New Delhi: Legendary actor Dilip Kumar passed away on Wednesday at the age of 98. The love story of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu is the one that melts millions of hearts. One of the most celebrated couples of Bollywood, Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu were married for 54 years and Banu remained Kumar’s devoted companion till his last day. Despite an age difference of 22 years, the couple survived the test of time and set example for generations to follow.
Saira fell head over heels for Dilip Kumar 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 years old, she attended the premiere of Dilip Kumar’s tragic romance Mughal-e-Azam in 1960. In an interview with a portal, she remembered their first encounter and said that she knew somewhere that she will marry him someday.
Despite the age gap of 22 years, the two lovebirds were soon deeply in love. Saira Banu’s mother, Naseem Banu, played a pivotal role in the actor’s union. She played cupid for the two and brought them closer. Dilip Kumar finally proposed to Saira Banu, and there was no question for Saira to deny the proposal. The two got married in the year 1966. At that time Saira Banu was 22 and Dilip Kumar was 44.
Later, in his memoir titled ‘Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow’, Yusuf Khan described how his eyes fell on Saira, with whom he had once refused to work. He penned, “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.”
Banu quit her acting career in 1976 to play the perfect wife to her ‘Kohinoor’, the love of her life. In 2014, Saira had 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.”
Saira Banu was with Dilip Kumar till his last breath. For the past couple of months, the actor was not doing well. He had to be shifted to hospital on a regular basis. Saira Banu didn’t leave his side and was constantly with him despite her old age. She was spotted with the legendary actor on several hospital trips and made sure that best medical care is provided to him to save his life.