About one-fifth of Dilip Kumar movies were southern remakes
- In 1945, at the age of 23, he acted in his second film ‘Pratima’ directed by debutante Telangana actor Paidi Jairaj
- Kamal Haasan , then getting noticed in Hindi cinema industry, rejected an offer to star in a hit Dilip Kumar venture – Mashaal - directed by Yash Chopra in 1984 which went Anil Kapoor’s way
His was a career which began at the age of 22 before India attained Independence and stopped short before the beginning of the new millennium in 1998. Mohammed Yusuf Khan, known more as Dilip Kumar for more than seven decades in Indian cinema world stopped short of scoring a century as he passed away on July 7, at the age of 98. It was a marathon journey which began with the 1944 release 'Jwar Bhata' and ended with the 1998 flick 'Qila'. Ironically, both his first and last films failed to click at the BO. Very notably, in a career of more than fifty years, he has been featured in just 60-odd films, out of which two were cameo appearances.
The 1950s was the decade when the maximum number of Dilip Kumar movies – 21, in all - was released. Notably, Dilip Kumar's association with the southern film industry began with the 1955 release 'Azaad' directed by S M Sriramulu Naidu, who also helmed the Tamil original starring MGR. He had one more release in the same year – Insaaniyat- directed by the iconic S S Vasan, who remade a Telugu film 'Palletoori Pilla' released in 1950. This was the only film in which Dilip Kumar was seen with his contemporary Dev Anand. This was a rare combo like that of his with Raj Kapoor, who costarred with him only once in the 1949 film 'Andaz'. Interestingly, one of his Hindi films of 1955 - 'Uran Khatola'- was dubbed into Tamil as 'Vaanaratham' and released a year later.
In the 1960s, three hits from the then Madras film industry were remade- two from Tamil and one from Telugu. The 1967 release 'Ram Aur Shyam' was a successful Hindi version of 'Ramudu Bheemudu' which featured NTR and released three years earlier. It was also the most successful remake overtaking the Tamil ones which were average grossers.
After 'Gopi', the only remake in the 1970s out of a total of eight releases in the decade, Dilip Kumar had to contend with the rise of the new gen like Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan and could return to circulation only gradually. Surprisingly, despite the advent of industry insiders from Sanjay Dutt to Aamir Khan in the 1980s, Dilip Kumar had three releases, out of which one was the 1982 release 'Shakti' directed by Ramesh Sippy, a remake of a 1974 Sivaji Ganesan smasher 'Thangapadhakkam'.
This was the only film in which he had Amitabh Bachchan playing alongside his pivotal role. The two Telugu remakes by K Raghavendra Rao (Dharam Adhikari) and B Gopal (Kanoon Apna Apna) were very well received by the Hindi film patrons. Kamal Haasan turned down a film with Dilip Kumar in 1984 – Mashaal- directed by Yash Chopra – which accelerated the career of a new star, Anil Kapoor.
The 1990 film 'Izzatdaar' was his last film in which a southern film director – K Bapaiah – was involved. In his long career of 31 films in 18 years in Hindi cinema, that was the only time he had featured Govinda, then a rising star and Dilip Kumar along with Madhuri Dixit, who had dethroned Sridevi as the superstarni of Hindi cinema. Interestingly, Raghuvaran, the well-known character artiste who also excelled in villainous roles made his debut in the same film.