The best of Dilip Kumar: A musical tribute

The Hindu rewinds classic songs of the acting legend

Updated - November 27, 2021 04:08 pm IST

Published - July 07, 2021 03:44 pm IST

Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar

The romantic heroes get to lip-synch the most melodious of songs. Dilip Kumar, who died in Mumbai on Wednesday at the age of 98, may not have been among the great romantic heroes of Bollywood, such as Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Rajendra Kumar... but he was as complete an actor as you could get in Indian cinema.

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The legend’s dedication to his art is visible in the songs picturised on him. And he became part of some of Indian cinema’s greatest melodies. The Hindu plays a list of Dilip Kumar’s best songs:

Sham-e-gham ki kasam… (Footpath)


This was one of those songs that made Bollywood take note of Khayyam, who would go on to tune some of the finest melodies in Indian cinema. For this gorgeous composition, he used the velvety voice of Talat Mahmood. On screen, Dilip Kumar lip-synched it to perfection.

Ek shahanshah ne... (Leader)


One of the greatest semi-classical songs in Hindi cinema, it was tuned by the most classical of composers, Naushad. Set in Raga Lalit , this song has Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar at their best. Shakeel Badayuni’s lyrics are about the world’s greatest monument to love, Taj Mahal, where the song was shot. On screen, Dilip Kumar is romancing the beautiful Vyjayanthimala.

Madhuban mein Radhika... (Kohinoor)


Another masterly composition by Naushad, this time in Raga Hamir . For acting in the song sequence, Dilip Kumar, the method actor that he was, took lessons in sitar for months from Ustad Abdul Hailm Jaffer Khan. The actor requested the director, S.U. Sunny, to postpone the song’s shoot till the end of the schedule so that he could practise on sitar. For this timeless song, Naushad has used several Indian classical music instruments, like tabla, jaltarang, sarod, tampura, sarangi and mridangam.

Maang ke saath tumhara... (Naya Daur)


This catchy O.P. Nayyar composition remains one of the most popular duets of Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle. Its picturisation reminds us of the undeniable on-screen chemistry of Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala. The 1957 film boasted another classic Rafi-Asha duet – Ude jab jab zulfen teri...

Dil tadap tadap... (Madhumati)


Bimal Roy’s 1958 classic, featuring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, boasts an exceptional music score by Salil Choudhury. This melodious duet by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar is among the most popular ones in the 11-track album, the pick of which is Lata’s Aaja re pardesi...

This list of Dlieep Kumar's great songs is far from complete, yes. How could we forget songs like Do sitaron ka zameen par... (Kohinoor), Aaj purani raahon se... (Aadmi), Ye hawa ye raat ye chandni...(Sangdil) and Mere pairon mein ghunghroo... (Sanghursh) ?

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