Thursday marks actor Dilip Kumar’s first day of death. The legendary actor died on July 7, 2021 after a prolonged illness. Dilip’s wife Saira Banu wrote a long note for Dilip, reminiscing about their 56 years together and how she fell in love with him when she was 12 years old. Also read: Saira Banu, who remembers Dilip Kumar on his 99th birthday, says it’s ‘unbelievable to walk without him’
Saira Banu had shared screen space with Dilip in quite a few movies like Sagina, Bairaag and Gopi before their 1966 marriage. The actor said the memories of more than five decades she spent with Dilip keep her going.
An excerpt from the note Saira wrote to ETimes before Dilip’s first day of death reads: “I turn my face and bury my face in the pillow and try to fall asleep again… as if I closed my eyes and saw him sleeping next to me.” , his rosy cheeks glow in the morning rays of the sun streaming into the room. That said, I must admit I consider myself very fortunate to have had my Yousuf with me for 56 years and more. The whole world now knows that I am on fell in love with him at age 12 and i grew up with the dream in my head that he is just the perfect man for me when the dream came true i knew i was not his only admirer and i was ahead of the long line of women who hoped to become Mrs. Dilip Kumar. There were countless fans and actors and technicians and film students who looked up to him as their guru.”
In her note, she also said that every time she sees his photo or someone mentions him, she can’t hold back her tears. Saira wrote: “There is not a moment in my life that goes by that every day is not in front of my eyes. If someone has turned on the television and one of his movies is playing on the screen, if one of the audio devices is on and a song is played on him – my staff watch and listen eagerly but i avoid joining in as i cant hold it my emotions back i cant see any image of my saheb without collapsing be it a popular song from one of his movies or an interview… or a forward on WhatsApp, full of stories and anecdotes and personal memories about his work and his humble nature and his genuine simplicity in the way he dealt with people.”
When Dilip died last year, numerous Bollywood stars including Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan went to Dilip’s house and burial site to pay their last respects. Less than two months after his death, Saira was admitted to the Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai after suffering from shortness of breath, high blood pressure and high sugar levels.
Born Yousuf Khan and often known as the Nehruvian hero, Dilip made his first film Jwar Bhata in 1944 and his last Qila in 1998, 54 years later. The five-decade career spanned Mughal-e-Azam, Devdas, Naya Daur and Ram Aur Shyam, and later, when he graduated to character roles, Shakti and Karma.