1939 - Meena Kumari starts in Hindi movies
Meena Kumari (real name: mahazabii.n) was born on
1932 to Iqbal Begum, actress and master Alibaksh, music director. She
and her two sisters, Khursheed Junior, actress (older sister), and
Baby Madhuri (younger) used to throw stones into Naushad's house, who
was their neighbor in Dadar, Bombay. Naushad complained to their father,
and, according to Naushad, the three sisters were taken to task by him.
Meena's first movie was Leather Face or Farzand-e-watan (1939) produced
by Prakash Pictures and directed by Vijay Bhatt. She got 17th billing
just before a horse (Bahadur) and a dog (Tiger). She played the role of
Jairaj's daughter, and, whose sweetheart she would play in Maghroor
(1950). In her early days she did playback for her sister Madhuri and
sang her own songs in many films. After working in about 15 pictures as
a child, she got her first grownup role in Bachchon Ka Khel (1946). Then
Homi Wadia cast her in a mythological called Veer Ghatotkach (1949) and
she became a chhota goddess and acted in a series of those - Hanuman
Patal Vijay (1951), Laxmi Narayan (1951), etc. But she established
herself as a star in Prakash Pictures Baiju Baawara (1952), as everybody
Other notable movies of 1939:
aadamii - Probably the first one to have a song in
Telugu, Tamil and Bangla which was sung by Shanta Hubalikar. It
was directed by V. Shantaram and had a Marathi version called
braa.nDii kii botal - written by the famous Marathi P.
K. Atre, it was
the first one to have the flag song, jha.NDaa uu.Nchaa rahe
dushman - had four songs, all by Saigal.
Gaazii salaauddin - first movie for Khemchandra Prakash
of Mahal fame.
Gariib kaa laal - had a song, tujhe bibbo kahu.N yaa
shashii kahu.N yaa ki jamunaa. This is he first time that names
of popular artists of the day are used in a song. The whole song
is full of popular names. You don't know any of these gals?
Well, that is why I call you "kids."
ka.ngan - Pandit Pradeep makes a debut by writing four
which is "mai.n to aartii utaaru.n raadheshyaam kii re" sung by
Leela Chitnis, Pradeep and chorus. A very successful movie
starring Ashok Kumar and Leela Chitnis, it ran for six months in
Bombay. Music was by Saraswati Devi and Ramchandra Pal.
kapaal ku.NDalaa - Pankaj Mullick sang and set to music
most famous composition, "piyaa milan ko jaanaa" .
pukaar - hit movie that established Kamaal Amarohi as a
excellent music by Mir Sahib. I just love "zindagii kaa saaz
bhii kyaa saaz hai" sung beautifully by Nasseem Bano, Dilip
Kumar's mother-in-law. It was about the famous justice system of
Jahangir (played by Chandramohan), who used to say, "jaan kaa
badalaa jaan", or, if you kill someone, the system will kill
you. Well, his wife kills a poor dhobi by mistake. But he
loved his wife too much, so instead of awarding a death sentence
to Noorjahan, he said that the dhobi's wife (played by Sardar
Akhtar, director Mehboob's wife) should take revenge by killing
Noorjahan's husband. Dhoban is ready to kill, but the clever
minister (Sohrab Modi) intervenes (he has motives of his own)
and, in a classic copout, offers her lots of riches. She accepts
the money and everybody is happy. Dhobi is said to have died not
in vain but for a good cause!
Much of the info comes from:
1. The Encyclopaedia, volume 1, compiled by Mr. Har
"Hamraaz", published by Mrs. Satinder Kaur, his wife.
2. Listeners' Bulletin, a monthly, edited by Hamraaz
published by the Secretary, the Flying Listener's Club, Kanpur.
Surjit Singh, a movie fan period.
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