Legendary actor Dilip Kumar breathed his last today. The 98-year-old actor was admitted to Mumbai's PD Hinduja Hospital on 30 June after he experienced breathlessness. He was diagnosed with bilateral pleural effusion and had received treatment for the same.
Dilip is survived by his wife, actress Saira Banu. The two were married for over five decades. The couple had an age gap of almost a generation as Dilip Kumar was 22 years elder to Saira. Interestingly, Saira was born in the same year when Dilip Kumar made his Bollywood debut with the 1944 film Jwar Bhata.
There was a point in time when Dilip refused to be paired with Saira as he considered that she would look too young opposite him. However, it all changed when the veteran actor met Saira at her house. Speaking about this meeting, Dilip Kumar wrote in his memoir that she looked 'breathtakingly beautiful in a brocade sari.' "I simply stepped forward and shook her hand and for us time stood still," he had written.
Saira once said that she fell in love with Dilip Kumar when she was only 12 years old. Remembering this meeting with Dilip Kumar, Saira was also awestruck when he praised her beauty. The two eventually got married in 1966, years after Dilip Kumar's relationship with actor Madhubala ended.
Dilip and Saira were married for 16 years when the actor secretly married Asma Rehman, which the actor later said was 'a grave mistake.'
The news had hit headlines back when it happened. All this while, the Mughal-e-Azam actor was married to Saira Banu. Later, Dilip ended his second marriage with Asma.
The actress refers to Dilip Kumar as her 'kohinoor.' She had once said that no marriage is perfect but it is mutual respect, love and adoration that keeps a marriage ticking. For the last many years, Saira had been taking care of the veteran actor and updating his fans about the actor's health.