Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
She was a scene-stealer. Oozing come-hither sensuality while moving to the beat of Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera in Mere Sanam or the breezy Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche in Brahmachari, even in the second lead, she left the leading actors and actresses in the films short-winded. Just like that.
That was Mumtaz. Starting off her career in two bit roles and then those Dara Singh stunt bone-crunchers, slowly but surely she edged past the leading ladies to find her place in the celluloid sun.
That she vibed as felicitously with the camera as she did with her co-stars was evident in the scores of films she did with Feroz Khan, Jeetendra and of course Rajesh Khanna. With Khanna she went on to star in the hugely successful Sachcha Jhootha, Aap Ki Kasam, Dushman, Roti, Prem Kahani, Apna Desh and Do Raaste.
She had a pouty charm, a facility for movie-ishtyle dances… and she scissored the screen when the role demanded histrionics. She was especially riveting in L. V. Prasad’s Khilona and Aaina, Vijay Anand’s Tere Mere Sapne and J. Om Prakash’s Aap Ki Kasam.
Count among her memorable song and dance numbers Jai jai Shiv Shankar, Bindiya chamkegi, Duniya mein, Yunhin tum mujhse, Gore rang pe na itna gumaan kar, Paisa phenko tamasha dekho, Zindagi itefaaq hai. The list is endless…
She won her first Filmfare Best Actress Award for Khilona (1970). Just when she had reached the peak of her prowess with Aap Ki Kasam in 1974, she bid adieu to the klieg lights. She lost her heart to millionaire Mayur Madhwani and chose to set up home with him in London–a fitting end to the rags to riches Cinderella story.
When Filmfare asked her to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award, she thanked us for considering her worthy of such an honour. She said, "My years as an actress were the best phase of my life. The film industry is one place where I truly belonged."
When she said that, she stole our hearts again. Just the way she did once upon a time in the movies.
Shah Rukh Khan whistled in glee when we informed him that Mumtaz was our Lifetime Achievement Award winner. He volunteered to host that section. Said he, "I’m going to propose to Mumtaz on stage." As if on cue, Mumtaz called on his mobile. For once, SRK was stumped by the Bindiya chamkegi sizzler.
Her performances, vim and vitality have been enshrined in our hearts forever. Words cannot adequately express what she mean to us and to Indian cinema. But whenever a golden history of moviedom is written, the name of Mumtaz will figure prominently in the pantheon of stars.
Rajesh Khanna took the stage next to present the Lifetime Achievement trophy to mmm… Mumtaz. He sportingly did an impromptu rendering of their Jai jai Shiv Shankar number from Aap Ki Kasam and said, "The passing years have made Mumtaz more beautiful… It looks as if this lovely lady is going in reverse gear. Honestly I’m at a loss to describe her beauty and infectious charm."
Mumtaz, who stood there in her bright red crepe-de-chine sari looked terribly moved with all the love and praise showered upon her by Kaka. Clutching her trophy with one hand, Mumtaz took the mike to say, "I’m honoured to be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. Honestly this is something I hold very dear to my heart. Especially because the best phase of my life… was my phase in the movies. I miss it even now."
• 42nd Filmfare Award Function