I Was Never Aiming For A Career In Films: Dilip Tahil Quips On His Bollywood Journey

Aamir Khan’s dad in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Madan Chopra in Baazigar (1993), Malik in Kaho Naa.. Pyaar Hai (2000), and Salman Khan’s father in Judwaa (1997) — actor Dalip Tahil has played all these roles among many others in his Bollywood career spanning over 43 years.

The 64-year-old reveals that initially he didn’t even want to be a part of the film industry. “I was not aiming for a career in films. It was director Shyam Benegal, who spotted me in a play in my younger days and cast me in his film Ankur (1974), as the friend of the hero. After that, I was cast in all sorts of roles — be it villainous or comedy.”

Having worked with almost all top actors, right from legendary Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand to superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar, Dalip says that he was never bothered that he only received character or supporting role offers.

“I really have no image and that is why the audience accepted me in all kinds of roles [that I portrayed on screen]. When I got a chance to play Aamir’s dad in QSQT, for not even a minute did I think that I would not play a father on-screen. If I find substance in the part, I do it.” He will next be seen in the upcoming film Ummeed, which is based on the subject of unethical medical testing on children.

“Many of my friends, who are leading men in Bollywood, tell me that they want to reinvent their image, and that they are frustrated doing the same kinds of roles again and again. But how can the leading man in films today reinvent himself? They are so locked in with their image, its very difficult”, says Dalip.

The actor feels that playing character roles has also been rewarding for him, even if they had smaller screen time. “Just look at my career graph — I have played everything. Right from the villain Madan Chopra in Baazigar (1993) to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)!”