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04-23-2009, 01:19 PM #1
Evergreen beauties of Hindi Cinema
First Lady of Indian Cinema and an acknowledged beauty, Devika Rani goes down in the annals of Hindi films as actress par excellence. A chance encounter with the man behind Bombay Talkies, Himanshu Rai, paved the way for Devika Rani’s envious run at the box-office. Initiating her career with the Light of Asia in 1920, she went on to give hits like Jeevan Naiya, Janma Bhoomi, Achut Kanya, Izzat, Savitri and Anjaan with Ashok Kumar as her hero in all of them. She was also the first Indian actress to liven up the screen with a kiss scene with her husband Himanshu Rai.
Contrary to today's rules where an actress' career is considered over once she gets married, Shobhana Samarth's film career only began after her marriage. Best known for her portrayal of Sita in Ram Rajya, she became the eternal Sita in the audiences' minds. Her major films include Do Diwane (1936), Apni Nagaria (1940), Bharat Milap (1942), Nauker (1943), Taramati (1945), Sati Taral (1947). Her legacy is taken forward by her grand children Mohnish Behl, Kajol and Tanissha.
Diva of the 1940s, Noorjehan started her film career in Gul-Bakavali (1939), but it was Khandaan (1942), a big hit, that made her an overnight star. Her song, ‘Tu Kaun Si Badli Mein Mere Chand Hei Aaja’, was a sensational hit. The people lapped up the combination of good voice, beautiful looks and the great acting talent. They thronged the theatres in thousands and applauded her in every song sequence on the screen. Most of her movies became big hits - Duhai, Nauker, Nadaan, Dost, Badi Maa, Village Girl and Lal Haveli. In Zeenat, she popularized the qawali as never before – ‘Aahein Na Bhari Shikwe Na Kiye’ was sung everywhere, in schools and on the streets. She reached her peak with Mehboob Khan's Anmol Ghadi (1946) and Jugnu with Dilip Kumar.
As Noorjehan was the queen of melody, Suraiya was the peoples' choice as the most popular singing superstar. She generated hysteria amongst the masses that no other star could generate. The young and the old, the man in the street or at work, they all enjoyed singing to Suraiya's tunes, so captivating and easy to copy. "O Door Janewale", "Woh Pas Rahen Ya Door Rahen", "O Likhnewale Ne Likh Di", "Bigdi Banane Wale", "Murliwale Murli Baja", "Tu Mera Chand Mein Teri Chandni" and many more were hummed in every nook and corner of the country. Suraiya was still at her peak when she retired from films after giving her greatest hit Mirza Ghalib.
In those days, Muslim girls from “respectable” families were not supposed to become actresses. But this incandescent beauty, Begum Para, was a rebel. She managed to make it, given her smashing looks and determination to become a star. She was not what may be called a “great” actress but she was a trooper. Her first movie was the 1944 Prabhat production, Chaand, with Prem Adib playing the lead. Begum Para's film career was restricted to 28 films in a span of a little over a decade. She was bold on screen and vamped her way to stardom with backless blouses and swimming costumes.
In the space of a few seconds, a dozen emotions could flicker across a silent close-up of Suchitra Sen's face. She was one of the great silently emotive actresses of cinema history. Suchitra Sen was Bengali cinema’s most famous actress. She made only about a dozen Hindi Bollywood films the first being Bimpal Roy's, Devdas (1955) in which she immortalized the character of Parvati or 'Paro'. Suchitra Sen won the Filmfare Best Actress award for the role. Musafir (1957), Hrishikesh Mukherjee's episodic film of marriage, birth and death and Champakali (1957) however, failed to set the box-office alight and even her most uninhibited performance in Bombai ka Babu (1960) opposite Dev Anand couldn’t alight her Bollywood career. Mamta (1966), based on her Bengali outing Uttar Falguni by the same director Asit Sen, saw her successfully repeat the dual role. She made a huge impact with Gulzar's Aandhi (1975).
Nadira was the first sophisticated vamp in Hindi cinema, at a time when women were expected to look demure and do only positive roles. Nadira made her foray into Bollywood in the 50s with films like ‘Aan' (1952) featuring Dilip Kumar and 'Shree 420' (1955) with Raj Kapoor, and gave new meaning and depth to the character of a vamp in several films, playing the confident, often sensuous young woman who was not afraid to get what she wanted. Nadira's career spanned over five decades during which she acted in over 60 films. But it is her arched eyebrow style, with which she wooed Raj Kapoor in the song 'Mud mud ke na dekh' in the classic 'Shree 420' that would remain etched in the memories of cine lovers for a long time.
Geeta Bali's dancing eyes and her animated, expressive face, which mirrored her soul, were her most outstanding features. Geeta proved she could equally do tragedy roles (Sharma's Raj Kapoor starrer Bawre Nain) or play the lighthearted heroine to comedian Bhagwan in the super successful AlbelaAlbela by swinging to C Ramchandra composed songs like Shola jo bhadke and Sham dhale mere khidki tale which made front-benchers dance with the stars and even fling coins on screen. Pug-nosed Geeta was no conventional beauty, but that transparent face and smile constantly flirting on her lips made sure you couldn't tear your eyes away from her. Geeta Bali believed in making most of what she gets. That’s why even after being natural, spontaneous and gifted with a spot-on sense of comic timing, she never really found a vehicle worthy of her talent.
