Indian acting legend Dilip Kumar honored with bespoke festival

Dilip Kumar, widely regarded as one of India’s greatest actors, will be honored with a bespoke heritage festival starting next month.

The Dilip Kumar Hero of Heroes Festival takes place on December 10th and 11th to celebrate the star’s 100th birthday. Kumar (aka Yusuf Khan) died in July last year at the age of 98.

The festival is organized by the Film Heritage Foundation, which is behind an upcoming film restoration workshop in Mumbai and whose director Shivendra Singh Durgapur was at the Film Bazaar this week to speak at a panel on restoration.

The festival will screen four of Kumar’s landmark films 1952’s Aan, Devdas (1955), Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and Shakti (1982) in more than 30 cinemas in cities across India. Host cities are Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Pune, Bareilly, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Raipur, Indore, Surat, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

“Dilip Kumar turns 100! What an incredible opportunity to bring one of the greatest actors in Indian cinema back to the big screen. He really is the “hero of heroes” because even today he is an actor that the biggest stars look up to. Although some of these films were released nearly seventy years ago, the power of Dilip Kumar’s performances, method actor craft and charisma make him timeless,” said Durgapur.

But before the festival could put together its selection, Durgapur and the FHF first had to solve the problem of decay or missing materials.

“I was so excited thinking about how many [Kumar’s] Films that I was able to curate for this occasion. Little did I know then that I would have the opposite problem. I was shocked and heartbroken to discover that many of his great films survived only in low definition formats that could not be projected on the big screen,” Durgapur said.

“I cobbled together these films with great difficulty and many people have asked me why some of their favorite Dilip Kumar films were not included. I hope this will be a wake-up call for filmmakers and producers to realize that time is running out and they should take care of preserving their films before it’s too late.”

“Yousuf Sahab has set international standards for Indian actors to follow. Erudite, eloquent and excellent in his chosen field. Cinema can make people believe that the deceased are still alive. In this context, for me, Dilip Kumar ji is one of the best living actors in the world,” said Indian lead actor Kamal Haasan.

“I urge every film lover and contemporary actor who has seen Dilip Kumar no bigger than life to not miss the incredible opportunity to see this giant among actors back on the big screen. It will be an acting master class,” said Amitabh Bachchan, Lead Actor and FHF Ambassador. “I have yet to meet an actor who can match his impeccable performance, impeccable diction, and the intelligence and dedication he brought to his craft. Every word he spoke was poetry and when he appeared on screen everything else was a blur.” Indian acting legend Dilip Kumar honored with bespoke festival

Charles Jones

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