Learning to see from the blind…

The everlasting King of Tragedy, Dilip Kumar surpassed his talent in this film and left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was the best at portrayal of tragedy.

In this film, where he worked with Nargis, Ashok Kumar and Nimmi, Dilip Kumar’s character turns blind due to an accident. When Dilip Saab asked Ashok Kumar how he should go about acting blind, Ashok Kumar suggested he close his eyes. But he wasn’t satisfied. It occured to him that closing his eyes wouldn’t create the effect of reality, and plus, he had been asked to perform the role with his eyes open anyway.

Ashok Kumar then suggested he go to Mahalaxmi, where a beggar sat who was blind but his eyes were open. When I read this bit, I couldn’t believe how observant Ashok Kumar must have really been to give this bit of advice!

Anyway, Dilip Kumar went to Mahalaxmi, and met the blind man. He spent time with him and observed how he was. The man was quite an amicable person and Dilip infused that quality into his own character in the film too. (see the pic above?) The effort is visible in the film where he really does lend an air of authenticity to his character. Goes to show what extent true, dedicated actors like him would go to to attain perfection in everything they do.

Credit: Dilip Kumar, The Last Emperor, Sanjit Narwekar, Rupa & Co Publishers.

P.S. The name of the film is Deedar.

13 thoughts on “Learning to see from the blind…

  1. Hi Kirti, yes, well it turns out that the old Hindi film actors were much more dedicated to making their performances life-like than actors today. We do have exceptions like Amir Khan and SRK i think 🙂
    But back then, they were sticklers for perfection. Really cool, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Please do not compare between Dilip Kumar and that era’s actors with Amir Khan or SRK. Before someone says about generation gap, let me tell you though I am nostalgic about that time, I don’t belong to Dilip Kumar’s generation. He was the king long before our heros. The point is, if you want to see the real game and the truth behind today’s so called actor’s abilities, keep the movie “Sarfarosh” as a model and check the entire film scene by scene and shot by shot. Amir Khan is good when he is alone but when he comes in front of Nasir you feel like he loosed his power. Nasir steals the scene as if he is playing with some kid. Especially when they argue about India Pakistan Partition.

    Similarly, when Dilip Kumar and Amitabh came together in “Shakti” though I was Bachchan’s fan I had to admit that Dilip Sahab was way ahead. This is the case with Amitabh and Aamir then I shouldn’t even speak about SRK. This happens because those actors have lots of experience about the ups and downs of life. They have taken so much hardships and they were surrounded by the environment that had explored their vision and mind drastically. They will always on the top than today’s so called great actors.

  3. Sir, I wasn’t comparing the two. All I was saying is that in their times, they both have been at the top. There arises no question of comparison, to compare two actors, the context has to be similar and this case the contexts are different. The culture of Hindi cinema, the acting styles, people’s taste – everything differs.
    The point I was making is that the basic job of an artist is to entertain people, and these two have excelled at that, in very different time eras. That’s all.

  4. Point noted but I feel seriously that the acting ability of todays actors is far inferior than the old once. We just need to see this without bias and with impartial attitude.

    • Hello Sir, I understand what you are saying, but with all due respect, I don’t think all actors of today are inferior compared to old actors 🙂
      I agree that we should be impartial and not biased, which is why i am stressing again on the point that I wasn’t comparing SRK and Dilip Saab at all!

  5. I don’t wanna compare them as a seperate enity. And I don’t think there is any harm in comparing them if they come togather and act in the same film. Saying about different context won’t arise when they act in the same film. As I said with unbiased view peopel can try “Sarfarosh” for Aamir and Nasir, then Shakti for Amitabh and Dilip Kumar. Again “Mashal” for Anil Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. It will immediately prove the point.

    There is a sure inferior type of acting around there in the industry today which is covered by media hype and strategic marketing. In teh fairly recent example “DUM” was the movie where Atul Kulkarni as a villian almost not only grabbed the scene but eaten Vivek Oberoi and left nothing of him in the movie.

    One should never hesitate to put their favorite actor to test if its fair game in the same movie. SKR is lucky in a way because he never had to stand in front of a titan for any challenging role. I can’t consider those small movies with Nasir.

    And this doesn’t happened today, whether people like it or not the comparision take place and someone get more marks. In the old time Raj Kapoor, and Dilip Kumar were compared in “Andaz”, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anad in “Insaniyat”, Raj Kumar and Rajesh Khanna In “Maryada”, Raj Kumar and Rajendra Kumar in “Dil Ek Mandir” Amitabh and Vinod Khanna in many films. Can’t help.

    The true ability of the acting proves only when they are put to the test with someone who really has real talent like Sanjeev kumar and from that category. There is no point at this stage in taking the name of Bhachchan because he has lost his Karishma long back. He is a lion with no nails and teeth.

    Unfortunately your generation is always driven by media and media hype. They criticise old movies and actors without watchng those films. They like Aamir kha for his digitally enhanced 6 pack 8 pack built and forget the rest of the mess in Gazini. Anyways this is teh kind of era we are living where Sachin Tendulkar is considerd the greatest batsman only because we can watch his performance and we easily and conviniently forget the 99% of average of Sir Don Bradman. This should not happen with the movies and actors atleast because those movies are still available.

  6. I dont know what generation of films i belong too. always thought the 1990s was my generation, till i realized i dont remember any movies from that decade except for ‘khuda gawah’- first movie i saw on a vcp and cassette my dad brought home. Still think an srk in swades or a aamir in ghajini will be irreplaceble, even by dilip kumar or any of the classic actors.
    superb article neha. remember seeing some old dilip kumar classics at the nearby bookmark library, tempted to pick one up now, especially deedar

    • hey lo! thanks KK 😀
      btw if you are first time b&w movie watcher, i would suggest pickin up Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi – it’s a lot lighter and will get you rolling on the floor 😀 plus there’s the added bonus of watching madhubala. keep reading!

    • I think the last I saw was Naseeruddin Shah in Sparsh. I guess it’s because unhappy endings leave us feeling incomplete. 🙂 And films are the one place where we don’t have to face the harsher realities of life.

  7. The other day I watched “Satyakam” (1969) again and I was really moved to tears. I think we should make people cry at times, since that is also healthy 🙂

    • I haven’t seen Satyakam Shashi, but I will. I am in the process of collecting old film DVDs and working my way through them 🙂 Next up is Anupama – and I think that will fulfill my tears quota for now 😀

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