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Saira always said Dilip Saab and I make the best team: Vyjayanthimala after Dilip Kumar’s demise

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Veteran actor Vyjayanthimala remembered legendary Dilip Kumar. While expressing her grief over the death of the actor she revealed how Kumar helped her out during the making of their 1961 film, Gunga Jumna.

Vyjayanthimala shared screen space with Dilip Kumar in eight Hindi films including Devdas, Naya Daur and Madhumati. She also said that Dilip’s wife, Saira Banu, said that Vyjayanthimala and Dilip ‘make the best team’.

“(We have worked) very closely, and in quite a number of films – eight films, that is quite a lot to work with one hero, and for him also one heroine he worked maximum with. We combined well, our films became good hits, and we became a good team. That’s what Saira always says… she calls me Akka which means sister in Tamil. She says ‘Akka you and Dilip Saab make the best team’. We made some quite successful hit films,” says the actress.

Remembering the helpful nature of Dilip Saab she said, “In Gunga Jumna, where I had to speak Bhojpuri – first of all a South Indian speaking good Hindi without the accent was something, and on top of that to speak Bhojpuri, but he was a great help. He helped me a lot to speak and even recorded dialogues for me. It was a wonderful character to play and I was greatly helped by Dilip Saab. I got an award also for that. He was very polite, gentlemanly, and very well behaved. He had no airs, and never threw his weight around.”

Expressing her grief over Dilip Kumar’s death, Vyjayanthimala said, “It’s absolutely devastating and I have no words to say. Having worked with Dilip Saab in several successful films, he and Saira were almost like a family. Even after leaving films, every time I would go to Mumbai, Saira would always send me a car to come to their house and spend some time.”

Recalling the time when Dilip’s health had started deteriorating and he was unable to recognise her at first, but was reminded of her character from Gunga Jumna, she said “He ‘immediately flickered his eyes and opened them, when he heard that name’. After that, I have been in close touch with Saira and asking about his health. Allah has now called him, may his soul rest in peace.”

Dilip Kumar passed away on 7th July at the age of 98. He was laid to rest with full state honours at the Juhu Qabrastan in Santacruz, Mumbai. He is survived by his wife Saira Banu.