From Dilip Kumar To Kartik Aaryan, The Superstars Who Conquered Bollywood On Their Own Terms

Subhash K Jha writes about the superstars who conquered Bollywood on their own terms

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From Dilip Kumar To Kartik Aaryan, The Superstars Who Conquered Bollywood On Their Own Terms
There is an elitism about Dilip Kumar’s superstardom that contradicts his humble beginnings. When the mighty Dilip Kumar wanted to be an actor he had no training in acting. He wouldn’t have dared to venture into films were it not for his family’s poor financial conditions.

Dilip Saab’s father grew apricots, grapes, pomegranates, apples and peaches. He would get those fruits tinned. He wanted his son to be educated so he could enhance the family business. Dilip Saab loved the family business. But it was a very tough life. The entire process from plucking to dispatch was very cumbersome. Dilip Kumar would rather sell his emotions than fruits.

Sixty years later, Nawazuddin Siddiqui an aspiring actor from a farming family conquered Bollywood on his own terms without the help of Sugar Daddy.

“It has to be on your own terms, or not at all. Dilip Saab ko kissine acting nahin sikhaya. He watched the actors he idolized and learnt from them. I watched his films to learn what acting is. Jahan tak outsider-insider debate ki baat hai, I have never felt like an outsider though I’ve faced discrimination .Who hasn’t? You have to believe in yourself….I never had to face the casting couch because I didn’t know what it was,” laughs Nawaz.

India’s most successful superstar Rajesh Khanna believed in himself.When he came in to the industry Rajendra Kumar was on the way out. Dharmendra and Jeetendra were stars but not superstars. Bollywood had not seen a superstar since (outsider) Dilip Kumar and (insider) Shammi Kapoor.Amitabh Bachchan was yet to come.

Rajesh Khanna fitted into the lacuna. He was a normal guy with normals needs and dreams.

Normal guys , says Nawaz, can only be played by actors who have seen a tough life.

The common man’s hero Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan have to be an outsider. Anil Kapoor and Sunny Deol cannot connect with the audience the way Jackie Shroff and Akshay Kumar can. Jackie and Akshay know what it feels like to be an outsider. The hunger and anger we saw in Bachchan Saab’s eyes was missing from Abhishek’s eyes. Ranveer Singh too has that greed-to-be-freed in his eyes.I also saw that hungering look in Sushant Singh Rajput’s eyes.

Kartik Aaryan is the latest entrant into the space of the greed-to-be-freed hero-giri. He is the most recent hero from a small town with big jumbo-sized dreams to have conquered Bollywood on his own terms. He won’t be bullied. He won’t surrender to conformism.

That inextinguishable fire to scale the stars distinguishes the outsider from the outsider.

“The thing about us outsiders is, Bollywood can’t bully us into submission. We come to the land of dreams armed only with our dreams. We’ve nothing to lose. Don’t try to scare us. We have Dilip Saab’s example before us. He came and conquered from nowhere,” says Nawaz.

Image source: instagram/kartikaaryan/SpotboyE Archives/SpotboyE