At a time when we often hear about marriages biting the dust in Bollywood, Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar's love story rightly adheres to the notion of 'till death do us apart'. The age-defying couple's love story looks straight out of a Hindi film. They have always stayed by each other's side through thick and thin and truly define eternal love.
As they celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary today, we take a walk down the memory lane and revisit one of the most iconic real-life love stories, which gives us some major relationship goals.
It was love at first sight for Saira Banu at the age of 12 when her eyes fell on a 34-year-old Dilip Kumar. It was Dilip Kumar's film Aan which had worked its magic. Later, in one of her interviews, the veteran actress revealed, "I was not just another girl smitten by Dilip Kumar. For me, it was no castle in the air because I had given my dream the strong foundation of faith - faith in myself and faith in God."
An 'Age No Bar' Love
When the first premiere of Dilip Kumar's Mughal-e-Azam took place at Mumbai's famous Maratha Mandir movie hall in 1960, Saira Banu, then only 16, had gone for the show, hoping that she would get a glimpse of her crush in person. But she was heartbroken, as the actor didn't attend the premiere. Such was her craze for him that she even found a teacher to learn Urdu and Persian to impress him and had also got to know about his likes and dislikes.
Saira's First Encounter With Dilip Kumar
Recalling her first encounter with Dilip Kumar in person, Saira Banu said in an interview, "When he smiled at me and remarked that I was a pretty girl, I could feel my whole being taking wing and flying rapturously. I knew somewhere deep within me that I was going to be his wife."
That Moment When Dilip Kumar Fell In Love With Saira
Speaking about it in his autobiography, Dilip Kumar mentioned when he fell in love with Saira. It was during a party thrown to celebrate her birthday. The actor revealed, "When I alighted from my car and entered the beautiful garden that leads to the house, I can still recall my eyes falling on Saira standing in the foyer of her new house looking breathtakingly beautiful in a brocade sari. I was taken aback, because she was no longer the young girl I consciously avoided working with because I thought she would look too young to be my heroine.She had indeed grown to full womanhood and was in reality more beautiful than I thought she was. I simply stepped forward and shook her hand and for us time stood still."
He Proposed Marriage To Her When They Were Shooting For Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan
Dilip Saab said, "Saira, you are not the kind of girl I want to drive around with, or be seen around with... I would like to marry you... Will you be my wife?" Promptly came the response from Saira, "And how many girls have you said this to?" She, however, said yes.
Their Marriage Has Seen Its Share Of Ups & Downs
Dilip Kumar-Saira Banu's marriage hit a road block when in 1980, he had an extra marital affair with a Pakistani woman Asma Rehman. Two years later, Dilip broke up with Asma and came back to Saira. Regreting it he went on to say, "Well, the one episode in my life that I would like to forget and which we, Saira, and I, have pushed into eternal oblivion is a grave mistake I made under pressure of getting involved with a lady named Asma Rehman whom I had met at a cricket match in Hyderabad."
A Timeless Love Story
Since then, she never left Dilip Kumar's side. She calls him her 'Kohinoor' and said in one of her interviews, "I am still head over heels in love with my Kohinoor, Yousuf Sahab, the way I was when I first felt attracted to him as a 12 year-old. Ours has been as good and enduring a marriage as so many marriages that have survived the ups and downs for four decades. No marriage is perfect. How can it be, when as human beings we are not perfect? It is mutual love, respect and adoration that keep a marriage ticking."