Dilip Kumar’s demise has left the entire entertainment industry and the nation in tears. The actor had great fans, admirers and friends in the industry. One among them was Amitabh Bachchan, the megastar of Bollywood who to date idolises the legendary actor and the ‘Tragedy King’. The actor considers Dilip Kumar to be the greatest actor in the history of Indian cinema. He also felt fortunate to share the screen with him in the film Shakti which turned out to be a blockbuster at the box-office.
Sharing his experience of working together with Dilip Sahab, Amitabh Bachchan spoke to 9 years ago about the actor. He revealed how generous Dilip Kumar was and how he made him comfortable on the sets. Amitabh said, “First of all, with a lot of disbelief, because somebody whom you’ve grown up watching, and suddenly find yourself in the same profession in the same frame, and the same film is very frightening. For a very long time, it was obviously not believable that I was actually working with the Dilip sahab. When you start evaluating the performance of an actor in a film, I feel that it’s very important to evaluate the person that is standing in front of you because if they are performing well, their good performance will reflect on you, I could be giving the most fantastic performance ever. But if my colleague, my partner, my co-artist is not responding to that, my performance will look weak. That is the greatness of beliefs, irrespective of whether he has something to do in the frame or not. But if he is responding commensurate to your performance, then your performance comes out looking good. And that, in a sense, is good for the film, because the entire scene works, he’s very considerate. He’s a very considerate co-artist, he’s always conscious of the fact that the other artists require space and time.”
He also recalled the moments while shooting the death sequence of the film and said, “I particularly remember when we were doing the death scene, my death scene in the film, I was preparing for it and he just came up individually and said I’ll prepare with you. I said, no, Dilip sahab let me do it on my own. So, he said no, no, no you do your own, I’ll also do my thing.”
He concluded, “These are things that encourage a young artist at that point in time for him to come and just assist you in your rehearsing, it is a great gesture. And then while we were rehearsing that, you know, there was some noise going on there and unit people were talking. And he just, you know, sort of snapped at them at that point. I said, you know, can’t you see that? He’s rehearsing? Can you please keep quiet? This is something that should have come out from me if I was getting disturbed, but coming out from him meant a lot because he realized that there is an importance that every actor goes through because that little space and quietness of rehearsal, it shows his consideration for the other artists and that’s why he’s such a legend.”