21 October, 2020

Sullying His Honour

It's jingoism that's isolated Dilip Kumar on the issue of returning the Nishan-e-Imtiaz

Sullying His Honour
MANY of Dilip Kumar's films of the '50s and '60s centred on the question of an individual's identity in newly independent India. The Peshawar-born actor played those angst-ridden characters as only he could: with measured intensity. But that legendary sense of repose that he brought to his work even when he articulated anger and anguish, notably in films like Footpath, Deedar, Ganga Jamuna and Sagina, now seems to be a thing of the distant past. The times have changed and the veteran actor finds himself grappling repeatedly with his identity as an Indian Muslim.

It's the dreaded loyalty test again. A jingoistic Shiv Sena wants the thespian to return his Nishan-e-Imtiaz award to Pakistan to prove his patriotic credentials. Unable to fathom what connection the honour could have with the border war, the 77-year-old actor is holed up in a New Delhi hotel for well over a week in quest of support from quarters that matter. The search has been largely ineffectual. His meeting with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has yielded no clear-cut official reassurance. Far from taking a...



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