Substance of A Self-Sculpting Man | Dilip Kumar – An Actor Par Excellence!

Book Title: The Substance and the Shadow: An Autobiography

Author: Dilip Kumar

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Dilip Kumar Sahib is truly an exceptional person from the way he expresses himself and the people that he very deeply cares for in his life. One thing that really comes out is the fact that he is an exceptional storyteller, gripping, you get caught in the moment yet with such restraint that it feels like a gentleman’s narration while safe-guarding his inner-most privacy.

I am a person who boldly expresses herself in all situation, and when I read Dilip Sahib’s autobiography, I understood the need for restraint in character. I felt the age-old feeling of great respect for his narration which came through in every single honest whisper of the method actor.

I could hear him and his philosophy in his career. His dramatics were of the subtler kind and I remember watching his movies and feeling the naturalness of, whatever his role did in the scene. I felt the autobiography was only one part of the narrative but the remaining was completely taken over by the rest of his colleagues who worked with him or friends, family and just plain all those who said those tales that was omitted by Dilip Sahib out of restraint.

The joy that comes from the effervescent feel of his complete Character was not just his words but words of others who had interacted with him. I felt that this was a unique autobiography which was also 30% of reading involved others’ view of life’s experience with him.

The Story in a Nutshell

Dilip Sahib brings to light the childhood, youth, adulthood and life as an actor in a gentle float of events that eventually made its mark in those beautiful lines that he used to describe his work, his private life, his family and his friends. The unforgettable moments of hardship that he undergoes to get the scene right by having multiple rehearsals.

The story of an actor in the present day of scandal picking and making up supposition in the hope of being in the circle of popularly tweeted actor, you will find the unassuming Dilip Sahib’s reluctance to scandals and holding tight-lipped silence if the question was outrageous and emotionally disturbing. That kind of being supremely calm and collected in a situation and decide the best response that would not harm anyone is every actor’s call out to the society of film viewers. The fact that actors bring out their heart and soul into their work does not automatically mean that their life is an open page for all and sundry. I loved that restraint when Dilip Sahib almost without speaking loudly says this is so far that I am speaking about my personal life and my acting methods for the rest watch my movies and leave my personal life just that personal! For the movies truly speaks for who and what he stood for in the Industry of make-believe.   


Let me open this review with my all-time favorite words by Dilip Sahib from his book.

“…. It should teach him not to believe all that is said about anyone and it was always prudent to judge people by one’s own discernment.”

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the way the narration went rather smoothly and with some interesting information about what worked in his works and what didn’t work. He spoke with such restraint the deeply held thoughts and his protective stands towards his family especially the female members of the family, is such a sweet old-fashioned gentleman, a breed of men quiet lost in the rush of modern-day living.

My Opinion

I believe this autobiography is really a serious stuff and a complete 360-degree view of the single school of acting or method acting which was done to perfection by the master strokesmen. My all-time favorite was Ram aur Shyama and Ganga Jumna. I highly recommend reading this autobiography to better understand Dilip Sahib and his works. The autobiography will work as an notes to better understand the struggles of an actor when delivering the few strokes of ideas into actual reality for the silver screen.