How Tata taught humility to Bollywood’s ultimate actor Dilip Kumar

Actor Dilip Kumar (left) and India's industry titan JRD Tata.

Dilip Kumar, Bollywood’s ultimate actor, was once travelling on an airplane sitting next to the great Indian tycoon JRD Tata.

In Dilip Kumar’s own words this is what happened between the two great men:

“At the peak of my career, I was once travelling by airplane. The passenger
next to me was an elderly man. Dressed in a simple shirt
and pants, he appeared middle class but seemed
to be well educated. Other passengers kept glancing at me, but this
gentleman appeared to be unconcerned of me…He was reading his
newspaper, looking out of the window, and when tea
came, he sipped it quietly. Trying to strike a conversation,
I smiled. The man courteously smiled back and said ‘Hello’.
We got talking and I brought the subject to cinema and
asked, ‘Do you watch films?’ The man replied, ‘Oh, very few.
I did see one many years ago.’ I mentioned that I worked in
films myself. The man said, ‘Oh, that’s nice. What do you
do?’ I replied, ‘I am an actor ‘ The man nodded, ‘Oh, that’s
wonderful!’ That was it…When we landed, I held out
my hand and said, ‘It was good to travel with you. By the way, my name is Dilip Kumar!’
The man shook my hand and smiled, “Thank you…I am J. R. D. Tata!”
I learned, no matter how big you are, there is always someone *bigger*.

*Be humble, it costs nothing.*

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