Dilip Kumar turns 97 tomorrow

Updated: 10 December, 2019 11:26 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Like in the last few years, Dilip Kumar's birthday will be a quiet affair with family and close friends

Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu
Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu

Dilip Kumar celebrates his 97th birthday tomorrow. Like in the last few years, it will be a quiet affair with family and close friends. Over the weekend, wife Saira Banu made a rare public appearance at designer Kresha Bajaj's first anniversary celebrations of her store in Bandra. Kresha's dad Kishor Bajaj and Dilip Kumar go back a long way.

Born to a fruit-seller in Nashik, Yusuf helped his father in his business. He travelled from Nashik to Mumbai to sell the fruits, and then go for his shoots. His journey from Muhammed Yusuf Khan to Dilip Khan is etched in the hearts of his loved ones.

Dilip Kumar debuted as an actor in Jwar Bhata (1944) and has given 65 impactful films in a career spanning over six decades. He changed his name from Muhammad Yusuf Khan to Dilip Kumar for the world of glitz and glamour. He was also seen in films like Andaz, Babul, Deedar, Aan, Devdas, Azaad, Naya Daur, Yahudi, Madhumati, Kohinoor, Mughal-e-Azam, Gunga Jamuna and Ram Aur Shyam. As an actor, he last graced the silver screen in 1998's Qila with Rekha, where he played a double role of both –protagonist and antagonist.

Dilip Kumar's love for cinema was unconditional and his contribution towards his craft remains unparalleled. He once said, "You can buy groceries and technology with money but tehzeeb (etiquette) and culture, you cannot import or buy, and the other name for is cinema."

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  • 1/22

    There is almost a generational 20-year age gap between Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar, but Indian filmdom's highly regarded couple have enjoyed a blissful married life ever since tying the knot in 1966.

  • 2/22

    Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar got married on October 11, 1966. The actress was only 22 and Dilip Kumar was 44. This year, the couple will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary. (All photos/mid-day archives)

  • 3/22

    Despite many believing that the age difference between the couple would not make their marriage a success, Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu are still going strong and married for over 50 years.

  • 4/22

    In a rare look back into her past life, Saira Banu said in an informal chat with IANS: "I have no regrets of not doing too many films post my marriage. Whatsoever, the greatest thing was to be together with Dilip Saab. From the day Dilip Saab proposed to me, it has been great. He is the strongest person in my life."

  • 5/22

    Saira Banu happily gave up the arclights and grease paint to revel in her role as a wife and a homemaker.

  • 6/22

    "I worked for three-and-a-half to four years in showbiz and then I got married to Dilip saab. I decided not work after marriage as I thought it would not work out as Dilip saab was a constant traveller. I wanted to be at home and spend some good time with him," said the actress.

  • 7/22

    Her career was on the rise and Dilip Kumar wanted her to take it forward. "Dilip saab never said I should not work. In fact, when Dilip sahib saw the rushes of 'Shagird' before its release, he was so impressed by it that he said it's a pity that I stopped working. I did some selective films after my marriage but it's been a wonderful journey."

  • 8/22

    Dilip Kumar had revealed in his 2014 memoir 'Dilip Kumar: The Substance and the Shadow' that in 1972, Saira Banu developed high blood pressure in her eighth month of pregnancy. 

  • 9/22

    Unfortunately, the doctors couldn't save the baby, which had been strangulated by the umbilical cord. After that, the couple never had children, believing that it was God's will!

  • 10/22

    Dilip Kumar's real name is Yusuf Khan. After working for six decades, Dilip Kumar bid adieu to the arclights in 1998. His last movie was 'Qila'.

  • 11/22

    Dilip Kumar has been conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and Padma Vibhushan for his work in films like Mughal-e-Azam, Devdas among others.

  • 12/22

    Dilip Kumar, who turned 97 on December 11, 2019, has been going through various health challenges. But Saira Banu has been by his side constantly.

  • 13/22

    On Dilip Kumar's 95th birthday, his evergreen wife Saira Banu said her marriage to him has been a perfect dream. In picture: A rare black-and-white picture of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu from their younger days

  • 14/22

    Emotional about her husband and love of her life, Saira Banu told mid-day, "Seriously, there is no woman as blessed as I am... I thank my Allah every day for this. It has been my good fortune to be able to do anything for the man I love intensely. 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."

  • 15/22

    Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu have had many successful films as a pair in the '50s and '60s. "I am 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," Saira Banu further added in the mid-day interview.

  • 16/22

    Now Saira Banu is devoted to taking care of her ailing husband Dilip Kumar. "Looking after Saab, his life and his home come naturally to me. All Indian wives look after their husbands. In my family, I've seen women being devoted to their husbands. I grew up watching that," said Saira Ji.

  • 17/22

    When Dilip Kumar was being treated for mild pneumonia in 2017, Saira Banu tweeted, from Dilip Kumar's official Twitter handle, "Every year on Saab's birthday our house is open all day for friends and family to come and spend quality time with Dilip Saab. But this time it will be a bit restricted as doctors have advised Saab to be protected from any infection."

  • 18/22

    In 2018, the legendary actor was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital due to dehydration and urinary tract infection but later his health condition improved and he was taken back to his residence. This picture was clicked after Dilip Kumar returned home.

  • 19/22

    Saira Banu, from Dilip Kumar's Twitter account, always thanks Dilip Kumar's friends, fans and well-wishers for their prayers for his well-being.

  • 20/22

    Talking about Dilip Ji, Saira Banu had mentioned, in a social media post, "Sahab believes that to be surrounded by family and friends who love him unconditionally is a therapy by itself. He is blessed with the prayers and love of his millions of fans, admirers, friends and well-wishers. Dilip Sahab himself will be back on Twitter soon, Insha'Allah."

  • 21/22

    Saira Banu, who has acted in films such as Junglee, Purab Aur Paschim, Hera Pheri, said, "If you have read Dilip Saab's autobiography, you would be familiar with his quote... That the warmth of the clasp of the hand of strangers who approach him to tell him how much they liked his work is bigger than any award for him."

  • 22/22

    Keep on looking adorable as you age together. Here's wishing a very happy birthday to Saira Banu!

First Published: 10 December, 2019 09:37 IST

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