Since childhood, Saira Banu had only two dreams, the first dream was to be called a beauty queen or a superstar like her mother and the second was to marry legendary actor Dilip Kumar.
Saira Banu, the most famous actress of the 60s, turned 79 on August 23. Saira’s mother Naseem Banu was also a famous actress of the 40s and she is called the first female superstar of Hindi cinema. When Saira was 3 years old, her father left for Pakistan during the partition. Since childhood, Saira Banu had only two dreams. The first dream was to be called a beauty queen or a superstar like her mother and the second was to marry legendary actor Dilip Kumar. Luckily, both her dreams came true. It is to be noted that Saira’s mother Naseem Banu sacrificed her career to help Saira became an actress. She was one of the most popular actresses of her time.
Saira Banu was born on August 23, 1944 in Mussoorie to actress Naseem Banu and producer Mian-ul-Haq. Although Mian-ul-Haq was an architect, but after marrying Naseem, he started his own production company and started making films. Saira was just 3 years old when her father chose Pakistan after partition of India-Pakistan in 1947. Naseem Banu refused to accompany Mian to Pakistan and went to live in England with her children.
After few months, Naseem Banu returned to India with her children and started working in films. Saira Banu always dreamt of becoming an actress but her mother was against it. She wanted Saira to become a lawyer or a doctor. Since Saira Banu was good in studies, her mother sent her to London for studies. Saira used to come to India only during holidays. Once 12-year-old Saira Banu was watching Mehboob Khan’s directorial film Aan at home with her mother. Dilip Kumar was the hero of the film. Saira liked Dilip Kumar’s strong role in the film so much that she immediately insisted in front of her mother that she would marry Dilip Kumar only. Naseem Banu laughed after hearing the demand of her daughter but no one had thought that she will one day marry Dilip Kumar.
Whenever Saira used to come home on holidays, producers would used to come to her house with film offers, but Naseem Banu always rejected their request. At age 16, when Saira came to India during her holiday at the age of 16, she got an offer for the film Junglee opposite Shammi Kapoor. Even then Naseem Banu did not want Saira to appear in films, but when Saira insisted, she gave her nod.
She shot half of the film during her first vacation and then returned to London and completed the rest of the film during her second vacation. Saira’s mother Naseem Banu knew that if she will continue to appear in films, people would keep comparing her with Saira, so she herself stopped working in Hindi films from 1957.
Saira Banu married legendary actor Dilip Kumar on October 11 in 1966 despite apprehensions regarding the 22-year age gap between the two superstars. “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 told Hindustan Times.