Saira Banu is one of the most notable and gorgeous actresses in Bollywood film industry. She was born on 23rd August 1944 in British India’s Mussorie. Saira Banu was married to a popular film director and actor, Dilip Kumar. It is said that for the first twelve years of her life, Saira Banu had a strange feeling. She assumed herself to be a boy and used to hang out with boys rather than with girls. She took part in boys’ games and was an active participant in it. Things changed completely for her when she went to England. There she realized that there lies a beautiful girl within her and she needs to explore it. Fascinating, isn’t it? Keep reading the below post to discover some interesting and lesser-known facts about Saira Banu, the legendary actress of Indian cinema.
Saira Banu early life and career
Naseem Banu was the mother of Saira Banu and herself was a big celebrity in the film industry in between the 1930s and 40s. She was extremely beautiful and gained popularity for her strong roles in the newly formed Bollywood industry. When the two siblings, Saira Banu and Sultan Ahmed were born, Naseem Banu and her husband parted away and the children were sent to Delhi. Afterwards, Saira Banu and Sultan went to London to complete their higher studies as Naseem Banu wanted her children to grow away from the cinema industry.
When Saira Banu was sixteen, she entered into Bollywood industry with her debut film in the year 1960. She entered the film industry without having any acting course and with very little knowledge about Indian cinema. Luckily, when Saira Banu entered the film industry, she was accompanied by many classical experts who guided her completely and helped her in gaining immense success in her journey. Since most of the competitive actresses gained some classical knowledge, she started the training of Kathak and Bharat Natyam. Gradually, she excelled in both the fields and in each of her movies, she did not lose any chance to flaunt her newly learnt dance form.
In the year 1961, Saira Banu got her first break where the opposite actor to her was none other than Shammi Kapoor. Her first film Junglee became the stepping stone for Saira Banu and her film career flourished. She got herself enlisted in the Best Actor Female category award in the Filmfare Awards held that time. One of the popular songs of her first film, ‘Chahe koi mujhe jungle kahe’ was written by Aghajani Kashmeri and sung by Mohammed Rafi Saheb himself. After the success of Junglee, Saira Banu started getting recognised by popular directors and film producers. Gradually, she became a popular actress in the 1960s and became an icon for romantic and love stories-based movies. Bluff Master directed by Manmohan Desai was another great hit which she made with Sammi Kapoor once again and thereafter she was seen in many hit movies like ‘Aur Pyar Karein’, ‘Jhuk Gaya Asmaan’, and ‘Aayi Milan ki Bela’.
Saira Banu marriage and love life
Saira Banu got married in the year 1966 to a legendary actor, Dilip Kumar. He was very popular at the time especially for his intense roles in movies which made him popularly called as ‘Tragedy King’. Surprisingly, when Saira Banu was married, she was 22 years younger to Dilip Kumar! As Saira Banu liked him since childhood days, she dreamt of getting married to Dilip Kumar after watching his first film. Unfortunately, the couple lost their baby when Saira Banu was only eight months pregnant.
Soon after her marriage, Padosan was released in 1968 where she worked with Sunil Dutt. The movie was a super hit and she became the leading actress at that time. Although she made many films with her husband, the only hit the couple gave was Gopi. Saira Banu made a good pair with Dharmendra and together they gave many hits like Pocket Maar, Resham Ki Dori, Jwar Bhata and Aadmi Aur Insaan. In 1976, she decided to take a break from the film industry and choose to leave films. After her break up from film industry, Saira Banu played a cameo role in Film Duniya which she played opposite to her husband, Dilip Kumar.
Interesting facts about Saira Banu
- Saira Banu’s grandmother was a courtesan and popularly known as Shamshad Begum.
- Saira Banu faced a very difficult time during the time when Dilip Kumar felt for Aasma. However, she did not give up until her love was back to her.
- In some of her interviews, Saira Banu revealed that she had a great crush on Dilip Kumar since childhood days. When she was 12 years old, Saira Banu saw Dilip Kumar’s Aan and instantly fell in love with the actor.
- After her debut film Junglee with Shammi Kapoor, Saira Banu formed hit pair with various popular heroes such as Joy Mukherjee, Rajendra Kumar and Biwajeet along with Dharmendra.
- Saira Banu played an important role in one of the classical hits in Bollywood industry, Purab and Pashchim. Starring opposite to Manoj Kumar the movie was themed around an Indian born girl and nurtured in London who remained unaware of her base roots i.e. India. She played the role so beautifully that even today people say that no other actress with a blonde wig could do justice to the girl’s role.
- When Purab Pashchim was shot, Saira Banu fell ill and had to undergo medical treatments for a few months. Manoj Kumar showed patience and waited till she recovered and was back to work. Since the script was written keeping Saira Banu in mind, if she would have not played the remaining role, the entire project could have faced complete halt.
- When she returned back to India after completing her education in London, Saira Banu got engaged in learning about how to speak Urdu as Dilip Kumar spoke very good Urdu. Her mother would usually take her to the Mehboob Studios parties. Many producers met her and showed interest in casting her for the role of heroine. Initially, she was chosen for Hum Hindustani as the second heroine but her destiny planned Junglee to be her first debut which became a great hit.
- Since childhood, Saira Banu had only two dreams: one that she could become a successful actress and secondly, she could marry Dilip Kumar, the man of her dreams. With her capabilities and firm dedication, Saira Banu accomplished both her dreams and ultimately got married to Dilip Kumar in the year 1966. She got a chance to play opposite her husband in the year 1970 in Gopi.
- Saira Banu played many unique roles in her career including some bold scenes in the Golden Era of the film industry. In movies like Jhuk Gaya Aasman and Padosan, she picturised a song in the bathtub which proved to be a bold scene at that time. Surprisingly, people loved her innocence in the roles and acclaimed that no other heroine could look so stunning in such long sequences.
- Saira Banu played a complete song draped in a single towel with Ranjeet Singh in Vitoria No. 203. Nevertheless, in both the songs, not a single sign of vulgarity was shown. The credits to it can be given to the film directors also for making her look innocent and her role as a dignified number.
- In one of the movies, Saira Banu dresses like a boy just like she used to do in her childhood days and looks very smart in the get-up.
- When Saira Banu decided to end her career as a heroine, she made her last movie with Shammi Kapoor with whom she made her first movie. In the movie Zameer, he acted as Saira Banu’s father and she was casted opposite Amitabh Bachchan.