Saira Banu

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Saira Banu
Actress Saira Banu.jpg
Saira Banu in 2018
Born (1944-08-23) 23 August 1944 (age 75)
Other namesSaira Bano
OccupationActress (film
Years active1961–1988
Notable work
Junglee (1961)
Bluff Master (1963)
Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964)
Padosan (1968)
Victoria No. 203 (1972)
Hera Pheri (1976)
Spouse(s)Dilip Kumar (m. 1966)
RelativesNasir Khan (brother-in-law)
Shaheen Banu(niece)
Sayyeshaa (grandniece)

Saira Banu (born 23 August 1944), also known as Saira Bano, is an Indian film actress. She is married to film actor Dilip Kumar. She acted in many hit Bollywood films between 1961 and 1988.

Early life[edit]

Saira Banu was born in Mussoorie, India to actress Naseem Banu,[1] and film producer Mian Ehsan-ul-Haq,[citation needed] who produced the film Phool in Mumbai and the film Wadah in Pakistan. Her maternal grandmother was the courtesan Chamiyan Bai, also known as Shamshad Begum of Delhi (not to be confused with the famous playback singer of yesteryear Shamshad Begum who was from Amritsar, Punjab). Her niece is former actress Shaheen Banu, who is the daughter of her brother Sultan.

Saira spent a significant part of her childhood in London, and went to finishing school. Her maternal grandmother was from Hasanpur (Uttar Pradesh). Her paternal grandfather, Muhammad Suleman, was an architect who served as the Chief Engineer of New Delhi and was later involved in the construction of Jinnah's Mazar in Karachi. Her paternal grandmother, Khatoon Begum, was from Old Delhi's Mohalla Churiwalan, and a daughter of the "raees" and public figure, Khan Bahadur Maulvi Abdul Ahad Honorary Magistrate(1850-1920). Her paternal great aunt Khadeeja Begum, was married to the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid in Delhi, Ahmed Bukhari.


Saira Banu was 16 years old in 1960, the year she made her debut to Hindi films.[2] She said in a programme that she had basic talent and little dancing experience. Her peers all were classically trained, which was why she wasn't put in the top league. Saira started taking Kathak and Bharata Natyam lessons with success, and trained herself professionally. Soon she became a dancer, and her films flaunted more of her dance. Banu made her acting debut opposite Shammi Kapoor in the 1961 film Junglee, for which she earned her first Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. The famous song from this movie "Yaahoo!! Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe" sung by Mohammed Rafi was a big success. Junglee was written by Aghajani Kashmeri (aka Kashmiri and Agha Jani), who also coached her in Urdu dialogue delivery, given his background in Urdu literature and poetry from Lucknow. Junglee also instantly made her a successful actress throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Her image was that of a romantic heroine for love stories in the 1960s, till 1967. She did one more film opposite Shammi Kapoor, named Bluff Master, directed by Manmohan Desai. Some of her successful romantic films include Jhuk Gaya Aasman and Aayi Milan Ki Bela, with Rajendra Kumar, and April Fool, with Biswajeet, and five films with actor Joy Mukherjee - Aao Pyaar Karen, Saaz Aur Awaaz, Door Ki Awaz, Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai and Shagird. She did a double role in the film Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai. After her marriage in 1966, her first film to release was Aman, opposite Rajendra Kumar, and she continued to act as the lead heroine till 1977. But it is said that the turning point of her career was the comedy and love story Padosan, in 1968, opposite Sunil Dutt, which brought her to the top league of the successful actresses, and she started receiving more offers.

Her films with Navin Nischol were very successful, such as Victoria No. 203 and Paise Ki Gudiya. In an interview, she quoted that she regretted missing the chance of working with Rajesh Khanna. She quoted: "I was supposed to work with him in Choti Bahu (1971), but I could not because I was ill. I shot with him for two days and found that he was very charming, humble and a shy person."[3] She did earn three additional Filmfare nominations as Best Actress for Shagird (1967), Diwana (1968), and Sagina (1974).

Her valiant attempts to establish a reputation as an actress after Sagina and Bairaag (all 3 with Dilip Kumar) and films such as Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Chaitali met with limited success, although each of them were critically acclaimed. Her only film to be successful at the box office opposite her husband was Gopi. She also had stable pairing with Dharmendra which included Jwar Bhata, Aadmi Aur Insaan, Resham Ki Dori, Pocket Maar, International Crook and Chaitali.

She also did Pyar Mohabbat with Dev Anand and did three films with Manoj Kumar, namely Shaadi, Poorab Aur Paschim and Balidan. She established herself as a versatile actress after her marriage, with her performances in Padosan, Victoria 203, Jhuk Gaya Aasman, Sagina and Chaitali - with each of them belonging to different genres. She was paired with Vinod Khanna in Aarop, wherein the song Naino mein darpan hai became a chartbuster in 1974. Her pairing with Sunil Dutt continued to be solid at the box office with films such as Nehle Pe Dehla being successful in 1976. The song "Sawan ka mahina aagaya" became very popular in 1976. However, with films such as Daaman Aur Aag, Mounto, Zameer and Koi Jeeta Koi Haara becoming disasters, and with some of her films being kept on hold for release, such as Faisla, Mera Vachan Geeta Ki Kasam and Aarambh, she decided to not sign for any more films. Hence in 1976, Saira chose to end her film career. Subsequently she weathered a storm in her marriage in 1980, when her husband married a girl named Asma, which was quickly resolved. She then appeared in a cameo opposite her husband in Duniya (1984), wherein the song "Teri meri zindagi" became very popular. Her last film; Faisla where she was cast opposite Vinod Mehra which was completed in 1976, released in 1988.

Personal life[edit]

Saira Banu married actor Dilip Kumar in 1966.[4][5] Saira Banu was the third highest paid actress in Hindi Cinema from 1963 to 1969 and the fourth highest paid actress from 1971 to 1976.

Actress Shaheen is her niece. She is Saira Banu's brother's (Sultan Ahmed's) daughter.

Her husband Dilip Kumar revealed in his 2014 memoir "Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow" that she became pregnant in 1972 with their son, but that she developed high blood pressure in her eighth month of pregnancy and the doctors couldn't save the baby, which had been strangulated by the umbilical cord. After that, they never had children, believing that it was God's will.


Year Film Character Additional Notes
1961 Junglee Rajkumari Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actress
1962 Shaadi Gauri
1963 Bluff Master Seema
1964 Ayee Milan Ki Bela Barkha
Aao Pyaar Karein Shalini
April Fool Rita Christiana
Door Ki Awaz Bela / Jyoti
1965 Saaz Aur Awaaz
1966 Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai Princess Sarita
Pyar Mohabbat Rita Singh
1967 Shagird Poonam
Diwana Kaamini Gupta
1968 Padosan Bindu
Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan Priya Khanna
1969 Aadmi Aur Insaan Meena
1970 Gopi Seema
Purab Aur Paschim Preeti
1972 Victoria No. 203 Rekha
1973 Jwar Bhata Gayatri
1974 Resham Ki Dori Anupama
International Crook Seema
Paise Ki Gudiya
1975 Zameer
Aakhri Daao


  1. ^ Superstars of Hindi Cinema - Naseem Banu
  2. ^ Rana Siddiqui Zaman (12 August 2010). "Arts / Cinema : My First Break: Saira Banu". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Devinder Bir Kaur (7 July 2002). "Dilip Kumar saw a psychoanalyst after acting as Devdas". The Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  5. ^ "Dilip Kumar turns 84". IBN Live. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2011.

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