Saira Banu is a famous Indian Hindi film actress. Born in Mussorie, India, she began her career in Hindi films when she was only sixteen. She made her debut with the film ‘Junglee’, playing the lead actress. Her performance was appreciated and won her a Filmfare nomination for Best Actress. She then starred in the film ‘Shaadi’ where she was cast opposite the well-known actor Dharmendra. Over the next few years, she became known for her roles in movies, such as ‘April Fool’, ‘Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai’ and ‘Padosan’. During this time, she was also the third highest paid actress in Hindi cinema. Her last films were ‘Duniya’, in which she appeared along with her husband, and ‘Faisla’, a hit film, in which she shared the screen with renowned actor Vinod Khanna. She is the wife of the famous Indian film actor Dilip Kumar, who is regarded as one of the finest actors of Indian cinema.
Childhood & Early Life
Saira Banu was born on 23 August 1944 in Mussorie, British India. Her parents were film producer Mian Ehsan-ul-Haq and film actress Naseem Banu. She spent a significant part of her early life in London, UK.
Continue Reading Below
You May Like
Despite having very little experience and training, Saira Banu made her film debut at the early age of sixteen in the 1961 film ‘Junglee’. Produced and directed by Subodh Mukherjee, the film starred her opposite Shammi Kapoor, who was one of the most prominent actors of Hindi cinema at that time. Her performance in the film won her a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
The following year, she appeared in the Hindi film ‘Shaadi’, where she starred along with popular Indian actor Dharmendra. In 1963, she played the lead actress in ‘Bluffmaster’, where she was cast alongside Shammi Kapoor for the second time.
Some other movies she appeared in the following years include ‘Door Ki Awaz’ (1964), ‘April Fool’ (1964) and ‘Pyar Mohabbat’ (1966). In 1967, she was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the second time for her performance in the Hindi film ‘Diwana’, where she was cast alongside well-known Indian actor Raj Kapoor.
In 1968, she played the lead actress in the comedy film ‘Padoson’, where she was cast opposite actor Sunil Dutt. The film was a huge hit, and is still considered one of the best comedy movies in the history of Hindi cinema.
She also gained popularity for the 1970 film ‘Purab Aur Paschim’, where she starred along with veteran actors Ashok Kumar and Manoj Kumar. The film became known for its patriotic theme.
Over the years Saira Banu earned much fame for her roles in films like ‘International Crook’ (1973), ‘Resham Ki Dori’, (1973), ‘Pocket Maar’ (1974) and ‘Zameer’ (1974).
In 1976, she played the lead actress in the crime film ‘Hera Pheri’. The movie was a super hit and won one of the actors—Vinod Khanna—a Filmfare nomination. The same year, she also played the lead actress in ‘Bairaag’ which also starred her husband in the lead role.
After taking a break for a few years, she appeared alongside her husband in the film ‘Duniya’ in 1984. Even though she was one of the most popular actresses of her time, many of her films were commercial disasters which made her decide to retire from her acting career. In 1988, she appeared in the hit film ‘Faisla’, opposite Vinod Khanna. It was the last film of her acting career.
'Junglee’, the first film in Saira Banu’s career is also one of her most important works. The film was directed and produced by Subodh Mukherjee. It starred her alongside the popular actor Shammi Kapoor. She played the daughter of a local doctor who falls in love with a young man named Shekhar who belongs to an aristocratic family. Banu’s role won her a Filmfare nomination for Best Actress.
'Padosan,’ another one of Banu’s major works, was released in November 1968. Directed by Jyoti Swaroop, the film also starred several other popular actors including Sunil Dutt, Mehmood Ali and Kishore Kumar. The film was about an innocent young man Bhola, played by Dutt, who falls in love with his pretty and short-tempered neighbor Bindu. The story revolved around Bhola’s attempts to win her attention. The film was a huge success and is regarded as one of the best films in Hindi cinema.
The 1976 crime film ‘Hera Pheri’ is another one of Banu’s important works. Directed by Prakash Mehra, the film also starred superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna. The film was about two con-artists, Ajay and Vijay, who are also best friends. Their friendship becomes turmoil after it is discovered that Vijay’s father might have been murdered by Ajay’s long-lost father. The film was a super hit and is one of the most popular films in Hindi cinema.
Awards & Achievements
Saira Banu was nominated for the ‘Filmfare Award for Best Actress’ for her role in the film ‘Junglee’. She earned a nomination again for her performance in the film ‘Diwana’.
Personal Life & Legacy
Saira Banu married actor Dilip Kumar in 1966. Though she became pregnant with a son in 1972, she lost him due to her high blood pressure. The couple didn’t have any children after this incident.