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Dilip Kumar Dies: Legendary Actor's Fairytale Love Story With Saira Banu

By: Entertainment Bureau

News18.com

Last Updated: July 07, 2021, 13:56 IST

Dilip Kumar Dies: Legendary Actor's Fairytale Love Story With Saira Banu

Legendary actor Dilip Kumar passed away on Wednesday, July 7 at the age of 98. Here is a look at the timeline of his marriage with Saira Banu.

Legendary actor of Hinid cinema, Dilip Kumar passed away on Wednesday after a prolonged illness. He was 98. The actor was admitted to suburban Khar-based Hinduja Hospital, a non-COVID-19 facility, last week.

Kumar is survived by his wife of 55 years, veteran actress Saira Banu. The couple tied the knot in October 11, 1966 and had been inseparable ever since. One of the very rare film couples with an everlasting bond, their love story was nothing short of filmy.

Bollywood’s first superstar, Dilip Kumar started his career in 1944 with Jwar Bhata. In 1949, he acted in Andaz, which became his breakout performance, cementing his stardom as ‘tragedy king’ of Bollywood.

In his career he was also linked up with several of his co-stars. In his autobiography The Substance and the Shadow, Kumar said that he first fell in love with his co-star kamini Kaushal, who worked with him on Nadiya Ke Paar, Shaheed Arzoo and Shabnam. However, their relationship was immensely opposed by her family, which led to their split.

His love for his long-time co-star Madhubala was also left unrequited after her father staunchly opposed their relationship. He forbade her daughter to go to outdoor shoots which halted the production of their film Naya Daur. Madhubala and her father were taken to court by the makers. The ethereal actress refused to go against her father and they split up. Kumar has also been linked to other co-stars such as Vyjanthimala and Waheeda Rehman.

On the other hand, actress Saira Banu, who entered the industry with Junglee opposite Shammi Kapoor. Early in her career, she was linked to actor Rajendra Kumar but her mother, ‘Beauty Queen’ and legendary actress Naseem Banu opposed the relationship.

Banu was smitten by Kumar since the age of 12 and wanted to marry him. At 16, she went to Maratha Mandir to watch Mughal-e-Azam and catch a glimpse of Kumar, but was heartbroken when he did not attend the screening. Describing her first meeting with Kumar, she had said, “When he smiled at me and remarked that I was a pretty girl, I could feel my whole being taking wing and flying rapturously. I knew somewhere deep within me that I was going to be his wife.”

Dilip Kumar, on the other hand, wrote about the moment he fell in love with Banu in his autobiography. “When I alighted from my car and entered the beautiful garden that leads to the house, I can still recall my eyes falling on Saira standing in the foyer of her new house looking breathtakingly beautiful in a brocade sari. I was taken aback because she was no longer the young girl I consciously avoided working with because I thought she would look too young to be my heroine. She had indeed grown to full womanhood and was in reality more beautiful than I thought she was. I simply stepped forward and shook her hand and for us time stood still.”

It was six years after their first meeting that they tied the knot in 1966 in an intimate ceremony. Kumar was 44 and Banu was 22. Their 20 year age gap lead to a lot of controversy with many predicting that their marriage won’t last.

However, the couple also had to face ups and downs in the relationship. In his book, Dilip Kumar had revealed that in 1972 Saira Banu miscarried when she was 8 months pregnant. However, they did not regret not having children. In an old interview, he had said, “It would have been great if we had our own kids. But we have no regrets. We are both submissive to the will of God. As for incompleteness, I must tell you that neither Saira nor I can complain of a lack of contentment. It is enough for us that we have our families to share our happiness and our small dismays with. Mine is a large family, with so many nieces and nephews and their families of growing kids speaking the language of today, which is as bewildering as it is befitting the times they are living in. Saira’s is a small family comprising her brother Sultan and his kids and grandchildren. We feel we are lucky to be there for them when they need us.”

There was another controversy surrounding their marriage. It was rumoured that in 1982, Kumar married a second time while still being wed to Saira. He married Asma, a socialite from Hyderabad, who was not of a film background. The marriage didn’t last and they divorced within 2 years. In his book, Kumar wrote that he and Banu do not revisit this part of their life and chalk it up to a ‘grave mistake.”

Kumar and Banu since had a long and blissful marriage. In 2014, Banu had called him her ‘Kohinoor,’ saying, “I am still head over heels in love with my Kohinoor, Yousuf Sahab, the way I was when I first felt attracted to him as a 12 year-old. Ours has been as good and enduring a marriage as so many marriages that have survived the ups and downs for four decades. No marriage is perfect. How can it be, when as human beings we are not perfect? It is mutual love, respect and adoration that keep a marriage ticking.”

During Dilip Kumar’s old age and prolonged illness, Banu stood beside him like a rock and took care of him, until his death in 2021. Saira Banu, who is 76, has been widely hailed for her life-long dedication to the actor, especially during his last years.

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first published:July 07, 2021, 11:04 IST
last updated:July 07, 2021, 13:56 IST