FARIDA JALAL BIRTHDAY SPECIAL: INKE BAAGH MEIN ABHI BHI BAHAAR HAI, AUR HAR KALI PAR NIKHAAR BHI HAI ……Ali Peter John
The stories of some men and women , especially those who are successful sometimes leads to a debate about who is more powerful , God or destiny or both . There has been no conclusion to this debate , with a formidable and extremely talented actress like Farida Jalal still being active and around for fifty long years .
It is a strange coincidence to know that she started her career with a film called “Taqdeer” (call it destiny or luck ) . The only thing about the film I remember is the song , jab jab bahar aayi aur taare muskuraaye , mujhe tum yaad aaye ” . The amazing talent of Farida Jalal was not given the opportunity to bloom .
But , she found the opportunity to give full vent to her talent in her next film “Aradhana” in which she was a part of a cast which included Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore. Rajesh , incidentally , was the male finalist and Farida was the female finalist at the Filmfare United Producers Talent Contest but look at the difference the success of Aradhana and what it did to Rajesh and how it almost neglected Farida who was one of the leading ladies of the film and all she had to remember was that duet with Rajesh in which she sings to him , “Baago mein bahar hai kaliyo mein neekar hai ” and Rajesh gives her the same kind of romantic answers and the song ends with Farida fumbling and singing , “hai” . The song was a chartbuster, but it did wonders for Rajesh and very little for Farida . Rajesh went on to be India’s first ever superstar and To and Farida stayed on to play the roles of the sisters of the heroes for years and then slipped into playing the mother and the grandmother in countless films .
She is said to her worked in more than two hundred films , but how many films is she really remembered for ? Just Paras, Henna, Mammo and DDLJ . Thus it means that she has not done justice to the many roles she has played during her long innings in the industry ? Not at all . Would she have been around for fifty years if she couldn’t make an impact with her roles ? Ask some of the biggest stars and directors who have worked with her and they will speak volumes about her ability to exell in even badly written and badly directed films . I have heard so many leading ladies talking about how they have felt insecure when working with her, and I have heard directors talking about their ambition to direct her . One leading director who is no longer alive once told another director , ” Faridaji ek swaadist thaali Ka sabse meetha hissa hai” . And so the songs of praise for Farida, the actress have kept growing sweeter with the passing of time. But , didn’t she deserve more than or at least or at least as much as the other contemporary actresses have ? An actress of the calibre of Farida Jalal keeps raising such questions and will keep on inspiring more such questions as long as talent is respected and talked about .
It is interesting to see how Farida has kept inventing and reinventing herself. The woman who could and should have been one of the leading ladies gladly accepted chalanges to play sisters and whenever she did them , she left an indelible mark which has and cannot be forgotten easily. Remember her roles in “Paras” and “Majboor” ( she plays the sister of Sanjeev Kumar in the first and of Amitabh Bachchan in the second ) and even if one sees her performances today, it will only be with all the applause , appreciation and respect for her acting prowess .
And even when she had to change her speciality and played the mother and the grandmother in some of the most significant films of the last fifteen or twenty years, she has made her precious presence felt among the ” army” of all the stars of an earlier generation and the new.
She has even given life to characters she has played in well-known TV serials like Ye Jo Hai Zindagi” Dekh Bhai Dekh, Shararat and some serials which are known and remembered only because of her being a part of them. Farida Jalal is a name that no one can dare say he or she is not aware of or doesn’t know . If they do , they will be lying and doing gross injustice to an actress who comes just once in a way .
She has many friends in the industry , but she is very close to Saira Banu with whom she has not only worked in films , but also in her different social welfare activities . She has played the sister of Dilip Kumar who she says she wirships but has gone on record to say that she would work with him even if it was a scene in which she just had to sit in corner and keep looking at him .
And now at the age of 72 ( it is her birthday on May 14 ) she has found a role which should give her all the satisfaction as an actress that she has been waiting for . And I hope and send up a special” dua” for her to stand out and shine like she never has . Do I see God looking at me and assuring me that he may or may not listen to my other “duas”, but he will go all out to listen to this “dua” I make to him with my whole soul , mind and body.
AUR MAIN KYA KAHOO FARIDAJI KE BAARE MEIN . MAIN BACCHA THA JAB MAINE “TAQDEER” DEKHI THI. MAIN JAWAAN HOGAYA THA JAB MAINE ARADHANA AUR BOBBY DEKHI THI . MAIN AB BOODA HOGAYA HOON AUR MERI KHWWAAISH HAI KI MAIN UNKI SABSE ACCHI FILM AB DEKHOO, TAAKI MAIN KHUDAH SE UNKI TAARIF KARU