 in a Pasthun family from Peshawar, Pakistan Dilip Kumar was named Mohammad Yusuf Khan. Dilip Kumar studied at the prestigious Barnes school in Deolali near Nasik. His father Lala Ghulam Sarwar was a fruit merchant. Before he became a superstar, Dilip started his career as a dry fruit supplier and canteen owner in Pune. It was actor Devika Rani and her husband Himashu Rai (owner of Bombay Talkies) who spotted the hero in Dilip Kumar and cast him as the hero in their film Jwar Bhata in 1944. That was the veteran actor’s beginning of the starry journey, which became the film bible for most actors.
Mohammad Yusuf Khan became Dilip Kumar thanks to Hindi author Bhagwati Charan who rechristened the actor With a career spanning for almost six decades and 60 films to his credit Yusuf Khan became the undisputed king of romance and tragedy.The legendary star has quite a few awards and accolades to his credit apart from the ones given by the fraternity. He won the prestigious Padma Bhushan award in 1991 followed it with a Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 for his contributions towards Indian cinema. He was also nominated to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament for a term.
Here are seven lesser known facts about Dilip Kumar:
1. It is believed that Dilip Kumar can speak quite a few languages, including English, Hindi, Urdu, Hindko and Pashto.
2. Dilip Kumar was the first recipient of Filmfare Best Actor Award in 1954 and shares the record for the most number of Filmfare awards won for that category with Shahrukh Khan with eight wins.
3. Before he changed his name from Yusuf Khan to Dilip Kumar – Uday Kumar and Vaaman Kumar were other screen names which were being considered.
4. Dilip Kumar is Bollywood’s first superstar who hails from Pakistan.
5. During his heydays as a star Dilip Kumar demanded a signing amount that ranged from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 11 lakh.
6. Dilip Kumar turned down an offer to work with Saira Banu because he felt she was ‘too young’ to be his heroine, eventually he ended up marrying her. At the time of marriage, he was 44 and Saira Banu was 22.
7. Dilip Kumar was awarded the highest civilian award by Pakistan in 1998, Nishan-e-Imtiaz