On legendary actor Ashok Kumar`s 112th birth anniversary, we revisit his off screen equation with actors Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. While all three actors are long gone, their memories and movies continue to live. Actress Saira Banu who was married to Dilip Kumar often takes to Instagram to share unheard stories from the film industry and their lives. through her platform, Banu registers interesting anecdotes and stories from the bygone era that was ruled by the likes of Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor.
A couple of months ago, Saira Banu had shared an unseen picture of Ashok Kumar with Dilip Kumar. Along with the picture, Saira Banu also narrated the story behind their first meet. “One morning Sahib ran into Dr. Masani, his father’s acquaintance, told him that he was in search of a job. Dr. Masani suggested that he should go with him and took him along to meet Mrs. Devika Rani, the boss of Bombay Talkies Studio. Devika Raniji, a picture of elegance, welcomed them and took them personally to the floor where a shooting was going on. She led him to a man who was well-dressed and looked distinguished. His dark hair was combed back and he smiled through his eyes at Sahib. He held his hand in a warm handshake that marked the beginning of a friendship that was to last a lifetime. He was Ashok Kumar, the superstar who soon became “Bhaiyya” to Sahib. He said that he knew why he was there, You are a handsome man and I can see you are eager to learn well, It’s very simple. You just do the scene given to you as you would behave in a real-life situation if you were really in it be natural if you try to act it out, it will look silly”
“Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, and Ashok Bhaiyya lived close to the Studios those days and Raj and Dilip Sahib were always welcomed in Bhaiyya’s home to savour hot Bhajiyas made by his wife Shoba Bhabhi. Raj Kapoor would often join Sahib and hug him excitedly saying that he`s happy to know that he had joined the acting profession. Bhaiyya sometimes arrived while they were having Bhajiyas and demanded that they should play badminton with him. He would chide them jokingly, You come here and flirt with my wife, eat nice Bhajiyas and you don’t want to accompany me in playing badminton. Later, when they worked together, on Ashok Bhaiyya’s order there would be a “Dawaat” at lunchtime with delicious food like Biryani and homemade icecream,” she further said.
“Many years later when Bhaiyya was at home out of health problems, Sahib used to visit him frequently at his Chembur house where he would be resting in bed very much his ebullient self but naturally weaker, and Sahib took it upon himself to regale him with Urdu couplets and wicked jokes. He would respond marvellously and cheer up. Sahib and I visited him regularly while Bhaiyya’s man Khurshid followed us out and told us that ‘Dada Moni’ really perks up and livens up with your coming. This was a great camaraderie in bad times,” she concluded.