Timeless Beauties of Silver Screen – 2

A few years ago, I had started to do a throwback series on actresses from Hindi film industry – the key motive being to revisit some of the wonderful songs that have been pictured on them. The first part of this series can be found here. After a long hiatus as I continue to start keying in the articles a bit more frequently, I thought it would be good to revive some of these threads left hanging. So here we go! 🙂

Meena Kumari in Pakeezah (Pic Courtesy: thedailnewnation.com)
Meena Kumari in Pakeezah (Pic courtesy: thedailynewnation.com)

Meena Kumari: If tragedy had taken a form, I am sure it would have been that of Meena Kumari. From nearly being abandoned as a young baby at the footsteps of an orphanage, to losing everything towards the end of her life, Meena Kumari or Mehjabeen Bano’s life is as dramatic as the many roles she essayed with natural caliber. In many ways, tragedy and pathos of a role resonated with her so deeply – it seemed as if she had transformed into those very characters. Be it the Chhoti Bahu of Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam or Nargis from Pakeezah or the title role of Kaajal, she breathed life and tears into the characters that had the audience riveted to the screen feeling the same pangs of desperation and tragedy. Although she had shined equally well in comic and romantic film genres, her calling was meant to be the tragic queen of Bollywood. Her dreams of a happily married life with Kamal Amrohi did not materialize as expected even though they both adored each other. Possibly, deep love can afterall become a golden dagger! Nevertheless, this love and admiration resulted in one of the most iconic movies of all time – Pakeezah. Meena Kumari who was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver gave the movie her all. It took a long time to complete but the success of the venture was something that Meena Kumari didn’t live to see. Separated from her husband and resigned to alcohol, her life met a premature end. It is a forgone conclusion that there can never be an actress like Meena Kumari, for tragedy and pain were truly her companions even as a young child who nearly got abandoned. As for the songs:

  • Chalo dildar chalo
  • Inhi logon ne le leena dupatta mera
  • Chalte Chalte
  • Thade rahiyo
  • Tora mann darpan kehlaaye
  • Mere bhaiyya mere chanda
  • Ajeeb dastan hai ye
  • Hum intezaar karenge
  • Piya aiso jiya mein
  • Na jao saiyyan churake baiyyan
  • Hum Tere Pyar mein
  • Ruk ja raat thehar jaa re chanda
  • Kabhi toh milegi kahin toh milegi
Image result for waheeda rehman
Waheeda Rehman (Pic Courtesy: Pune 365)

Waheeda Rehman: I had previously mentioned that very few actresses have aged gracefully and can carry themselves with a charm and demeanor that can put the current genre of actresses to shame – Waheeda Rehman is definitely one of those. At the peak of her career, she was an actress that everyone aspired to be like, and long after she withdrew from being active on media, people continue to long for Waheeda Rehmanisque beauty and grace. It seems barely surprisingly how madly in love Gurudutt was with Waheeda Rehman. After all, he was the jeweler who polished this gem! In all fairness, some of the most outstanding actresses Bollywood has seen came from South India (that’s my customary South Indian gloat that I feel I had to let float!) and so did Waheeda Rehman. After the debut role in CID, Gurudutt cast her in the ambitious Pyaasa and Kagaz Ke Phool, movies which provided a platform that mirrored the real-life turmoil of Gurudutt. Their association that gave such gems like Chaudvi Ka Chand, and Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam did not last long. Gurudutt died a broken-hearted man. Music and dance played a significant role in her movies (who can ever forget Guide). Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Raj Kumar – towering actors of their period all vied for casting her as the lead actress. Even as recently as Rang De Basanti, Waheeda Rehman’s role as the mother of the pilot killed in the MIG-21 crash is heart-wrenching. The scene of her receiving the last remains of her son is etched unforgettably in mind. A living legend, Waheeda has ofcourse received numerous accolades that barely do justice to her contributions to films. As for the songs, the list is so enormous that am afraid, I’ll definitely have missed quite a few, but the ones that come to mind right away are:

  • Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai
  • Koi nahin hai phir bhi hai mujhko
  • Piya tose naina lage re
  • Chaudvi ka chand ho
  • Bhavra bada nadaan hai
  • Sach Hue sapne tere
  • Apni toh har aah ek toofan hai
  • Rimjhim ke tarane leke
  • Waqt ne kiya kya hasin sitam
  • Rangeela re tere rang mein
  • Hum aapke aankhon mein
  • Jane kya tune kahi
  • Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana
  • Sapne suhaane ladak pan ke
  • Mehboob mere tuhe toh duniya
  • Humne dekhi hai un aankhon ki mehekti Khushboo
Image result for vyjayanthimala
Vyjayantimala (Pic Courtesy: Hindu.com)

Vyjayantimala: I mentioned earlier how South India has given some of the greatest actresses to Hindi Film Industry. The aspect that set aside all of them was their dancing ability. And speaking of dance, Vyjayantimala’s name would stand out like the pole star. Be it her super expressive eyes, the breathtaking beauty or the graceful dance, the wholesome personality that evoked admiration and respect was the key attribute of Vyjayantimala. There were songs composed, dances choreographed and movies made keeping her in mind. For decades she was the unparalleled superstar of Hindi film industry. A filmography that gave such historic movies like Bimal Roy’s Devdas and Madhumati, Dev Anand’s Jewel Thief, has ensured that her iconic roles and stature in Bollywood would be permanent even after over 6 decades. At a time when none of the actresses wanted to play the role of Chandramukhi in Devdas, Vyjayantimala came forward to play the role of a secondary heroine despite the outstanding success of her debut movie Nagin. Bimal Roy spotted the charm and charisma that embodied in her and naturally cast her in the lead role of his best-ever movie Madhumati. Madhumati electrified the entire nation – few movies have captured and held the audience in rapt attention as Madhumati. Acting, songs, and story line – each have remained legendary to say the least. Naya Daur, Asha, Katputli, Prince, Sangam, Jewel Thief, and Amrapali are some of the other memorable movies. As I said, the songs in her movies are a key draw for me:

  • Dil tadap tadap ke keh raha hai
  • Aaja re pardesi
  • Zulmi sang aankh ladi
  • Ghadi Ghadi mera dil dhadke
  • Rula ke gaya sapna mera
  • Aasman ke neeche
  • Honton mein aisi baat mein
  • Char gaya papi bichua
  • Dil pukaare
  • Badan pe sitaare lapete hue
  • Tumhein yaad karte karte
  • Baharon phool barsao
  • Eena Meena Deeka
  • Maang ke saath tumhaara
  • Saathi haath badhaana
  • Man dole mera tann dole

Coming up: Asha Parekh, Helen

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