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When Saira Banu Recited “An English Line” During The Preparation Of Junglee

By Sampad Oct31,2023

When Saira Banu Recited 'An English Line' During The Preparation Of Junglee

Saira Banu shared this image. (Courtesy: SairaBanu)

New Delhi:

Veteran actress Saira Banu completed 62 priceless years in the industry. She marked her acting debut with Shammi Kapoor’s Junglee in 1961. But did you know, Saira Banu was supposed to kick-start her career with Sunil Dutt’s Hum Hindustani? On Tuesday, the yesteryear star added yet another gem to her Instagram timeline. The opening slide is a poster of Junglee. Next, we get a glimpse of Saira Banu in a green saree. Sharing the pics, the actress wrote, “Fortunately, upon returning from London, I was offered movies from renowned South Indian studios such as A.V.M. and Gemini alongside distinguished filmmakers like Kamal Amrohi, Ramanand Sagar, B.R. Chopra, and the illustrious Sashadhar Mukherjee of Filmalaya, known for delivering hits like ‘Love In Simla‘ and ‘Dil Deke Dekho‘, while giving two illustrious heroines Sadhana and Asha Parekh to the Industry. Mukherjee Uncle, the man at Bombay Talkies, later established “Filmistan Studios”. This warm welcome to the film industry for Saira Banu was truly attributed to being the daughter of ‘Pari Chehra’ Naseem Banu. The anticipation surrounding Naseemji’s daughter added an air of suspense and expectancy that Oh! How promising would be Naseemji’s daughter! Mukherjee uncle had a keen interest in casting me alongside Sunil Dutt in their grand colour project “Hum Hindustani,” directed by Ram Mukerji (Rani’s father) but the story required a mature actor to complement the hero’s subdued, scholarly role.”

After this, Sashadhar Mukherjee advised Saira Banu to consider his brother Subodh Mukerji’s directorial Junglee. She added, “Then, Mukherjee Uncle advised us to consider his brother Subodh Mukherjee’s impending venture “Junglee” where the heroine is a capricious prankster. It suited my nature to the ‘Tee’ as I was a curious blend of a youngster who climbed trees in the garden and insisted on having lunch perched in the branches. Simultaneously, I’d dash around the garden barefoot, yet when visitors arrived at home, I’d become the shy recluse. This unique combination still defines me to this day- a recluse and an outgoing Leo.”

Talking about the preparation for her acting debut, Saira Banu said, “To prepare for “Junglee,” they familiarised me with lights and the camera, Mukherjee Uncle placed me in front of the camera and asked me to relax and speak freely In front of the camera. I asked if I could recite an English line that had left a deep impression on me. I still recall that moment vividly when I recited, “It is a breach of good manners to inflict upon another the irritating necessity of deciphering an ill-written scrawl”! In school, if our homework was untidy we were made to write this dozens of times! So I said this in a very matter-of-fact manner.” She concluded by saying, “Towards the end of the day, I’ll be talking about my first scene in Junglee which to this day remains precious to me.”

Today marks the 62nd anniversary of Junglee. The iconic film featured Shammi Kapoor and Saira Banu in lead roles. Shashikala, Lalita Pawar, Anoop Kumar and Rajan Haksar were also part of the film.

By Sampad

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