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Saira Banu Reflects on Late Husband Dilip Kumar’s Battles with Insomnia

In a heartfelt tribute shared on her Instagram, veteran actress Saira Banu reflected on the cherished memories of her late husband, legendary actor Dilip Kumar, on his death anniversary. The celebrated actor, who passed away on July 7, 2021, was affectionately known as the ‘tragedy king’ of Bollywood for his unparalleled acting prowess and his profound ability to bring emotional depth to his characters. In her poignant post, Saira Banu shed light on lesser-known aspects of her husband’s life, including his prolonged struggle with insomnia.

Saira Banu’s tribute was not just a memoir of their life together but also an intimate look into the personal challenges faced by one of India’s most beloved actors. She revealed that, despite his stature and success, Dilip Kumar struggled with severe insomnia. “You see, Sahib was the greatest actor of all time. He had absolutely everything at his disposal, yet not many people know that he suffered from severe insomnia. Before our marriage, even after taking pills, he would remain awake until dawn,” she wrote.

However, the actress revealed a touching detail that once they were married, Dilip Kumar’s sleep patterns improved significantly. He affectionately referred to Saira Banu as his ‘sleeping pill’ because her presence helped him find the rest that eluded him for years. She recalled with fondness, “Once we got married and became indispensable to each other, he started sleeping just in time. He even gave me a cute nickname, endearingly saying, ‘Saira, you are my sleeping pill, you are my pillow.’ To this day, I burst into laughter remembering the charm with which he would say it.”

Adding more color to their personal anecdotes, Saira Banu shared another memorable incident involving Dilip Kumar’s unique way of expressing his feelings through notes. The veteran actress narrated, “There was another memorable incident when he wrote me a note. He had a deep appreciation for music and would often have a whole Darbar set up in our home, witnessing the magic created by the artists. Sahib, ever so efficiently, would often sneak away from the Darbar to get some sleep. On one such evening, despite managing to sneak away, he found himself unable to sleep without me. So, he penned a note saying, ‘Feeling sleepy, what do you suggest, Aunty? …Yours 100%.'”

Saira Banu also touched upon Dilip Kumar’s distinguished relationships with several eminent personalities, including India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. “Sahib has been the best of friends to the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Sahab, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Sahab, Narsimha Rao Sahab, alongside the leading lawyers, economists, and industrialists. He was a die-hard supporter of sportsmen.

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. He played football and cricket with great ease. In fact, he would have wanted to be a sportsman of a national level rather than what destiny had in store for him,” she recounted.

The letter was not only a tribute to Dilip Kumar but also a gesture of gratitude towards his admirers and supporters. She emphasized the importance of their well-wishes and how they continue to bring her solace. “I am expressing my love by writing this note to thank all of his admirers and fans, well-wishers, dearest friends, and family who take the trouble of sending us lovely messages on occasions. It makes me happy that they all remember our important dates and pray for his well-being in the hereafter, for Dilip Sahib is an inspiration for six generations of actors as also for the coming generations,” she wrote.

Reflecting on her husband’s life and personality, Saira Banu described him as a “fun-loving person” who often lightened the mood with playful nicknames. “He was a fun-loving person, always calling me ‘Aunty’ and laughing. Yet, beneath the jests, laughter, and those heartfelt notes, there lay pure love,” she added.

Concluding her emotional post, Saira Banu wrote, “Dilip Sahib is forever….May Allah keep him in his love and blessings…Aameen!” She honored his enduring legacy and the timeless impact he had on Bollywood and its audiences.

Dilip Kumar, born on December 11, 1922, embarked on his illustrious acting career with the 1944 movie ‘Jwar Bhata’. His filmography includes iconic films such as ‘Jugnu’, ‘Andaz’, ‘Aan’, ‘Daag’, ‘Azaad’, ‘Madhumati’, ‘Devdas’, ‘Kohinoor’, ‘Mughal-E-Azam’, ‘Gunga Jumna’, and ‘Naya Daur’, among others. His passing in 2021 marked the end of an era in Indian cinema.

On her own career front, Saira Banu made her debut in 1961 with ‘Junglee’ opposite Shammi Kapoor, a role that earned her a Filmfare Award nomination for Best Actress. She subsequently received three more Best Actress nominations for ‘Shagird’ (1967), ‘Diwana’ (1967), and ‘Sagina’ (1974). Over the years, she starred in numerous memorable films including ‘Bluff Master’ (1963), ‘Ayee Milan Ki Bela’ (1964), ‘Jhuk Gaya Aasman’ (1968), ‘Padosan’ (1968), ‘Victoria No. 203’ (1972), ‘Hera Pheri’ (1976), and ‘Bairaag’ (1976).

This poignant reminiscence by Saira Banu serves as a testament to the enduring bond she shared with Dilip Kumar and highlights the human side of a legendary actor beloved by millions.