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When Trivandrum Fulfilled a Long, Cherished Dream of Dilip Kumar

Credits: Reuters

Credits: Reuters

Dilip Kumar while attending the 'Soorya Festival' in Kerala had requested his friend and organiser of the festival Soorya Krishnamoorthy that he wanted to walk freely hand in hand with his wife Saira Banu.

Bollywood‘s first superstar and one of the greatest actors to grace the Hindi film industry, Dilip Kumar passed away in a Mumbai hospital after a prolonged illness on Wednesday. Even as legions of fans and actors from the industry mourn his loss, not many know an anecdote of how Kerala’s capital city Thiruvananthapuram had once played a major role in fulfilling one of the most profound desires of the thespian once.

Kumar was attending the acclaimed ‘Soorya Festival’ in the city some 25 years ago when he told Soorya Krishnamoorthy, the founder of the festival that he wanted to walk freely hand in hand with his wife Saira Banu without any interference because he was never able to do so in Mumbai because there was always the fear of being mobbed by the Mumbai crowd, Onmanorama reported.

“I have a special wish that I have been nurturing for so long. I know I cannot fulfil it in Mumbai or anywhere else. I want to walk, hand in hand, with my wife on a busy road," Kumar had reportedly told Krishnamoorthy.

Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu were staying at a luxurious hotel in the city and Krishnamoorthy arranged for the couple to disguise themselves well so that they wont be recognised. Saira Banu covered her head with the saree ‘pallu’ and Kumar wore a‘mundu’(garment worn around the waist) on his head like a cap. The couple walked from Keltron junction to the city museum and enjoyed their stroll. Krishnamoorthy also walked the stretch a few steps behind the couple just in case anyone noticed them.

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The couple were driven back to the hotel in a car from the museum.

Cutting across industries, yesteryear and present day actors paid rich tributes and mourned the loss of the first superstar of Hindi cinema. Veteran actor Dharmendra mourned Kumar loss. “I am shocked and at loss of words. He was like an elder brother to me. It’s a black day for Indian cinema. I knew this day would come but I have never been able to prepare myself for it. I would regularly call Saira and enquire about Dilip saab’s health."

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and several Bollywood A-listers including Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Karan Johar and Vidya Balan visited the legendary actor’s Bandra residence to meet his wife Saira Banu. Kumar was buried in Mumbai on Wednesday with full state honours. Wrapped in the national flag, Dilip Kumar was taken to Juhu Kabristan, where the film fraternity and thousands of fans lined up to bid him an emotional farewell.

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first published:July 07, 2021, 18:00 IST