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The Thespian: Life & Films of Dilip Kumar
Urmila Lanba The Thespian: Life & Films of Dilip Kumar : Urmila Lanba : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 9386268329)
Pages: 160
Price: Rs. 495
Format: Paperback
ISBN13/10: 9789386268327 / 9386268329
Availability: Yes
Published in 2019
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Table of Contents

Known variously as the last emperor in the Indian film world, a living legend, the thespian, few would contest that Dilip Kumar has been a dominant figure for over five decades in an industry where actors spring up like mushrooms and are wiped out of public memory like bubbles in water or footprints in the sand. His status as the unquestioned icon of Hindi screen is a tribute both to his star appeal among successive generations of Hindi film audiences and his acting calibre.

Lovingly and film-by-film, this book traces Dilip Kumar’s legendary career which started by pure chance when he was barely twenty-two and with no interest in films to speak of. Dilip Kumar achieved his undisputed status as India’s outstanding film actor through sheer hard work and astonishing dedication. Acting in only fifty-four films in nearly as many years, Dilip helped create landmark films from the 1940s to the 1980s, including Shaheed, Jogan, Devdas, Naya Daur, Mughal-e-Azam, Gunga Jumna, Sagina Mahato and Shakti, to name a few. Intensely interested in all aspects of the films he worked in, Dilip also directed several of them.

Dilip Kumar is a very private man in a very public industry. Thus, while so much has been written about him in the media there remains an aura of mystery about him. This book attempts to flesh out the person behind the star and how Dilip Kumar’s cultured dignity and grace have given him a credibility which transcends the silver screen, making him a public figure who is both widely admired and respected.

The book also contains a complete filmography of Dilip Kumar and an array of photographs that chronicle his life and films.


"A captivating biography of a man who not only influenced the film industry over several decades but was one of the first actors to see social change as a cause of daily life. From Kumar’s beginnings in Peshawar as Yusaf Khan, Lanba shows us the private man who would become a legend both on screen and off. Her narrative deftly entwines his personal history with his film history. Black and white photos from his films and off screen are sprinkled throughout the book."  — Bhavana Somaya in Screen

"A must read . . . Urmila Lanba’s well researched work (is a) winner."  — Dr K. K. Paul

"An interesting book on the life and times of a great man and a never to be forgotten actor."  Book Mark

". . . eminently readable and credible."  Business India

"Urmila Lanba's fine biography of Dilip Kumar is welcome . . . readable and thorough . . . it tells all you need to know about the actor without being idolatrous or malicious."  — Bhaichand Patel in Outlook

Urmila Lanba

Urmila Lanba, a lawyer by profession, has been keenly interested in films since her childhood, Dilip Kumar's films in particular. She spent several years working on this book.

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