‘Sahab was asking about you’: Naseeruddin Shah was at same hospital as Dilip Kumar when Saira Banu paid him a visit

Legendary actor Dilip Kumar passed away last week at age 98. Before his death, Kumar was admitted to Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital. Coincidentally, veteran actor Naseeruddin was also admitted in the same hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia. Shah recently revealed that Dilip Kumar’s wife, Saira Banu visited him at the hospital.

Dilip Kumar was hospitalised on June 30 after complaining of breathlessness. After a protracted illness, he breathed his last on July 7. Naseeruddin Shah, who was admitted to the hospital on June 29, was discharged from there on July 7.

In an interaction with author and critic Saif Mahmood for Link Legal’s Beyond Law, Shah spoke about his meeting with Saira Banu.

“(Saira) put her hand on my head and blessed me and said — Sahab was asking about you. I was deeply moved. I wanted to meet him before I left. But unfortunately, the day I left, he also left,” Naseeruddin said, as reported by The Quint.

The actor also revealed how Dilip Kumar had once advised him to not become an actor. During the conversation, Naseeruddin recalled his early days as an actor in Bombay and said that his family had no clue about his whereabouts and didn’t even know if he was alive. Shah’s family then contacted Dilip Kumar, who they knew through his elder sister, Sakina Aapa.

Shah further revealed that he spent a week at Kumar’s house before he was sent back home. When Shah confided in the legendary actor ‘with trembling legs’ about his dreams of becoming an actor, he was told, “I think you should go back and study. People from good families should not try to become actors.”

“I didn’t ask him how he’d become an actor in that case”, Shah laughed. The two actors ended up working together in the film ‘Karma’. 

Speaking about his experience, Naseeruddin said, “That’s the only time I think I have been nervous while acting in my life. Most of the time, I was too terrified to even approach him, apart from greeting him in the mornings.”

Dilip Kumar was laid to rest on July 7 with full state honours. Celebs such as Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Karan Johar among others arrived at the late actor’s residence to pay their last respects.

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