Legendary actor Dilip Kumar passed away today at the age of 98 years. With his passing an era of Hindi cinema came to an end. The actor’s demise left legions of his fans including the who’s who of Bollywood in deep remorse, but nothing can be compared to the grief and sorrow that his wife Saira Banu must be feeling today.
Their real life romance is what legends are made of. Dilip Saab and Saira ji married in 1966 and have been together ever since. In 2019, Saira ji had told an online portal describing her love for her husband, Dilip Kumar aka Yusuf Khan and had said, “My love for sahib can never be measured in words. I was so much in love with him from the very start, at first sight. I have been a classic case of a woman madly in love. Our love’s forever.” Here’s a look at the fairytale romance of the couple who weathered many a storm from a huge age-gap to second marriage.
Saira Banu always knew she could become Dilip Kumar’s wife
Saira Banu was 22 years younger than Dilip Kumar but her love for the actor overcame the age barrier. She fell head over heels for Dilip Saab when she was just 12 years old. She confessed her feelings in a tabloid interview and said, “I was not just another girl smitten by Dilip Kumar. For me, it was no castle in the air because I had given my dream the strong foundation of faith- faith in myself and faith in God.”Later when she was 16, she had attended the premiere of Mughal-e-Azam in 1960 but could not meet him as he could not make it to the premiere. Later on, when she finally saw him, she remembered that moment fondly. “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.”
Saira’s mother Naseem Banu played cupid
It was Saira Banu’s mother Nassem Banu who brought the two actors closer. Reportedly, Saira after making her Bollywood debut was in a relationship with 70s superstar Rajendra Kumar. But due to his marital status, their relationship was in controversy from the very beginning. Naseem Banu coaxed Dilip Kumar to convince Saira to stop seeing Rajendra Kumar. Dilip Kumar eventually went on to propose to her while she was shooting for Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan. Saira Banu was quick to say yes and, they tied the knot on October 11, 1966 even though they had a 22 years age gap between them.
Remained true to each other despite having no children
The couple’s relationship came to a standstill in 1972 when Saira Banu suffered a miscarriage. In an interview with the Hindustan Times, when Saira was asked if she has regrets about not having children with Kumar, she had answered, “Our marriage is the most important thing in my life. I don’t miss having a child because Saab is like a child at heart.”
Weathered storm but love remained string through thick-and-thin
Dilip Kumar married Asma Rehman in 1981, 16 years after he tied the knot with Saira Banu. However, the relationship did not last and his second marriage ended in 1983. The actor returned back to Saira Banu and called his second marriage ‘a grave mistake’. Talking about it, Dilip Kumar once said, "Well, the one episode in my life that I would like to forget and which we, Saira, and I, have pushed into eternal oblivion is a grave mistake I made under pressure of getting involved with a lady named Asma Rehman whom I had met at a cricket match in Hyderabad".
Saira’s love overcame all hazards
In his career spanning more than five decades, Dilip Kumar was linked with several actresses but Saira ji remained a constant throughout. She had told a leading daily, “For me, it was always Saab, no one else. I was his fan from the time I can remember. While still a teenager, I wanted to be his wife. I’m very headstrong and once I made up my mind, there was no stopping me. I knew many beautiful women wanted to marry Saab, but he chose me. It was my dream come true and that’s what my marriage has been a perfect dream.” She used to call the actor her ‘kohinoor’ and had once said, “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.” She remained strong and like a rock beside her ‘kohinoor’ all the years of their married life setting an example for everyone.
In a world, where relationships and marriage are transient, Saira Banu’s and Dilip Kumar’s love is legendary. Married for nearly 55 years, Saira ji and Dilip Saab are not only cinematic idols but can give relationship goals to everyone.