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Meet Dilip Kumar's first director Amiya Chakrabarty

On Chakrabarty's 104th birth anniversary, here's looking back at the first time Dilip Kumar faced the camera under his direction.

Sonal Pandya

The Bombay Talkies co-founder, Devika Rani, saw the potential in the young Dilip Kumar and brought him to the studio on a salary of Rs1250 a month to act as the lead in their upcoming film Jwar Bhata (1944). Rani introduced Kumar to the director of the film, Amiya Chakrabarty, upon his first time visiting the Bombay Talkies studios in Malad.

Chakrabarty was one of the top directors at Bombay Talkies. He previously wrote the screenplay for Bandhan (1940), one of the highest grossing films of that year, starring Ashok Kumar and Leela Chitnis. His directorial debut brought back the popular pair of Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in Anjaan (1941) and his next film Basant (1942) featured child artiste Baby Mumtaz who later went on to act as Madhubala.

After their first meeting, Kumar and Chakrabarty spent more time together as they planned the shooting of the film. Dilip Kumar recalled in his memoirs that he was composed and collected as the first day of shooting approached. Devika Rani had supervised his look and makeup, making sure his bushy eyebrows were trimmed. Chakrabarty showed him his place on the outdoor set and asked him to run from his position in front of the camera when he said 'action' and stop when said 'cut'. Kumar asked him why he was running and the director explained he was saving the heroine who was about to commit suicide.

Everything was set and when Kumar heard 'Action', he ran like the wind. Suddenly, from afar, he heard 'Cut, cut, cut'. Chakrabarty came over and said he ran so fast that the camera couldn't capture him. Kumar was confused but followed the director's instructions and eventually after four takes the shot was canned. And thus, began the career of the legendary Dilip Kumar.

Kumar and Chakrabarty worked again after that first film together in Daag (1952). Chakrabarty wrote the story, produced and directed the story of a man, Shankar, who battles alcoholism, poverty and society in order to improve his reputation and win the love of Parvati, played by Nimmi. It led Dilip Kumar to win the Filmfare Award for Best Actor, in the first year they were held. He went on to win the trophy another seven times in his career.