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Thursday, September 13, 2012
‘Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon’ - Munavvar Sultana
‘Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon’ - Munavvar Sultana
"SHRADDHANJALI" on her 5th death anniversary on 15th September
Translated from original Hindi to English by : Maitri Manthan
Posters provided by : Shri S.M.M.Ausaja
Mazhar Khan's photo provided by : CINTAA
(cine & t.v.artistes association)
star actress from 1940s who ruled the hearts her audience with her eternal
beauty and amazing performances. She reached the heights of fame in a short
span of time but gave it all up for domestic bliss. Completely devoted to her
family, she moved away from the glitz and glamour of showbiz and with time her
name faded into oblivion. Even her contemporaries did not know about her
whereabouts, some even believed that she was no more. However the truth is that
though unwell, Munavvar Sultana lived with her family at Pali Hill area till 5
years back before her passing.
According to her businessman
son, Sarfaraz and daughter Shaheen, their mother was born on 8th
November, 1924 in Lahore. Her father was a Radio Announcer. Since childhood she
wanted to be a doctor and after completing school she was preparing to enter
the medical field. Around the same time she got an opportunity to play a small
role of 'Barmaid' in Lahore based
producer-director Dalsukh Pancholi owned “Pancholi Pictures” film “Khazanchi” (1941). Sung by Shamshad begum and composed by Gulam Hyder, the song 'peene ke din aaye' of this film, was picturised on Munavvar Sultana.
actor/producer/director Mazhar Khan was looking for a new face for his film
“Pehli Nazar”. After seeing her work in “Khazanchi”, he decided to cast Munavvar
Sultana as the leading lady for his film and called her from Lahore to Mumbai.
The leading man of this film released in 1945 was Motilal. Legendary singer
Mukesh started his playback career with this film. Before this he had sung
songs for Nirdosh (1941) and Dukhsukh (1942) which were picturized on Mukesh,
himself. Sung by Mukesh, his first recorded playback song “Dil Jalta Hai To
Jalne De”, written by Dr. Safdar ‘Aah’ and composed by Anil Biswas was
picturized on Motilal.
After Khazanchi (1941) in a
career spanning 12 years, Munavvar Sultana worked in 26 films as the leading
lady – Pehli Nazar' (1945/Hero-Motilal), 'Andhon Ki Duniya' (1947/Mahipal), 'Dard' (1947/Nusrat Kardar), 'Elaan' (1947/Surendra), 'Nayya’
(1947/Mazhar Khan), 'Majboor' (1948/Shyam),
‘Meri Kahani’' (1948/Surendra),
Aag' (1948/Ulhas), 'Sona'
(1948/Mazhar Khan), 'Dada' (1948/Shyam),
Duniya' (1949/Mazhar Khan), 'Kaneez'
(1949/Shyam), 'Nisbat' (1949/Yaqoob),
Rani' (1949/Shyam), 'Sawan Bhadon' (1949/Ram Singh), 'Uddhaar' (1949/Dev Anand),
'Babul' (1950/Dilip Kumar),
Manzil' (1950/Rehman), 'Sabak'
(1950/Karan Dewan), 'Sartaz' (1950/Motilal ),
‘Apni Izzat' (1952/Motilal ), 'Tarang', (1952/Ajit), 'Ehsan' (1954/Shammi Kapoor), 'Toofan' (1954/Sajjan), 'Watan'
(1954/Trilok Kapoor) and 'Jallaad' (1956/Nasir Khan).
One can gauge her popularity from the fact that she modeled for the famous soap
brand LUX which has featured every successful leading lady of her times. The
first ever song sung by Umadevi, ‘Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon’ for the film Dard
(1947) and ‘Betab Hai Dil’ from the same film sung by Suraiya and Umadevi were
picturized on Munavvar Sultana. The song 'Milte Hi Aankhein Dil Hua Deewana
Kisika' from Babul (1950) sung by Shamshad Begum and Talat Mehmood for Munavvar
Sultana and Dilip Kumar was a chartbuster of its times. Her film Kaneez (1949)
composed by Master Ghulam Haider and Hansraj Behl is also famous for being O.P.
Nayyar’s debut film. He did the background score of this film.
Films ‘Meri Kahani’ and ‘Pyar
Ki Manzil’ were produced by Mumbai’s well-known Furniture Retailer, Sharaf Ali
under the ‘Super Team Federal Productions’ Banner. In 1954 Munavvar Sultana
married Sharaf Ali andbid adieu to the film world. Her last film ‘Jallaad’
was released after her marriage. In 1966 after the sudden demise of her husband,
domestic (four sons and three daughters) responsibilities fell on
her shoulders which she successfully handled. She was now completely
disconnected from the film world and with passing only one question was left
behind – “Is Munavvar Sultana alive?”
For my column ‘Kya Bhooloon
Kya Yaad Karoon’ in the weekly ‘Sahara Samay’, I wanted to interview Munavvar
Sultana but whoever I met in this regard said “she is possibly not alive”. This
uncertainty was making me uncomfortable. One day I received a call from Shri Prem Krishna Tandon, a resident of Delhi, who had come to visit his son
in Mumbai. He told me that he occasionally wrote about old films for newspapers
in Delhi. He was an admirer of my column and wanted to meet me. He got my
contact information from Mr.Dhirendra Asthana, 'Mumbai Bureau Chief' for Sahara
Samay, who he reached through Sahara Samay’s NOIDA office. Meeting this
75 years old elderly gentleman with immense knowledge about vintage cinema was
an achievement in itself. Surprisingly during our conversation he suggested
that I should write about Munavvar Sultana. He told me that she is very much
alive and lived in Mumbai. He also gave me her contact information. Three years
ago he met her at her Mumbai Residence but given her condition, she was as good
(We are saddened that Shri Prem Krishna Tandon passed away on 15th Aug, 2012 in Delhi at
the age of 82. A heartfelt tribute to the departed soul from the team of “Beete Huye Din”.)
In the third week of March
2005, I visited Munavvar Sultana’s residence. She lived on the second floor of
‘Sehgal House’, Ambedkar Road, Pali Hill. Sitting quietly on a wheelchair,
unaware of everything, even herself, she was staring at nothingness. For the
past 8 years she was suffering from the incurable Alzheimer’s which was now in
its last stages. I spoke to her son Sarfaraz and daughter Shaheen about her.
They said – “We can’t give her riddance from this disease but try our best that
while she is around she should not have any problems, though at this stage she
is beyond feeling any happiness or pain. She is like a statue which rarely
shows any signs of life.”
Munavvar Sultana passed away
on 15th September, 2007 in Mumbai at the age of 83.
: We are thankful to Shri Harmandir Singh ‘Hamraz’, Shri Harish Raghuvanshi,
Shri Biren Kothari and Shri S.M.M.Ausaja for their valuable suggestions,
guidance and help.
to ‘Maitri Manthan’ for the English translation.