Launched in Hamari Beti (1950) by mother Shobhana Samarth, Nutan's major breakthrough as an actress par excellence came with Seema (1955), which won her Filmfare Best Actress Award. Whether it was the lighthearted Paying Guest (1957) or Bimal Roy's intense Sujata (1959), brought out the best in her. She continued with her bright career with Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Anadi, Chhalia, Milan, Khandaan, Sarswatichandra, Saudagar, Sajan Bina Suhagan and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. However, Bimal Roy's Bandini (1963) was her undoubted crowning glory. She won record-breaking five Filmfare awards for Best Actress - Seema (1957), Sujata (1960), Bandini (1964), Milan (1969) and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1979).
The mesmerizing and the ultimate beauty of Hindi cinema, Madhubala was brilliant in both, comedy as well as in high dramatic performance. While she matched Kishore Kumar step by step in his madcap antics in Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, her performance as the doomed courtesan Anarkali in Mughal-E-Azam equaled that of Dilip Kumar as Prince Salim. Madhubala began her Bollywood journey with Kidar Sharma's Neel Kamal (1947) opposite Raj Kapoor and became a superstar with Mahal (1949), a suspense thriller. A spate of hits followed - Amar, Howrah Bridge, Kala Paani, Phagun, Passport, Half Ticket and Sharabi. Madhubala's memorable career in Hindi films was cut short by her premature death.
One of the greatest Indian actresses, Nargis started her Bollywood journey with a break by the ace director Mehboob in Taqdeer (1943), but real stardom came her way with Mehboob's Andaaz and Raj Kapoor's Barsaat. Both movies were mega hits. Nargis played the lead in a spate of super hits opposite Dilip Kumar - Mela, Jogan, Babul and Deedar. After Awaara (1951) she worked exclusively with Raj Kapoor - Aah, Anhonee, Ashiana, Bewafa, Shri 420, Chori Chori and Jaagte Raho. Her magnum opus Mother India (1957) represented the pinnacle of her career and won her the Best Actress award at the prestigious Karlovy Vary Festival. Nargis was the first film personality to be awarded with Padmashree.
Meena Kumari, born on 1st August, 1932, known as Mahjabeen Bano, stormed into the Indian silver screen in 1952, with the sublime performance in Baiju Bawra. She is invariably called the "Tragedy Queen" and her work is considered immortal. Her classic contributions include Parineeta, Baiju Bawra, Saheb Biwi aur Ghulam and Pakeezah. She was also one of the great Urdu poets of the land and has written beautiful sad poems in her lonely days! She also recorded an album of her own poetry in her own voice, which was her dream project of life. She made significant contributions as an actress as well as a child actress baby Meena who started acting from the age of 6. She made history in 1962 by bagging three Best Actress nominations - Aarti, Main Chup Rahungi and Sahib Bibi Ghulam, bagging for the later.
The first South Indian actress who made it big in Bollywood, Vijayantimala's greatest legacy to Indian cinema is that it had become must for any aspiring actress to be an accomplished dancer. She started her career in Hindi films with Bahar (1951), a big hit, primarily because of her dance numbers. In Devdas (1955) she played dancing girl Chandramukhi and won Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actress. Naya Daur (1957), a mega hit, made her the most sought after star. Bimal Roy's Madhumati (1958) shot her to the highest echelons of stardom. She won Filmfare awards for Best Actress in Sadhna (1958), Ganga Jamuna (1961) and Sangam (1964). After her last big hit, Jewel Thief (1967), she retired from films.
Another great dancer from South Indian films, Waheeda Rehman was spotted by Guru Dutt in a Telgu film and brought to Bombay to work in his production, C.I.D. (1956). The film was a big hit but her role of a vamp was not that big. The real stardom was offered to her on a platter in Guru Dutt's masterpiece Pyaasa (1957), followed by two more classics from Guru Dutt, Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962). Her hit movies include Chowdhavin Ka Chand, Kala Bazaar, Bees Saal Baad, Mujhe Jeene Do, Kohra and Ram Aur Shyam. With Guide (1965), she reached the peak of her career, playing the difficult role of a desperate housewife.
Colour, Kashmir, Bouffants - No heroine defined the 60s glamour better than Sadhana. Her fringe-cut, tight churidar kurtas set fashion trends of their time. Named after the legendary dancer Sadhana Bose, she made her debut playing Sheila Ramani's sister in the first ever Sindhi film Abana (1958). S. Mukherjee cast her opposite son Joy in Love in Simla (1960) and with its success, Sadhana became a star, a youth icon. Sadhana was then seen in a series of films that set the box office on fire - Rajkumar (1964), Woh Kaun Thi (1964), Arzoo (1965), Waqt (1965) and Mera Saaya (1966), making her the most saleable heroine of the 60s. Her last film was Geeta Mera Naam (1974) which was a huge hit after which she retired from films because she didn’t want her fans to see her age with time. She wanted to be alive in their minds as the same flamboyant, beautiful and agile Sadhna.
04-23-2009, 03:12 PM #2
04-23-2009, 03:18 PM #3
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04-23-2009, 04:40 PM #4
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