Vyjayanthimala remembers Dilip Kumar, reveals Saira Banu called them the 'best team'
Veteran actor Vyjayanthimala recalled working with late Dilip Kumar, and how he helped her out during the making of their 1961 film, Gunga Jumna. She also said that Dilip's wife, Saira Banu, said that Vyjayanthimala and Dilip 'make the best team'. The two actors shared screen space in eight Hindi films including Devdas, Naya Daur and Madhumati.
Dilip Kumar died on Wednesday at the age of 98, after a prolonged illness. On Wednesday evening, he was laid to rest with full state honours at the Juhu Qabrastan in Santacruz, Mumbai, in the presence of family. He is survived by Saira Banu.
Speaking to Pinkvilla, Vyjayanthimala said, "(We have worked) very closely, and in quite a number of films - eight films, that is quite a lot to work with one hero, and for him also one heroine he worked maximum with. We combined well, our films became good hits, and we became a good team. That’s what Saira always says… she calls me Akka which means sister in Tamil. She says ‘Akka you and Dilip Saab make the best team’. We made some quite successful hit films.”
She remembered, “In Gunga Jumna, where I had to speak Bhojpuri - first of all a South Indian speaking good Hindi without the accent was something, and on top of that to speak Bhojpuri, but he was a great help. He helped me a lot to speak and even recorded dialogues for me. It was a wonderful character to play and I was greatly helped by Dilip Saab. I got an award also for that. He was very polite, gentlemanly, and very well behaved. He had no airs, and never threw his weight around.”
After Dilip Kumar's death, Vyjayanthimala had told news agency ANI, "It's absolutely devastating and I have no words to say. Having worked with Dilip Saab in several successful films, he and Saira were almost like a family. Even after leaving films, every time I would go to Mumbai, Saira would always send me a car to come to their house and spend some time."
Talking about when Dilip's health had started deteriorating, she recalled an instance when he was unable to recognise her at first, but when he was reminded of her character from Gunga Jumna, he 'immediately flickered his eyes and opened them, when he heard that name'. She added, "After that, I have been in close touch with Saira and asking about his health. Allah has now called him, may his soul rest in peace."
Dilip Kumar starred in films such as Mughal-e-Azam and Ram Aur Shyam, in a career spanning a little over five decades.