A legend retold

Wednesday, 27 August 2008 - 11:59pm IST

Last week Saira Banu celebrated her birthday with ‘khamoshi’. Reason? “Sahab (referring to husband and thespian Dilip Kumar) had viral fever.”

From silver flashbulbs to a golden twilight...Saira Banu wants husband DILIP KUMAR’S planned memoirs to mirror it all

Last week Saira Banu celebrated her birthday with ‘khamoshi’. Reason? “Sahab (referring to husband and thespian Dilip Kumar) had viral fever.”

Autumnal musings
She muses, “When I retrospect, I feel enriched with the life that I’ve led with my family (referring to her late grandmother Shamshad Begum Waheed Khan and mother Naseem Banu) and husband. But even as I do, I’m erasing out the hurts and the tribulations (referring to Dilip’s second marriage to Asma) from my memories. I don’t wish to load myself with them,” adding, “The regrets of yesterday and the fears of tomorrow shouldn’t spoil my today.”

Winning in losing
The premier forbearer of the ‘beauty queen’ title, Saira surrendered around 35 projects after she got married to superstar Dilip Kumar. “Ted Danielsky (director of the English version of Guide) came to me with the film’s Hindi version. But I was supposed to start Mehboob Khan’s Habba Khatoon (based on the love story of the Sufi poetess). Today I realise that I was too young to play Kishore Sahu’s wife in Guide and emote with the maturity Waheedaji (Rehman) did. Also, the script of Jewel Thief was rewritten twice for me. But I could never have danced the way Vyjyanthimala did,” she confesses.

Souvenirs of time
 “Public memory is short-lived. Even emperors are not remembered. I don’t want to be remembered either,” discloses Saira adding, “My good memories are my lifeline—they help me surge ahead. Friends often suggest that I should move into a big flat rather than continue living in this huge bungalow (referring to their bungalow at Pali Hill). But the onus of looking after this place has been a part of my life. There are beautiful recollections associated with it.”

Limelight vs twilight
Saira recalls those days when the superstar couple would be pursued by hysterical fans, “Once in Kolkata, I remember fans lifted the car in which we were seated!” Away from the limelight today, Saira finds taking ‘the daily walk or the drive at sunset or attending a special event’ with Dilip more momentous.

Memoirs of Dilip
While Saira’s TV show Stree Teri Kahani on DD is ruling for two years now, another thing which she’s keen about is Dilip’s autobiography!  “Bhagwan ek jagah baithen, to hum unki pooja karein!” she sighs, lamenting the lack of leisure needed for the project.“I want to concentrate on aspects of his childhood and personal incidents,” she says.

And what would be the defining moment of her life? “When Dilip Kumar holds my hand and confesses that I am precious to him.”

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