Friday, December 2, 2022

10 Impactful Minoo Mumtaz Songs

On October 23, actress Minoo Mumtaz passed away, leaving behind a string of memories for followers of old Hindi films. As a dancer, and then as a character actress, she had created an impact in many short but significant roles.

A lot of wonderful songs were also picturised on her, mainly featuring her dance performances or her comic appearances. Here we choose 10 such songs, and mention a few more notable ones at the end. The order is chronological.

Minoo was comedian Mehmood’s sister. She was 79, and breathed her last in Brampton, Canada.

1 Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re – CID (1956)

Brilliantly picturised on Minoo, this song also featured Dev Anand, Shakila and a group of dancers. Shamshad Begum’s singing was backed by excellent choruses. O.P. Nayyar composed the tune written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, who began, “Boojh mera kya naam re, nadi kinare gaaon re, peepal jhoome morey angana, thandi thandi chaanv re”.


2 Aji Chale Aao – Halaku (1956)

This song was all about coordination – between dancers Helen and Minoo, and singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle Shankar-Jaikishen composed the music, with Shailendra writing, “Aji chale aao, aji chale aao, tumhein aankhon ne dil mein bulaaya, ab toh samajh jaao, ab toh samajh jaao, kyon nigahon ne parda giraaya”.

3 Reshmi Salwar – Naya Daur (1957)

Once again, there was excellent coordination as Minoo and Kumkum did a dance duet. Vocals were by Asha and Shamshad, with Nayyar composing the music with a Punjabi folk touch. Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi wrote, “Reshmi salwar kurta jaali ka, roop saha na jaaye nakhrewaali ka”. Dilip Kumar made an appearance too.

4 Main Hoon Mr Johnny – Mai Baap (1957)

Though the focus of this song was Johnny Walker, and it was a Mohammed Rafi solo, Minoo came up with a fantastic performance, doing a western dance jig. Her facial expressions were amazing too. Music was by Nayyar and lyrics were by Qamar Jalalabadi. The pair was also fabulous on ‘Dekho Ji Dekho’, penned by Jan Nisar Akhtar.

5 Gora Rang Chunariya Kaali – Howrah Bridge (1958)

Mehmood and Minoo did a comic street dance with Madhubala also making an appearance. The song was sung by Rafi and Asha, with Nayyar providing music. Jalalabadi wrote, “Hoye gora rang chunariya kali, motiyon waali ki dil mera”. The film had the famous ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo’, filmed on Helen, and ‘Aaiye Meherban’, with Madhubala.

6 Main Tumhi Se Poochti Hoon – Black Cat (1959)

One of the most romantic songs filmed on Minoo, it also featured Balraj Sahni. Lata sang it beautifully, with N Datta coming up with a simple and memorable tune. Jan Nisar Akhtar wrote, “Main tumhi se poochti hoon, mujhe tumse pyaar kyon hai, kabhi tum daga na dogey, mujhe aitbaar kyon hai”.

7 Sabaa Se Yeh Keh Do – Bank Manager (1959)

Instead of his regular choice Lata, music director Madan Mohan opted for Asha for this melodious ghazal filmed on Minoo in a mehfil. Lyricist Jalal Malihabadi wrote, “Sabaa se yeh keh do ke kaliyan bichhayein, woh dekho, woh jaan-e-bahaar aa raha hai, chura le gaya jo in aankhon ki neendein, wohi leke dil ka qaraar aa raha hai”.

8 Jaanu Jaanu Re – Insaan Jaag Utha (1959)

Sharing the screen with the gorgeous Madhubala, Minoo gave a marvellous performance herself. Geeta Dutt and Asha combined beautifully on this frothy S.D. Burman composition. Lyricist Shailendra wrote, “Jaanu jaanu re, kaahe khanke hai tora kangana, main bhi jaanoo re, chupke kaun aaya tore angana”.

9 Saaqiya Aaj Mujhe – Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)

Asha’s voice went perfectly with Minoo’s personality on this mujra composed by Hemant Kumar. Shakeel Badayuni wrote the lines, “Saaqiya aaj mujhe neend nahin aayegi, suna hai teri mehfil mein ratjaga hai, aankhon aankhon mein yoon hi raat guzar jaayegi, suna hai teri mehfil mein ratjaga hai”.

10 Yeh Cycle Ka Chakkar – Akeli Mat Jaiyyo (1963)

This song was an example of her comic timing, as Minoo was paired opposite Agha. Madan Mohan created the tune, with Majrooh Sultanpuri writing, “Yeh cycle ka chakkar, kabhi aage kabhi peeche”. Asha and Rafi sang this duet which used a bicycle as a metaphor for different situations.

While these 10 songs were representative of Minoo’s abilities as a performer, there were others where her dancing brilliance came to the fore. Examples were ‘Dhake Ki Malmal Maangna Balam Ji’ in Dushman, ‘Jaa Re Jaa Re’ in Duniya Na Maane and ‘Bedardi Mere Saiyyan’ in Chaudhvin Ka Chand and ‘Tumhari Kasam Tum Bahut Yaad Aaye’ in Gaban. While Asha sang the first three songs, Lata sang the last one.

Asha also sang the under-rated ‘Jaan-e-jaana Yun Na Dekho’, filmed on Minoo and Dara Singh in Faulad. And while Asha sang more songs for her, even Lata and Shamshad suited her personality. Thank you for the memories, Minoo Mumtaz.

Narendra Kusnur
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon, so to speak, Naren, who dubs himself Kaansen, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier.

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