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What is the anokhi baat in this mujra-song picturised on ‘late’ Minoo Mumtaz by Guru Dutt ? By – Chaitanya Padukone

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Veteran graceful actress-dancer Minoo Mumtaz, (the younger sister of illustrious comedian-actor-singer-filmmaker Mehmood ) passed away in Toronto, Canada – Chaitanya Padukone

The otherwise ‘zinda-dil-insaan’ Minoo Mumtaz, who was nearing ‘80s, passed away on Friday night at a city hospital following various (critical) health issues and a terminal illness, as disclosed by family sources.

Born in 1942 to father Mumtaz Ali, a talented dancer and character artiste in films, Minoo Mumtaz was one of four daughters and four sons.

The extrovert ambitious girl whose real name was Malikunnisa, started off as a versatile agile dancer and featured in many films during the 1950s and 1960s.

It was iconic actress Meena Kumar who changed her screen name to Minoo. Incidentally, both Meena and Minoo co-starred in this movie ‘Akeli Mat Jaiyo’ (1963).

In this movie Minoo has a foot-tapping seductive gypsy-cabaret song ‘Thodi Der Ke Liye, Mere Ho Jaao’ picturised on her..

Although Minoo made her low-key acting debut with a non-descript film Sakhi Hateem (1955), it was only in legendary Guru Dutt’s movie that she rose to instant prominence.

In that landmark 1956 ‘CID’ movie produced by Guru Dutt the evergreen outdoor country-side location song ‘Boojh Mera Kya Naam Rey’ (sung by Shamshad Begum ) was picturised on Minoo .

And her ardent fans insist vouch that in that song she stole the show from the charming CID movie heroine Shakila.

In Guru Dutt’s ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chaand’ (1960) the rhythmic mujra-song ‘Allah Duhaai Hai Duhaai Hai’ was picturised on Minoo.

But this melodious song ‘Saakiya Aaj Mujhe Neend Nahin ( singer Asha Bhosle) picturised on Minoo from Guru Dutt’s Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) has a unique highlight.

‘ In the entire mujra-song ‘Saakia Aaj..’ the focus-limelight is literally only on Minoo’s dance movements and facial-expressions.

The chorus-dancers are all shot’ in silhouette shadow and their faces are not at all visible all thru the song.

Refuting all kinds of surmise-speculations, 84 year old producer Devi Dutt ( Guru Dutt’s younger brother) informs us that “both genius Guru Dutt and his brilliant cinematographer V K Murthy very often experimented in shadow-light contrasts whilst shooting..

This song ‘Saakiya.Aaj.’ is one of their amazing innovative song-takings which is considered among daringly unique all-time benchmarks in international cinema,” shares Devi Dutt who has produced the classic award-winning musical movie ‘Masoom’ (1983).

Devi Dutt also discloses that his elder brother Guru Dutt shared a warm bonding with actor-dancer Mumtaz Ali ever since they worked together on this movie ‘Girls’ School’ (1949) .

Later, Guru Dutt cast Ali’s daughter (Minoo) and son Mehmood in his own movies. “ Also, Minoo’s elder sister’s son Naushad is married to Guru Dutt’s daughter Neena,” informs Devi-jee.

By the way, Minoo acted as her real-life brother Mehmood ( Bhaijaan’s) co-star in ‘Howrah Bridge’ (1958) .

One of my personal favourite evergreen songs of Minoo as an actress is the endearing ‘Main Tumhi Sey Poochti Hoon’ from the movie ‘Black Cat’ .

In this lovey-dovey song Minoo is seen romancing hold-your-breath, fabulous super-actor Balraj Sahni.

Deeply mourned by her senior film colleagues, relatives and friends, Minoo Mumtaz is survived by her film-maker husband Sayyed Ali Akbar, a son and three daughters. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

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