Dilip Kumar passed away after a prolonged illness on July 7, 2021. Thursday will mark the legendary actor's first death anniversary. Ever since the thespian's demise, his wife Saira Banu has not kept well at all. Dilip and Saira have spent 56 years of their life together. On the event of the actor's first death anniversary, Banu breaks down in a letter in which she revisits the memories of the time when she fell in love with him at the age of 12. For those unversed, the two of them have also shared screen space in a number of films including-- Sagina, Bairaag, and Gopi. In the letter, the veteran actress also writes about what has kept her going after Dilip Ji's demise.
Saira Banu wrote the letter to ETimes ahead of Dilip's first death anniversary. It read, "I turn my face away and bury my face in the pillow and try to go back to sleep... as if by doing so I will open my eyes again and see him sleeping by my side, his pink cheeks glowing in the morning rays of the sun streaming into the room. Having said that, I must admit that I consider myself very fortunate that I had my Yousuf with me for 56 years and more. The whole world now knows I fell in love with him at the age of 12 and I grew up with the dream tucked away in my mind that he alone is the perfect man for me. When the dream came true, I knew I was not his only admirer and that I had jumped the long queue of women who were hoping to be Mrs Dilip Kumar. There were countless fans and actors and technicians and students of cinema who looked up to him as their guru."
She wrote about how she could not hold her tears back even now when someone mentions Dilip Kumar's name or shows her his picture. An excerpt from the note read, "Not a moment passes in my life every day when he is not before my eyes. If someone has switched on the television and one of his films is playing on the screen, if any of the audio devices is on and a song picturised on him is playing- my staff watches and listens avidly but I avoid joining them because I cannot hold back my emotions.
I am unable to see any image of my Saheb without breaking down. Be it a popular song from one of his films or an interview.... or a forward on WhatsApp, replete with stories and anecdotes and personal recollections about his work and his unassuming nature and his genuine simplicity in the way he interacted with people."
She also said, "I may sound crazy when I say that he is very much alive for me and for millions of his admirers in the unparalleled body of work he has left behind as a precious legacy for us. For me, as the lucky one to have been his wife, mother, friend, fan - all rolled into one - he lives in the memories I have stored in my heart."
With Dilip Kumar's passing away, an era ended in Bollywood. In a career spanning nearly six decades, the star had delivered several unforgettable movies and moments that touched the hearts of many. He had worked in three films that were helmed by Ghai. Their first movie together was 'Vidhata' in 1982 followed by 'Karma' in 1986 and 'Saudagar' 1991.
After his death, in August, Saira was also hospitalised due to issues with her blood pressure levels in the same hospital where Dilip had been earlier. She recently accepted the honourable Bharat Ratna Dr Ambedkar Award for her late husband and veteran actor.
On the professional front, the 77-year-old Saira stepped into Bollywood with the 1961 film 'Junglee' opposite late actor Shammi Kapoor. She is celebrated for films like 'Padosan' (1968), 'Hera Pheri' (1976), 'Diwana' (1967) and 'Purab Aur Paschim' (1970).