Dilip Kumar (born Muhammad Yusuf Khan on 11 December 1922) is an Indian film actor, producer and activist known as Tragedy King, and described as “the ultimate method actor” by Satyajit Ray. He debuted as an actor in the film Jwar Bhata in 1944 produced by Bombay Talkies. His career has spanned over six decades and with over 60 films. Kumar is known for his roles in films such as the romantic Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling Aan (1952), the dramatic Devdas (1955), the comical Azaad (1955), the historical Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and the social Ganga Jamuna (1961).
In 1976, Dilip Kumar took a five-year break from film performances and returned with a character role in the film Kranti (1981) and continued his career playing leading roles in films such as Shakti (1982), Karma (1986) and Saudagar (1991). His last film was Qila (1998).
He is the winner of 9 Filmfare Awards and is the first recipient of Filmfare Best Actor Award (1954). He still holds the record for the most number of Filmfare awards won for that category with 8 wins (Shah Rukh Khan tied with him in 2011). Critics acclaimed him among one of the greatest actors in the history of Hindi cinema.
The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1991, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1994 and India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 for his contributions towards Indian cinema and nominated him to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament for a term. The Government of Pakistan honoured him with its highest civilian honour, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, in 1997.
Kumar was born Mohammad Yusuf Khan in a Hindko-speaking family of 12 children on 11 December 1922 at his house in the Qissa Khawani Bazaar area of Peshawar, in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. His father, Lala Ghulam Sarwar, was a landlord and fruit merchant who owned orchards in Peshawar and Deolali (in Maharashtra, India). Dilip Kumar was schooled at Barnes School, Deolali. In the late 1930s, his family relocated to Bombay.
In 2001 he was set to appear in a film titled Asar — The Impact alongside Ajay Devgan which was shelved. His classic films Mughal-e-Azam and Naya Daur were fully colorised and re-released in cinemas in 2004 and 2008 respectively.