PESHAWAR: The Cultural Heritage Council in collaboration with the Department of Tourism and Culture on Friday celebrated the 93rd birthday of the cinema legend Dilip Kumar in his hometown of Peshawar.A number of celebrities expressed views about the thespian whose real name is Muhammad Yousaf Khan and was born into a Hindko-speaking Awan family at Mohallah Khudadad in Qissa Khwani on December 11, 1922. They spoke via phone. His wife, Saira Bano, was also among the speakers. The first live telephonic message was from Shagufta Ali, a Bollywood film and TV actress. She paid tributes to the legend and also updated the audience about his health. She said Dilip Kumar was in a better state of health compared to the previous year.Radio Jockey and singer Mudassir Zaman sang a song “Fankaar Tujhay Salam” which was rendered as a special tribute and aired for the first time publicly. The lyrics had been penned down by broadcaster and poet Laiq Zada Laiq. Pushpundar, a former general secretary of the Delhi Press Club, spoke about the importance of people-to-people contacts in bringing the two countries closer.He highlighted the role of Dilip Kumar as a visionary ‘statesman’ who advised the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to extend friendly overtures towards neighbouring Pakistan to pave the way for peace building and foster better relations between the two countries.
Khalid Azmi, a renowned film director and brother of film star Shabana Azmi, paid tributes to the great actor. He also recited some verses in his honour. He said such stars were born once in centuries. “Pakistan is lucky to be a place of this legend’s birth, while India is lucky to take advantage of his acting talents,” he added.Saira Bano, wife of the actor, thanked the people of Peshawar for their warm wishes and for celebrating the actor’s birthday every year in his hometown. She prayed for his long life and good health.Dr Ali Jan represented the Tourism and Culture Department on the occasion. He told the media that the Archaeology Department had included conservation of Dilip Kumar ancestral home among other historic monuments of Peshawar in its Walled City Conservation Project.
“The government is very sensitive about preserving the tangible and intangible heritage of the Walled City and honouring all the legends who hailed from the soil,” said the official. In the end, a symbolic cake cutting ceremony was carried out.The cake was adorned with pictures of the star and had a theatre and film theme. A banner had been placed at the wall of the press club that had a portrait of Dilip Kumar. His fans inscribed impressions and good wishes for the star on the wall. The panaflex bearing his pictures also decorated the lawn of premises. Earlier, via Twitter, Dilip Kumar thanked the city of Peshawar for Celebrating his birthday in his hometown. He posted “Thank you #peshawar for the invitation to the event, the lovely artwork and posters.