Saira Banu (born Saira Bano; 23 August 1944) is an Indian actress who mainly works in Hindi language films. She is one of the most popular actresses in Indian film history.
23 August 1944
(m. 1966; died 2021)
Banu was 16 years old in 1960 when she started work for her debut in Hindi films. She said in a programme that she had basic talent and little dancing experience. Her peers all were classically trained, which was why she was not put in the top league. Banu started taking Kathak and Bharata Natyam lessons with success, and trained herself professionally. Soon she became a dancer, and her films featured more of her dancing.
Banu made her acting debut opposite Shammi Kapoor in the 1961 film Junglee, for which she earned her first Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. The famous song from this movie "Yaahoo!! Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe" sung by Mohammed Rafi was a big success. Junglee was written by Aghajani Kashmeri (aka Kashmiri and Agha Jani), who also coached her in Urdu dialogue delivery, given his background in Urdu literature and poetry from Lucknow. Junglee was the beginning of her career as a successful actress. Her image was that of a romantic heroine and she acted in many love stories. She did one more film opposite her first hero Shammi Kapoor, Bluff Master, directed by Manmohan Desai. Some of her successful films during this time include Jhuk Gaya Aasman and Aayi Milan Ki Bela, with Rajendra Kumar, and April Fool, with Biswajeet, Aao Pyaar Karen and Shagird with Joy Mukherjee. Banu also did Pyar Mohabbat with Dev Anand.
Aman (1967), opposite Rajendra Kumar, was her first release after her marriage. She acted in three films with Manoj Kumar, Shaadi, Purab Aur Paschim and Balidan. Cult film Padosan, in 1968, opposite Sunil Dutt, catapulted her to the top league and she continued to play the heroine for several years after that. Victoria No. 203 with Navin Nischol is her biggest hit. She acted in three films with her husband: Gopi, Sagina and Bairaag. Only Gopi was successful at the box office. She acted in six with Dharmendra: Jwar Bhata, Aadmi Aur Insaan, Resham Ki Dori, Pocket Maar, International Crook and Chaitali out of which 5 were Superhit.
In an interview, she quoted that she regretted missing the chance of working with Rajesh Khanna. She quoted: "I was supposed to work with him in Choti Bahu (1971), but I could not because I was ill. I shot with him for two days and found that he was very charming, humble and a shy person." She was paired with Vinod Khanna in hit movie Aarop and Amitabh Bachchan in super hit films Zameer and Hera Pheri. Nehle Pe Dehla with Sunil Dutt in 1976 was her last successful film. With a slew of flops like Daaman Aur Aag, Mounto and Koi Jeeta Koi Haara, and films such as Faisla, Mera Vachan Geeta Ki Kasam and Aarambh on hold, she drew the curtains on her career as a heroine.
She has earned three Filmfare nominations for Best Actress: Shagird (1967), Diwana (1968), and Sagina (1974). However, despite Banu's success, several critics bemoaned that she "made it on glamour and not on talent". In response to the criticism, she stated in a 1973 interview:
Maybe they (critics) are right—but what matters is that I am around, whether they like it or not. Remember, the same was said for the great star Madhubala, comparing her to Marilyn Monroe, and I am happy to be in such illustrious company!
Banu appeared in a cameo opposite her husband in Duniya (1984), wherein the song "Teri meri zindagi" became very popular. Faisla which was eventually released in 1988 and is officially her last film.
|1961||Junglee||Rajkumari||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|1964||Ayee Milan Ki Bela||Barkha|
|April Fool||Rita Christiana|
|Aao Pyaar Karen||Shalini|
|Door Ki Awaz||Bela / Jyoti|
|1966||Saaz Aur Awaaz||Geeta|
|Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai||Princess Sarita / Sarita||Double Role|
|Pyar Mohabbat||Rita Singh|
|1967||Shagird||Poonam||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|Diwana||Kamini Gupta||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan||Priya Khanna|
|1969||Aadmi Aur Insaan||Meena Khanna|
|Purab Aur Paschim||Preeti|
|1972||Victoria No. 203||Rekha|
|Daaman Aur Aag||Rita|
|1974||Resham Ki Dori||Anupama|
|Sagina||Lalita||Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress|
|Paise Ki Gudiya||Madhavi|
|Hera Pheri||Kiran Singh|
|Koi Jeeta Koi Haara|
|Nehle Pe Dehla|
|1977||Mera Vachan Geeta Ki Kasam||Champa||Delayed Film|
|1978||Kaala Aadmi||Delayed Film|
|1980||Desh Drohi||Delayed Film|
|Lahu Pukarega||Delayed Film|
|1984||Duniya||Sumitra Kumar||Cameo Appearance In Song "Teri Meri Zindagi"|
- "Nostalgia: Saira Banu". 29 August 2017.
- Rana Siddiqui Zaman (12 August 2010). "Arts / Cinema : My First Break: Saira Banu". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Rajesh Khanna was very shy person: Saira Banu – Times of India". The Times of India.
- "'What Matters is That I am Around': When Saira Banu Gave Befitting Reply to Critics". News18. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
- Devinder Bir Kaur (7 July 2002). "Dilip Kumar saw a psychoanalyst after acting as Devdas". The Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- "Dilip Kumar turns 84". IBN Live. 11 December 2006. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- "Age no bar for these Bollywood couples". Times of India.
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