THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The year was 1984. The annual Soorya Festival was happening in the city.
Actor Dilip Kumar and wife Saira Banu were in the capital to inaugurate the festival. The very next day, the thespian shared a long-cherished dream of his — to have a ‘highly romantic’ walk along the busy streets. The actor, who could never imagine such a walk anywhere else due to his huge popularity, asked if it was possible here. Soorya Krishnamoorthy promptly said yes.
So the masquerade began. Saira Banu was draped in a saree, the pallu pulled over her head and covering her face. Dilip Kumar was given a mundu, a walking stick, and a cap. “All efforts were taken to deceive the public. His haircut was easily recognisable. So we used a cap. He was so young, but I gave him a walking stick. They were dropped off at the gate of Keltron, near Vellayambalam Jn. I told them to keep walking straight and they will reach the Mascot Hotel, where they were staying. I was asked not to follow, but I did, walking some 200m behind,” recalls Soorya.
The duo had its dream walk, walking along the busy streets, hand in hand. “It was something they could never have, as they could be mobbed wherever they went. He told me that all he wanted was to walk with his wife as others do,” he says. In the days that followed, the duo was ferried to many tourist locations such as Kovalam, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kanyakumari and so on. “But they could never get down anywhere. They had to stay in the car,” Soorya says.
He also shares how Dilip Kumar taught him a noble practice that he follows till date. A few friends were invited over and every time a woman entered, Dilip Kumar would get up as a show of respect.
“I told him he needn’t do that every time. He replied that if a woman walks in, you have to get up, even if she is young, as you are respecting womanhood. That is one lesson I still follow,” he says.