Naseeruddin says Dilip Kumar didn’t do enough for cinema, ‘chose to play safe’

Mumbai: Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah speaking about the late legendary actor Dilip Kumar, said that the actor despite being a star and ‘immaculate’ at his craft ‘chose to play safe’.

In an opinion piece written for The Indian Express, the actor wrote, “Some of those works doubtless will survive the test of time but, given the position he was in, it is more than evident he didn’t do enough apart from acting and being involved in social causes close to his heart. He produced only one film, didn’t direct any (officially at least), never passed on the benefit of his experience, didn’t bother to groom anyone, and apart from his pre-1970s performances, left behind no significant lessons for future actors; even his autobiography is but a rehash of old interviews,” 

He acknowledged the thespian’s talent and great performances but also questioned his contribution to the world of cinema. He pointed out that his filmography was limited, compared to his contemporaries.

“It’s baffling why a man as conscious of his place in history as he was should be reluctant to record his interaction with some of the admittedly great filmmakers of his time or say anything really informative about the nature of his work and technique. I wish, at some point, he had at least been forthright about the travails involved in retaining legions of devoted fans,” he added.

Naseeruddin praised the ‘consummate characterizations, the dignified deportment, the mellifluous diction, the controlled but roiling emotionality’ in Dilip’s performances, especially before Ganga Jumna (1961). He also expressed gratitude to the late actor ‘for the magic’.

Dilip Kumar died on July 7 after a prolonged illness. Coincidentally, Naseeruddin Shah was suffering from pneumonia and was admitted to the same hospital as Dilip in his last days. However, they did not meet.