The wife of the legendary Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu is a legend by her own right. One of the most famous actresses between the 1960s and the 1980s, she was born in the beautiful hill station of Mussoorie on August 23, 1944 to actress Naseem Banu and film producer Mian Ehsan-ul-Haq.
Coming from an illustrious family that boasted quite a few big names during their contemporary times, Saira Banu spent quite some time in London, during her youth and made her debut in Bollywood when she was 16 years old. Notably, Banu made her debut opposite Shammi Kapoor in the 1961 film Junglee, for which she earned her first Filmfare nomination as Best Actress.
On the actress' 75th birthday, here are 7 films of Saira Banu one must watch.
Junglee (1961): The Subodh Mukherjee film which was Saira Banu's debut in Bollywood alongside the famed Shammi Kapoor was a light hearted musical and earned the actress her first Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. The film saw Saira Banu play a charming and lively girl whom Shammi Kapoor, a strict individual, who follows ever rule, fall in love with.
Bluff Master (1963): The Manmohan Desai film once again paired Saira Banu with Shammi Kapoor in the light hearted comedy, where the actor was seen playing a conman, while Saira Banu played his love interest, who despite his erring ways falls in love with him.
Padosan (1968): Perhaps the role Saira Banu is best remembered for, the Jyoti Swaroop directorial included a stellar ensemble cast of Sunil Dutt, Kishore Kumar, Mehmood, Keshto Mujherjee and others. Based on the Bengali story Pasher Bari by Arun Chowdhury, it is considered to be one of the best comedy movies made in Hindi film history.
Purab Aur Paschim (1970): The patriotic film starring Manoj Kumar and Saira Banu with Ashok Kumar, Pran and Prem Chopra in the lead roles, saw Saira Banu essay the role of Preeti, who lives in London, has long blonde hair, wears mini-dresses, smokes and drinks and has no idea of Indian values till she meets Bharat (Manoj Kumar)
Victoria No. 203 (1972): Starring Saira Banu opposite Navin Nischol, Ranjeet, Anwar Hussain, Helen and Ashok Kumar and Pran, and is a heist story about some stolen precious diamonds. The film inspired the Tamil movie Vairam (1974), starring Jaishankar and Jayalalithaa.
Chaitali (1975): Based on the Bengali novel of the same name by Ashapoorna Devi, the music of the film was composed by the duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal and starred actors Dharmendra, Saira Banu and Pradeep Kumar in lead.
Jwaar Bhata (1973): The remake of the Telugu film Dagudu Moothalu, the film starring Dharmendra and Saira Banu saw the former play the long lost grandson of a wealthy businessman, while Banu played the businessman's secretary who brings the man home, and reunited the two. The film goes on to show, how after the grandson inherits the entire property, scheming relatives try to trick him out of it.
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