In Pakistan’s first-ever Platinum Jubilee film Armaan (released in 1966), a young Waheed Murad delivered a line before a song, where he told his friend about playback singing. In order to explain how it works, he gave the example of the most famous actor of his generation, who was a master at filming a song.
That actor was Dilip Kumar, who had by that time inspired many actors in the subcontinent with the way he filmed a song, no matter what that song, the mood and the situation was. He was just perfect in his mannerisms, dance steps, and expressions, and that’s why we are paying a tribute to that legend who passed away last week but not before immortalizing songs that became famous after he graced them with his presence.
Dilip Kumar in Celebratory Mood
Aayeen Hain Baharein – Mohammed Rafi – Ram Aur Shyam (1967)
For those who grew up in the 1980s, this is one Dilip Kumar song that is close to their hearts. He danced around with his niece like there was no tomorrow and entertained the kids at the birthday party just as any cheerful uncle would do. However, the catch here was that this version of Dilip Kumar named Shyam wasn’t the girl’s uncle but an impostor who replaced his lookalike Ram (they were revealed to be long-lost brothers in the end!), and taught his brother-in-law a lesson, when he tried to subdue him with a hunter. Here, the whole household was celebrating their short-lived freedom, for Ram returned soon, and things changed drastically.
Dilip Kumar in Drunken Mood
Mujhe Duniya Walo Sharabi Na Samjho – Mohammed Rafi – Leader (1964)
Don’t be surprised if you see a Shah Rukh Khan in Dilip Kumar for SRK imitates the maestro, just like many others before him. In this song, Dilip Kumar humiliates his hostess Vyjayanthimala by dancing around in a drunken state, yet he made being drunk look good. His steps matched lyrics of the song, and it couldn’t get any more poetic than this. As for the lyrics, well they are still popular after nearly six decades, and are quoted by those who are caught drunk but defend themselves by saying these very lines!
Dilip Kumar in Funny Mood
Gentleman, Gentleman, Gentleman – Mahendra Kapoor – Gopi (1970)
In Gopi, Dilip Kumar plays the classic village bum who does nothing but have fun despite his advanced age; in this song, he tries to impress his lady love (played by real-life wife Saira Banu) and speaks in an English-styled language that hasn’t yet been discovered. It is only after the girl’s mother intervenes in their discussion that he breaks into a song, where he tells her that he has become a gentleman. The dance steps, the expressions, and the vocals are so perfectly put that you will forget that the film came out fifty years ago!
Dilip Kumar in Happy Mood
Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri – Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhonsle – Naya Daur (1957)
If Mujhe Duniya Walo reminded you of SRK, this song will take you back into the days of Lagaan where Aamir Khan’s Bhuvan was an exact replica of Dilip Kumar’s Shankar. Before Bhuvan challenged the English to a duel in the form of a Cricket match, it was Shankar who stood against industrialization and challenged the ‘foreigners’ to a race, a race between a bus and a tonga. It was before that race when Shankar was in a happy mood that he and his girl Rajni (played by Vyjayanthimala) danced their heart out, just like Bhuvan and Gauri did years later (or was it years before in Lagaan). And yes, Shankar won the race!
Dilip Kumar in Musical Mood
Madhuban Mein Radhika Naache Re – Mohammed Rafi – Kohinoor (1960)
It is a perfect song, for a perfect trio – Mohammad Rafi sings for Dilip Kumar, a Naushad composition that is amongst the finest work of all three. It not only proves that Dilip Kumar knew about music but also how to film a song while not moving, which is something not many heroes would prefer even today. All his energy, he put it in his movements without actually moving, that was enough to make the song soothing for the eyes and the ears even after 60 years!
Dilip Kumar in Romantic Mood
Maang Ke Saath Tumhara – Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhonsle – Naya Daur (1957)
Dilip Kumar started the trend of a hero singing a song on a tonga, before Naya Daur he did the same in Aan but here it was something magical because of Vyjayanthimala’s presence. It was from this song onwards that music composer OP Nayyar became obsessed with a tonga song and used it in many of his later films. Don’t be surprised if this song reminds you of Ello Ji Sanam from Andaz Apna Apna because the inspiration came from Naya Daur. Dilip Kumar doesn’t do much except riding a tonga, but his expressions, his hand movements and the romance in his eyes are enough to captivate the passenger, and the audience!
Dilip Kumar in Sad Mood
Aaj Purani Raahon Se – Mohammed Rafi – Aadmi (1968)
Dilip Kumar was known as ‘Tragedy King’ because of his ability to make the audience cry, and in this song he does exactly that! With Rafi’s vocal range, Naushad’s musical genius, and Dilip Kumar’s on-screen presence combined, this song went onto become the rejected lovers’ anthem for a long time. In the movie, Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar, and Waheed Rehman were part of a love triangle, where, as you can guess, Dilip Kumar was the one who was ‘rejected’ when he performed this number.
Dilip Kumar in Sinister Mood
Kurte Ki Bhainya Ko Oopar Charhaye Ke – Amit Kumar, Udit Narayan – Qila (1998)
Before a fifty-nine-year-old Amitabh Bachchan danced his way into our hearts with Say Shava Shava in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Ghum, Dilip Kumar did the same three years earlier at the age of 76! In his final film, he played both the murdered person and his twin brother who investigates the murder, and it was through this dance number that his character finds out that one of the people dancing around might be the culprit. Also note the way his hands, his eyes, and his expressions indicate what’s on his mind, and despite being in his 70s, he hadn’t lost his touch!