When Dilip Kumar Married Asma
One of Hindi cinema's greatest legends Dilip Kumar has had his share of controversies in life.
One of them was his marriage to Asma Rehman, even though he was already married to Saira Banu.
Who was this Asma Rehman? And in what circumstances did the veteran actor marry her?
In his autobiography The Substance And The Shadow, Dilip Kumar tries to answer these questions, and more.
Here's presenting an excerpt from the book:
Well, the one episode in my life that I would like to forget and which we, Saira and I, have indeed pushed into eternal oblivion is a grave mistake I made under pressure of getting involved with a lady named Asma Rehman whom I had met at a cricket match in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) where she then lived with her husband.
She was a mother of three when she was introduced to me as a fan and she seemed like umpteen other admirers, who were introduced to me by my sisters, Fauzia and Saeeda, at public places. She was a friend of my sisters.
Excerpted from the book The Substance And The Shadow by Dilip Kumar, published by Penguin Books India and Hay House India, with the publisher's permission, Rs 699.
Image: Dilip Kumar
'Many times I was surprised by the lady and her husband who popped up from nowhere'
Image: Dilip Kumar's wedding function. From left to right: Qazi Murghey, Ahsan, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Mukri and Nasir
'it was very painful for me to console Saira Banu'
In 1982, when the news spread that I had married Asma and Saira read the sensational 'revelation' in a tabloid, it was very painful for me to console her as she trusted me and loved me unconditionally.
I was not at home when Saira read the news and, truth be told, neither she nor her mother (Naseem Aapa) believed what they read because of their implicit faith in me and the sincere commitment I had given at the time of my nikah with Saira that there was no question of a second marriage and there should be no talk of it.
Image: The wedding day: Naseem Banu, Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar
'I can never forget or forgive myself for the hurt I caused to Saira'
Image: The mehendi ceremony: Naseem Banu, Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu's bhabhi Rahat
'I became a victim of a situation'
I would not like to devote more space to the forgotten episode and conclude by saying without the slightest hesitation that, as a human being, I was not infallible and I became a victim of a situation that was set to precipitate a deep crisis in my marriage with Saira.
I strongly believe that there is a divine purpose even in the untoward happenings in one's life.
The whole episode strengthened our closeness and our emotional dependence on each other.
Image: Dilip Kumar gives the mahurat clap for Saaz Aur Awaz (1966)
'Saira had borne a child, a boy'
During the episode, it was also wrongly represented that Saira could not bear a child.
The truth is that Saira had borne a child, a boy (as we came to know later), in 1972.
We lost the baby in the eighth month of pregnancy when Saira developed high blood pressure and the obstetricians attending on her could not perform the surgery in time to save the full-grown foetus, which had been strangulated by the umbilical cord.
We took the loss in our stride as the will of God.
Image: Dilip Kumar with his sisters: Sakina, Aapa, Saeeda and Taj
'It would have been great if we had our own kids'
Image: Arriving at the Madras airport for the shooting of Ram Aur Shyam. Left to right: Pran, Baby Farida, Nagi Reddy, Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, Nirupa Roy and A Chakrapani
Playing badminton with the family
Years ago, my elder brother Noor Sahabs sons Amjad and Javed were in Bombay for a long training programme at a corporate office and I made it mandatory for them to visit me every day at 8 pm come what may.
The young fellows had come from Nasik and I felt I should keep them away from possible bad company.
It made good reason for me and Saira to gather all the other young nephews and nieces who could make it for some fun in the house ending with an invigorating game of badminton in the garden.
Image: Saira Banu with Dilip Kumar's sisters. Left to right: Farida, Saeeda, Taj, Saira Banu, Sakina Aapa, Aquila Bhabhi and Fauzia
'It is Saira who always went all out to get the family together'
It is Saira who always went all out to get the family together and still goes all out to be the grandaunt to the grandchildren in the family. It is wonderful to love and be loved by them and be there solidly when they need us and vice versa.
Today, at times, both of us feel their absence from our lives since practically all my nephews and nieces are busy with their own lives or their families.
Though we meet less often, I enjoy every moment I spend with them when they visit me.
Perhaps if we had our own sons or daughters, they too would have gone to places far away to pursue their dreams and we would have got to see them once or twice a year!
Image: Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu in Sagina
'I became a parent to my brothers and sisters when I was in my late twenties'
Image: Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar