Remembering Kumkum: The Actress Who Worked In More Than 100 Films
Veteran Bollywood actress Kumkum died on Tuesday at the age of 86. It was reported that she passed away peacefully at her residence in Bandra, Mumbai. The cause of her death is yet to be known. Kumkum’s notable films are Mother India, Naya Daur, Aar Paar, CID, and Kohinoor, among many others.
Kumkum, born Zaibunnissa, grew up in Bihar. Her father, Nawab Manzoor Hassan Khan, was a landlord in Hussainabad. Kumkum started taking lessons in classical dancing from a very early age. Later, she learnt Kathak from Pandit Shambhu Maharaj. Her dancing talents went ahead to give her many breaks in multiple hit movies. Kumkum’s sister Radhika was also an actress who worked in films like Raat Ke Rahi and Kala Samundar. Actor Govinda is Kumkum’s nephew.
After her marriage to Sajjad Akbar Khan, Kumkum left the film industry to live with her husband in Saudi Arabia. She only returned to India in 1995, i.e. 23 years after her marriage. She and Khan have a daughter named Andaleeb Akbar Khan, and a son named Hadi Ali Abrar. The latter is now an established Hindi film director.
Kumkum worked in as many as 115 films in her career. She was discovered by the legendary Guru Dutt, who picturised a song for his movie Aar Paar (1954) on Kumkum. It became her debut performance in Bollywood. She soon went on to become a popular household name during the ’50s and ’60s. While she worked with a number of leading actors, Kumkum is perhaps best remembered for her films with Kishore Kumar. She also acted in films like Raja Aur Runk, Geet, Aankhen, Ek Sapera Ek Lootera, Mr. X in Bombay, Son of India, Ganga Ki Lahren and Lalkar, to name a few. In 1963, she became the leading lady in the first-ever Bhojpuri film titled Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo. She left the film industry post her marriage, although after moving back to Mumbai in 2004, she launched the first-ever Bhojpuri film magazine.
Love Pouring In
Mourning the loss, Naved Jafri, son of the veteran Bollywood actor Jagdeep, took to Twitter to share Kumkum’s old pictures. Alongside he wrote: “We have lost another gem. I have known her since I was a kid and she was family, a superb artist and a fantastic human being, innalillahe wa innailaihe raajeoon. Rest in peace kumkum aunty.”
Johnny Walker’s son Nasirr Khan too remembered the actress with a post on his Instagram: “Yesteryear’s film actress KUMKUM aunty, passed away, she was 86. she did so many films; songs & dances where picturized on her. did so many movies opposite dad #johnnywalker 2 most famous 1’s being #pyaasa & #cid she was the female in the immortal “ye hai bombay mer jaan” song with him. may Allah grant her Jannah. deepest condolences to the family. another gem gone…”
Picture Credit: The Indian Express
Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.