When Saira made her debut in film Junglee, she was considered a beauty queen on screen, a tag that she kept alive for much of her career. But she never again looked as breathtakingly beautiful as she did in Junglee. She inherited her beauty from her mother actress Naseem Banu. She was not a dancer when she started film career but later she practiced Kathak and Bharatnatyam.
Saira Banu came at a time when her contemporaries
Asha Parekh and Sadhana were dimming in the screen, Saira could easily elope as a famous star. In 1970, half a dozen films released with Dharmendra. These films did not do much well in the box-office, but the pair got noticed. It was then
Manoj Kumar who cast Saira Banu in westernised image in Purab Aur Paschim, where she had to smoke, drink and even wear mini-skirt.
Most of her films in 1960's were successful in the box-office, and she was cast opposite
Rajendra Kumar in few films and there was a rumour of her affairs with Rajendra Kumar. But she put an end to such remarks by marrying actor
Dilip Kumar. She is the rare actress who played heroine to
Shammi Kapoor in Junglee and 14 years later played Shammi’s daughter in Zameer. Saira Banu is a rare beauty, which can be easily regarded as Kashmir ki kali (a role of Kashmir girl she played in Jungle).
But filmmakers did not capture her such beauty, innocence and her delicate, innocent look ever. She was over-glamorized in many movies and but her beauty always remained a secret of her success in movies. This actress also did some light-hearted comedy in films like ‘
Shagird’ and’ Padosan’. She was the favourite actress of
Lata Mangeshkar as this actress always mentioned in he film contract that Lata should be the only singer in which she appears. Post marriage, she looked for roles with Dilip Kumar( Sagina, Gopi, Bairaag, which had dramatic angles. Her performance in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chaitali was impressive. She acted in two films with
Amitabh Bachchan (Zameer and
Hera Pheri) In 1976; she quit film industry with grace. Saira was born on August 23, 1944), Mussoorie.