Year 2004 Mughl-E-Azam was the first black-and-white Hindi film to be digitally coloured and theatrically re-released. I was editor Screen at this point and we decided to celebrate the milestone moment at our annual awards night. We invited Vilasrao Deshmukh, then chief minster Maharashtra, to do the honours. Deshmukh delivered a terrific speech and it was now time for Dilip Kumar to speak. Dilip Kumar appeared a little lost. This was probably the beginning of his Alzheimer’s but not many were aware at that time, including us. It was an awkward moment for everyone in the audience, so I hesitantly walked on to the stage and quietly stood behind him. He sensed my presence and turned around, “Kaun hain bhai” he asked in his inimitable style and discovering me heaved a deep sigh of relief. He instantly thrust the microphone into my hand and said “Ab le lo bhai hum kab se khade hain yahan” and thus an emotional evening came to a dignified end.
As I write this obit my mind rewinds to the nubile reporter aided by a charismatic superstar on her first assignment forty years ago. Can something like this ever happen in present times, I’m not sure, because only one in a hundred years, comes an actor like Dilip Kumar.