Saira Banu in 2018
|Born||23 August 1944|
Mussoorie, United Provinces, British India
(present-day Uttarakhand, India)
|Notable work||Junglee (1961)
Bluff Master (1963)
Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964)
Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968)
Victoria No. 203 (1972)Hera Pheri (1976)
|Spouse(s)||Dilip Kumar (m. 1966)|
|Relatives||Nasir Khan (brother-in-law)|
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.
Saira Banu was born in Mussoorie, India to actress Naseem Banu, and film producer Mian Ehsan-ul-Haq, 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. 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. Banu started taking Kathak and Bharata Natyam lessons with success, and trained herself professionally. Soon she became a dancer, and her films featured more of her dancing.
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 was the beginning of her career as 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, Aao Pyaar Karen and Shagird with Joy Mukherjee. After her marriage, her first film to release was Aman (1967), opposite Rajendra Kumar, and she continued to act as the lead heroine till 1977. She appeared in 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." She earned three additional Filmfare nominations as Best Actress for Shagird (1967), Diwana (1968), and Sagina (1974).
Her work after Sagina and Bairaag (both 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.
Banu did Pyar Mohabbat with Dev Anand and three films with Manoj Kumar, 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 unsuccessful films such as Daaman Aur Aag, Mounto, Zameer and Koi Jeeta Koi Haara, 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, Banu chose to end her film career. She appeared in a cameo opposite her husband in Duniya (1984), wherein the song "Teri meri zindagi" became very popular. Her last film; Faisla, in which she was cast opposite Vinod Mehra, was completed in 1976 and released in 1988.
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.
|1961||Junglee||Rajkumari||Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|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||Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|Diwana||Kaamini Gupta||Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan||Priya Khanna|
|1969||Aadmi Aur Insaan||Meena|
|Purab Aur Paschim||Preeti|
|1972||Victoria No. 203||Rekha|
|1974||Resham Ki Dori||Anupama|
|Sagina||Lalita||Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|Paise Ki Gudiya|
|1976||Hera Pheri||Kiran Singh|
- Superstars of Hindi Cinema - Naseem Banu
- Rana Siddiqui Zaman (2010-08-12). "Arts / Cinema : My First Break: Saira Banu". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
- Devinder Bir Kaur (7 July 2002). "Dilip Kumar saw a psychoanalyst after acting as Devdas". The Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
- "Dilip Kumar turns 84". IBN Live. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
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