Scanning through the old newspaper scrapbook of neighbour R P Mathur, one came across this interesting portrait of film actresses by Milind Mokashe, who have had their day but were the heart-throb of thousands if not millions.
Among them were Noor Jahan, Suraiya, Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Chand Usmani, Leela Naidu, who was briefly married to Dom Moraes, Hunterwali Nadiya, Bina Rai, of Anarkali and Taj Mahal fame, fairy-like Begum Para, ravishing Waheeda Rahman, Dev Anand’s wife Kalpana Karthik, Sashikala, Nalini Jayanth, vivacious Mumtaz, who was recently in the news because of a rumour of her death in Rome, Nutan, dream-girl Hema Malini, Mala Sinha, who had three wedding ceremonies ~ Christian, Hindu and court registration, heart-wrencher Asha Parekh, shimmering Saira Banu, nursing sick husband Dilip Kumar, evergreen Vyjayanthimala, still active at 83 as a Bharatanatyam teacher and relaxing by playing golf in Delhi, Sharmila Tagore, bewitching in many roles, especially in Amar Prem and Aradhana, Nanda, who died a spinster after the death of her chosen groom Manmohan Desai, fascinating Nimmi, Sadhana, with a hair style that became a craze, Nigar Sultana, dusky Shyama, charming Suchitra Sen, Shakeela, Sandhya, wife of V Shantaram, Shammi, Amita, Babita, much-lamented Sridevi, Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman, Zarina Wahab, Shabana Azmi and Vidya Sinha.
The Nargis-Raj Kapoor affair is the stuff of legends and so also Asha Parekh’s love for Nassir Hussain, after which she preferred to remain unmarried. But the Suraiya-Dev Anand love story is more than a legend; it’s a throbbing tale that still titillates, especially when one remembers that Dev took Suraiya’s icon, Gregory Peck, to meet her at midnight when she was woken up from deep slumber. Waheeda Rahman in Chaudwin-ka-Chand and Guide did not bowl over only Guru Dutt but also countless fans. Mala Sinha may not have been cast in his films by Yash Chopra because he thought she had a potato-like face, but is the stuff of fantasy. Quite a few of these one-time heroines may not be around any more but can they be forgotten? Meanwhile, Mathur Sahib, 87-year-old music and film-buff, has gone away to convalesce at his daughter’s place in Mumbai after the death of his wife, but his collection of records stays in the DDA flat he owns in Mayapuri.