No book on Hindi cinema has ever been as keenly anticipated as this one. That is understandable. The Substance and the Shadow is after all the autobiography of the one and only Dilip Kumar.
That life has been anything but ordinary. The night Yousuf Khan, the Pathan boy who would be India’s Tragedy King, was born in Kissa Khwani Bazaar, Peshawar, in 1922, a major fire broke out in the locality even as a severe blizzard raged.
Dilip Kumar and drama have gone hand in hand ever since, and this book captures most of it in his own words. The narrative is supplemented with a segment devoted to the impressions of his family and friends.
The Substance and the Shadow germinated in 2004, a year that saw a rash of books on the actor, including a ‘definitive biography’ by Bunny Reuben. Dilip Kumar was appalled at the “distortions and misinformation” that the account contained. This is an attempt at setting the record straight.