Dilip Kumar on the mutual admiriation club he shares with Amitabh Bachchan
By Raghuvendra Singh
I vividly remember the shot of Shakti taken at Juhu with a chopper whirring loudly in the backdrop where I am in a helicopter and I land on the sands of Juhu beach where Amit is waiting for me. He walks towards me slowly. It was the mahurat shot and our first contact in front of the camera. Neither he nor I had lines to speak. It was a play of intense emotional expression without dialogue. There were spectators and the entire unit was agog and keen to flag off the start of the film’s shooting. I could see before me an actor of deep commitment to the work he was doing and a fine sense of restrained acting which was visible in the measured steps he was taking and the eloquence in his facial expression.
Later on, when we were chatting informally, he told me how nervous he was as it was his first scene with me. It was sweet and unassuming on his part to say so because he came across as a confident actor capable of conveying an uncommon intensity and authority through his screen presence. It is always a stimulating experience when the actor with you in a scene has as much desire as you have to raise the scene to the marked level or play it down to the level demanded by the script and screenplay. All through the making of Shakti it was a pleasure working with Amit who I feel is a complete actor.
What I also remember about him during the making of Shakti is his undivided attention to details of the character he was playing and the histrionic demands of the script.
As a result, director Ramesh Sippy was able to steer our scenes with ease and clarity.
Over the years we have developed, quite unintentionally, our own exclusive mutual admiration club. We keep in touch and it is always a pleasure to meet him and talk to him when I run into him at industry gatherings. Always a man of fine manners and well spoken, respectful towards seniors in the profession, humble about his exceptional achievements, unflinchingly dedicated and disciplined at work, he should be an example to aspirants and rising actors.
I am equally fond of Jaya and always remember her with a deep sense of affection when I think of her respectful unaffected ways and the high calibre of her work.