Mumbai: Bollywood thespian and now ailing Dilip Kumar, who was born in Peshawar, said Thursday that he longed to reach out to the parents of the children massacred in the Pakistani city.
Speaking on his behalf, his wife and former actress Saira Banu said Dilip Kumar, who real name is Yusuf Khan, was shocked by the savagery at the Peshawar school.
The 92-year-old Dilip Kumar said: "I was born in the charming city of Peshawar in undivided India and I still have many special memories of the place.
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"What the Taliban terrorists of Pakistan did to the school children in Peshawar is unforgivable and sinful.
"The massacre has wounded me beyond words. My heart longs to reach out to the parents who lost their sons and daughters in the worst crime any country has witnessed in recent years," said Dilip Kumar, whose ancestral house is still in Peshawar.
On Tuesday, the Pakistani Taliban slaughtered 132 students and nine teachers after storming an army-run school.
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In pre-independence India, Peshawar was known as a city that nurtured music, poetry and theatre. According to a media report, in 1936 it became one of the first Indian cities to have a radio station.
The Hindi film industry has a strong connection to the place. Big names like Prithviraj Kapoor and superstar Shah Rukh Khan trace their roots to Peshawar.
Dilip Kumar's family relocated to Maharashtra in the 1930s because they had business interests there. When he joined the Hindi film industry, he took the name Dilip Kumar.
“I pray to the Almighty to give strength to the grieving parents to live through the trauma and horror and bear the loss," said the legend, reputedly the best method actors of Indian cinema.
"The time has come to crush and destroy such evil forces,” he added.
One of the pioneers of Hindi cinema, Dilip Kumar became a name to reckon with in the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to his performance in “Daag”, “Devdas”, “Madhumati”, “Amar”, “Paigham”, “Mughal-E-Azam”, “Ganga Jamuna”, “Leader” and “Ram Aur Shyam”.
After working for about six decades, he bid adieu to arclights in 1998. His last movie was “Qila”.