Saira Banu remembers Dilip Kumar on 99th birth anniversary

Banu called his absence a 'terrible vaccuum' in her life.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP


Published: Sat 11 Dec 2021, 2:19 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Dec 2021, 4:35 PM

or veteran actor Saira Banu, the 99th birthday of legendary star and her late husband Dilip Kumar was a day of quietly remembering the “lively and vibrant” man she was married to for 55 years. Kumar, who would have turned 99 on Saturday, passed away on July 7 due to prolonged illness.

Banu said though it is a “terrible vacuum” to not have him around physically, she still believes that he is walking side by side with her. “I will do the prayers, remember him and I want the day to be very quiet. I want to visit the Juhu garden (Juhu Qabrastan) where he is (buried),” Banu said.

Remembering the past birthdays of Kumar, one of Hindi cinema’s biggest icons, Banu said, “The house would be full of flowers, there were times when bouquets would be on all the floors, steps and everywhere in the house and we would not have enough room. It used to be that wonderful. He was so loved by people. He still is.”

Banu described Kumar as a very lively person and a foodie who had a penchant for simple clothes and sports.

The 77-year-old said Kumar loved his simple white cotton clothes with white footwear for everyday wear, though he had many beautiful suits and shirts. “He was very much into good clothing. He was a marvelous cook too. Whenever he wanted to, he would try (to make) new things,” she said.

Banu shared that for several months she had been sending out meals to the poor on Kumar’s behalf.

Banu said life has become unimaginable without her ‘saheb’, as she used to fondly address him. “I am not too good. I am striving to make myself fitter. You can imagine it is a very difficult job. It is a terrible jolt. I really wonder how long it will take to recover or if I do recover,” she said.

Banu had starred with Kumar in quite a few films before their marriage in 1966.

“(I believe) he is walking side-by-side with me with his hands in mine. He is very much there, that’s the way I think and that is the way I want to live and be alive. It is unimaginable for me to walk without him, you know, we have shared a life together. It’s been 55-56 years of togetherness,” she added.

“Every marriage has ups and downs but we had a wonderful happy time together. He has been so supportive in my life. It has been my good fortune to have shared my life with him. I will always treasure him. He will always be alive for me,” Banu said.

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