Veteran actors Dilip Kumar (aka Yusuf Khan) and Saira Banu are an ideal couple. As a close family friend, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar says, “Every breath that Sairaji takes is for Yusuf Saab. I haven’t seen a more devoted wife in my entire life.”
The golden couple recently celebrated 50 years of wedded bliss, and Banu smiles, “Waqt kaise guzra pataa hi nahi chala (Time just flew by).”
Sighs the still-besotted wife, “Looking after Saab, his life and home now comes naturally to me. Saab never asked me to give up my career. In fact, he encouraged me to continue acting after marriage. But, after a while, my heart was not in my career. I just wanted to take care of Saab.”
No regrets about no children? “Our marriage is the most important thing in my life. I don’t miss having a child because Saab is like a child at heart,” she says.
In their 50-year-old marriage, Kumar strayed once... in the early 1980s. Before marriage, there were link-ups with actors Waheeda Rehman, Madhubala and Vyjanthimala. But then, 22-year-old beauty Saira Banu was the one to wed Kumar. Their rosy marriage hit shaky ground once when Kumar was apparently “trapped” into marrying a fan named Asma. Banu bore the humiliation stoically. She knew her Saab would come to his senses. He did.
“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. I’m 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,” says Banu.