She was the woman who defined ‘oomph’ in Indian cinema. One is talking of Mumtaz. Few other leading ladies could bring together the right combination of sensuous beauty, grace and talent as did Mumu in her heyday. Personally, it’s her cute snub nose that I like the most about her!

Mumtaz has her birthday this month, on the 31st, and one decided to add this post as a tribute to her. Mumu began her career at the age of 12, and went on to star in B-grade stunt movies like Samson and Rustom-e-Hind as Dara Singh’s arm-candy, with whom she worked in 16 stunt movies, all equally forgettable. She was a vamp, second heroine and comedienne in a few movies, before she starred in the movie that made her a mega-star – Do Raaste in 1969. After that she delivered one hit after another – Khilona, (for which she won the best actress award), Sachcha Jutha, Apna Desh, Tere mere sapne, Roti, Aap ki kasam, to name a few.

Mumu quit films in 1974, at the peak of her career, and married millionaire Mayur Madhvani. She attempted a comeback in 1996, but that didn’t work. Mumu has been battling cancer since the past few years.

Here’s one of her most popular dance numbers (and her best, in my view), from Brahmachari (1968). Playback by Mohd Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur. Rafi and Lata were not on talking terms through the late 1960’s, and Suman Kalyanpur got her break as a result. The movie was a huge hit and swept the Filmfare awards that year.  This song shows Mumu at her sizzling best. I cannot think of any other actress who can set the screen on fire dressed in a saree, like that!

Mmmm…. Mumu. No other actress like her!


One thought on “Mmmm…Mumtaz!

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