Smiling Mumtaz

pks56.jpgVivacious Mumtaz and Manoj Kumar’s pair has given a number of super-hit films to Hindi Cinema. Manoj knew Mumtaz since her days of struggle. He opens his coffer of memories of Mumtaz on her 61st birthday...

Mumtaz, born a fortnight before India became independent, celebrated her 61st birthday on July 31. This bubbly and vivacious actress defeated fatal cancer with her self-assurance, just a few years back. Manoj Kumar, who had been Mumtaz’s co-star in her successful films, refreshes his old memories on her birthday...

Success through struggle

“I have seen Mumtaz struggle a lot in her career. I was present when Lekhraj Bhakri was taking her screen test. Though she was doing films with Dara Singh, but Mumtaz was not gaining any advantage as they were stunt films. Yet, this struggle, later on, took her to the pinnacle.”

Chang of Image

“Mumtaz’s image underwent a change when she was paired with me in Sawan ki Ghata. As Mumtaz was the heroine of stunt films, it was risky in those days to take her in a social film like Sawan..., yet Shakti Samant Sahib took this risk. And when the film was declared a hit, Mumtaz never looked back again!”

Demeanour

“We knew from the very beginning that she is extremely industrious. She also knew how to give respect, as well as how to command respect. But the secret, that she was extremely cheerful also, was unveiled gradually. Mumtaz was extremely time conscious. Her most significant characteristic was that she used to grasp even the most complex things instantly. Lots of talks go on in the industry about friendships and affairs. This has been going on since the beginning... and may go on. But nobody ever said that Mumtaz quarrelled with anybody or she troubled any producer. This is why she held the top position in the industry for a number of years.”

Farewell to Industry

“Mumtaz proved that love symbolises life. I am saying this because she left everything for her married life when she was on the top in the industry. Because of this, the industry missed her for a long time.”

Family

“I know Mumtaz’s family very well. We last met around 12 years back, when she had come to my house to take homeopathic medicine. One day I read in newspaper that she is suffering from cancer. Then I saw her on television. I felt very sad. But Mumtaz has grappled with life. Because of her family, she has surpassed all that.”

Blessings

“Mumtaz is my junior colleague. She used to take my blessings earlier also. My blessings are with her on her this birthday too. May God keep her well!”

Incidents

“There were a number of memorable incidents as we have worked together, but I can recall two of them very clearly. We were shooting in Mahabaleshwar for Patthar ke Sanam in which Mumtaz was opposite me. There, Tinu Anand’s father, Indra Raj Anand who is a very well know writer, brought some producer. He wanted that I should act in his film. After listening to him, when I got up and was about to put my hand on his shoulder, Mumtaz shouted, “If you want him to act in your movie, then don’t let him put his hand on your shoulder!” Actually Mumtaz had noticed my habit of refusing the offer while putting my hand on the shoulder of producer with whom I did not want to work, after walking for a few steps with him.”

“That day, when we were shooting the song ‘Tauba yeh matwali chaal...’ from the same film in Mahabaleshwar, I came to know that my grandmother had expired. Though the film’s producer, Gaffar Bhai Nadiadwala, offered to stop the shooting, I refused to do so. But at seven in the evening, Mumtaz felt that I was trying to deceive my distressed mind. At that time she almost exclaimed, “At least stop the shooting now! Why are you unsuccessfully trying to suppress your feelings?”“

Presented by Dharmendra in Navrang, Dainik Bhaskar, August 1, 2008

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