Saira Banu, also known as Saira Bano, is an Indian Bollywood actress. Banu was born in India to actress Naseem Banu of 30s-40s and the granddaughter of a courtesan Chamiyan Bai, also known as Shamshad Begum of Delhi (not to be confused with the famous playback singer of yesteryear Shamshad Begum who was from Amritsar, Punjab). Her father was film Producer Mian Ehsan-ul-Haq, who produced the film Phool in Bombay and film Wadah in Pakistan.
She had spent a significant part of her childhood in London and went to a finishing school. She was an actress at her school, winning many awards and bringing laurels to her parents.Banu made her acting debut at 17 years, opposite Shammi Kapoor in the 1961 film 'Junglee' for which she earned her first Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. The famous song from this movie "Yaahoo!! Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe" sung by Mohammed Rafi was a big success. 'Junglee' was written by Aghajani Kashmeri (aka Kashmiri and Agha Jani), who also coached her in Urdu dialogue delivery, given his background in Urdu literature and poetry from Lucknow. 'Junglee' also instantly made her a successful actress throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. But it is said that the turning point of her career was the comedy and love story 'Padosan', which brought her to be one of the successful actresses.
Her valiant attempts to establish a reputation as an actress after 'Gopi', 'Sagina' and 'Bairaag' (all with Dilip Kumar) and films like Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Chaitali' met with limited success. She did earn three additional Filmfare nominations as Best Actress for 'Shagird' (1967), 'Diwana' (1968), and 'Sagina' (1974). In 1976, Saira chose to end her film career. Subsequently she weathered a storm in her marriage in 1980 which was quickly resolved. She then appeared in a cameo opposite her husband in 'Duniya' (1984) and her last film 'Faisla' released in 1988 which was completed in mid-70s.