Indian cinema’s veteran actor Dilip Kumar passed away at the age of 98 on Wednesday, leaving a legacy of some of the most memorable movies. The actor was married to fellow Hindi cinema actress Saira Banu, 76, who had always accompanied her husband and took care of him in his old age. The love story of this star couple is as special as their stardom.
Banu was 22 when 44-year-old Dilip proposed to her for marriage and tied the knot in 1976. In an interview to ETimes, Banu said that the first time she saw him was at a party in Mehboob Studios hosted by the director Mehboob Khan. Banu, who was 12 at the time, remembers that Dilip was wearing a plain white shirt, white trousers and white chappals and his persona was exemplified with his free-flowing hair and polished look.
On the professional front, Banu said that Dilip had apprehensions in casting her for movies since he found her quite young and not exactly a “heroine material.” Banu was being considered for a role in the movie Ram aur Shyam, but Dilip’s apprehension led Mumtaz to be cast which led to her success in the industry, revealed the actress.
“Dilip saab thought I was still too young. And, he was always conscious that he’s a bit older to me. Not just that, he even felt that I was not heroine material as I was very shy and quiet," she said.
Although Banu was annoyed with Dilip for not considering her for the female lead in his movies, the two grew quite close since the heroine’s family knew the actor. Banu mentioned in the 2020 interview that Dilip complimented her when he came to attend her housewarming party and initiated conversations on telephone. According to Banu, Dilip even flew from Chennai to Mumbai for seven days every day after pack-up to have dinner with her family. The couple tied the knot soon after the marriage proposal.
Banu describes her marriage with Dilip as a “dream come true.” She mentioned that for her being around Dilip is the world's best feeling that has happened to her and she does not look for praises as a "devoted wife."