It is one of the most enduring marriages in Bollywood but Dilip Kumar reveals that though aware of her `crush` on him, he annoyed SairaBanu by refusing to work with her in films as he thought she was too young to pair with him on screen.
The actress, who fell in love with Kumar after watching his 1952 film `Aan`, finally married the man of her dreams in 1966 when he was in his early 40s while she was 22.
In his autobiography `Dilip Kumar: The Substance And The Shadow`, narrated by UdayataraNayar, the screen icon, born in Peshawar (Pakistan) on 11 December 1922 and whose real name is MuhammedYousuf Khan, reveals details about his courtship with Saira.
“`Ram AurShyam` was very special for me in a personal way because I married Saira when the production of the film was nearing completion… Until then I was reluctant to even work with her for some reasons,” Kumar, 91, says in the book.
Saira, on her part, had already found a teacher to learn Urdu and Persian to impress Kumar. She had also got to know about his likes and dislikes. The actor was “pleasantly amused and delighted” but never gave any importance to “this crush directed at me”.
As a family well-wisher, he also advised Saira`s mother to not let her work in films. She made her debut with 1961 hit `Junglee` opposite ShammiKapoor.
Saira had already worked with Kumar`s contemporaries Raj Kapoor and DevAnand but working with the actor was still a distant dream.