The queen of Cabaret, the 'Amma' of Munni and Sheela

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  • Monday, November 21, 2011
  • She is not Munni neither she competes Sheela; she lived her own name which never required a fantasy name to get into the hearts of the mob. Helen Richardson Khan, the ‘Golden Girl’ of Indian film Industry remains as an inspiration for all the young and old artists of her as well as other fortes.

    Gargi Mishra

    Passion colors everything
    Born on October 21, 1939, the Anglo-Burmese beauty had two siblings. The struggle started when her father died during the Second World War. Her family came to the city of dreams (Mumbai) in 1943. It was not an easy task to run a family with the salary of a nurse mother so, Helen gave a thought to share her mother’s burden and started her dancing career as a chorus dancer. Although she had to leave her studies but her passion for dance gave her a recognition which today serves as a milestone in the art of cabaret dance and item numbers.

    The Dancing fever

    Helen started her career in dance as a chorus dancer in the movie Aawara. She got her first break in the song ‘Mera naam chin chin chu’, in the movie Howrah Bridge. When she started her career, Geeta Dutt gave her voice to the songs on which Helen gave stupendous performances. Her evergreen solo performances on ‘piya tu ab to aaja’ from the movie  ‘Carvan’ and ‘Yeh mera dil’ from super hit flick ‘Don’  and ‘Mehbooba mehbooba’ from Sholay made her the director’s choice as an accelerator for the success of their movies.

    The mantra of her success lied in her dedication towards her work and her approach towards life that, ‘no work is big or small, it’s we who take the art or a work to a new height’. She was one of the most graceful faces of the Indian cinema of her time and she could dance on any beat with the same zeal and enthusiasm.

    Munni, Sheela and the Amma…
    Yes, the ‘Golden Girl’ is the Amma of all. Be it Munni (Maliaka Arora Khan), Sheela( Katreena Kaif) , Bidi Jalaile fame (Bipasha Basu) or the Kajrare girl (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) , none of them lived their name from the item numbers which they did. Today they are recognized by the popularity of the song and for which most of the credit goes to the music directors and the lyricist.

    Helen was and till now the only bomb shell that lived her name. She is the inspiration of all the youngsters who are passionate about dance and their dancing career. The moves which Helen made the grace which she had are being copied by today’s actresses but there is a long way to get into the perfection.

    Earlier the Indian cinema did not have great technologies. The work which was done by the artists was presented in its purest form. Now we have enormous technologies, great sound systems, effects are being used but then, too, the fever of an item number does not lasts for more than a month or two.
    It was not just dance…

    Helen not only excelled in her own forte but even nailed her talent of acting in the Indian cinema. Starting from the Ashok Kumar era, she became the co- actress of the super hero of the millennium, Amitabh Bachchan and we can also see the splendor of her acting with today’s stars such as Salman khan and Abhishek Bachchan. She did almost 72 movies out of which most of them were a super hit like Don, Jewel thief, CID, Teesari Manzil, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Mohabbatein. Her latest movie was released in the year 2010, ‘Donno y… Na jane kyun’.

    Real and the reel…
    Helen shared her love wavelengths with Salim Khan, one of the most famous writers of Indian cinema. Salim helped Helen to get some of the memorable roles in the industry in movies like Don, Sholay and Dostana. She got married to Salim Khan and became his second wife and adopted a girl Arpita. The sizziling hot Salman Khan is her step son but it never appeared that Salman is Helen’s step son. The distinction was only in papers. Helen acted as the mother of Salman Khan in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ as his grandmother in law in ‘Khamoshi’ and as his grandmother in ‘Marigold’.

    The deserving talent…

    Helen did number of stage shows in London, Paris and Hong Kong. She was selected for Padam Shree awards in the year 2009. She was awarded the best Filmfare actress in supporting role for the movie ‘Lahu ke do rang’ and Filmfare Life Time Achievement Award in 1999.

    The dancing diva also appeared as the judge in the semi finals and finals of a reality show called ‘Dancing Queen’.

    In the last month on October 21st, the diva celebrated her 72nd birthday. It’s all less whatever praise we do in the name of the Dancing Queen, but you live in our hearts and will always be…

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