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Mother India could have starred Dilip Kumar with Nargis but the Mughal-e-Azam star rejected the part - Here's why

Mother India stars Nargis as the mother to characters played by Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar. 

Mother India could have starred Dilip Kumar with Nargis but the Mughal-e-Azam star rejected the part - Here's why
Dilip Kumar Rejected Mother India?

Last Updated: 02.15 PM, Jun 05, 2024


Some films have 'iconic' written all over them. They fascinate viewers, new and old, with each viewing, and the praise and fandom keep increasing. Their fanbase is spread far and wide, and they never stop being relevant. One such story is the legendary and iconic Bollywood movie that has impressed us all for decades and continues to do so: Mother India. This movie managed to take India to the Oscar stage for the first time and turned out to be a global success. It made the legendary Nargis Dutt, Sunil Dutt, and Rajendra Kumar icons of Hindi cinema. But what if we told you that another legend was almost part of this movie but rejected the offer? That star was Dilip Kumar.

Dilip Kumar Rejected Mother India?

We are not the ones speculating; the star himself once spoke about it. Mother India had a very interesting casting journey. The inclusion of the ethereal Nargis was a point of discussion because she was about to play a mother to men who were around her age, which was considered cinema suicide back in the day. But who could have guessed that she was making the most golden decision of her career? In the same mix, there was Dilip Kumar, who had his own reasons to reject the part. Read on to learn everything about this.


Back in the day, when Mehboob Khan was making Mother India, he, according to Dilip Kumar, approached him to play one of the sons. There is no clarity on which one, but it was definitely one of the sons. While talking about the reason for rejecting the role, Kumar said that he had romanced Nargis in a couple of movies, which made it very weird for him to play her son in a film.

In his autobiography, titled Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow, the veteran film star revealed that he was indeed approached to play a pivotal role in Mother India. In the book, talking about the reason, he wrote, “When Mehboob [Khan] sahab discussed Mother India with me in the early 1950s, I thought it was a brilliant and timely concept and it had to be made at any cost. The role he could offer me was one of the sons of heroine Nargis, and I pointed out that it would be an incongruous casting after all the romancing she and I had done in earlier films, such as Mela (1948) and Babul (1950).”

About Mother India

Starring Nargis as a mother fighting poverty to bring up her two sons, the movie is about how she never lets her moral values waver, even for a bit. When she sees her son going the wrong way, she has to make a tough decision. The movie is streaming on ShemarooMe in India, and you can watch it with your OTTplay Premium subscription. Stay tuned to OTTplay for more information on this and everything else in the world of streaming and films.

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