Filmstar Mumtaz, unlike many top actors/actresses worked her way up from an “extra” to minor roles to supporting actress to main lead in small movies to solo heroine in big budget movies. Daughter of a dry fruits vendor and an Iranian lady, Mumtaz was known for her effervescence and vivacious personality. Her song “Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke” was possibly one of the biggest hit songs of any ‘supporting actress’.
Mumtaz won the filmfare award for her role in Khilona. She was a gifted actress who acted with all the top-notch heroes of her era. Amongst the highlights of her career was her magical chemistry with superstar Rajesh Khanna. They are probably the only pair who had a 100% success rate with each and every movie of theirs, being superhit. They also had a close friendship and Mumtaz said that he used to call her ‘Ae moti’ in affection. She was a terrific dancer and he was not and that caused issues which somehow they managed with camera focusing on her in the more difficult moves.
On her birthday today, 31st July, I take a trivia journey of the Mumtaz-Rajesh Khanna hit movies with a special mention of the hit songs – which made them a special pair.
Do Raaste; Rajesh Khanna was at the peak of his career and could do nothing wrong. He was unshaven in this movie as it was shot simultaneously with Ittefaq, where his character was unshaven. He pulled it off. Mumtaz and Kaka had terrific songs in this movie such as “Bindiya Chamkegi“, “Chup Gaye Saare Nazaarein“, “Yeh Reshmi Zulfein” and “Mere Naseeb Mein Ae Dost“. This movie was Mumtaz’s 1st major hit as a heroine.
Bandhan was the second movie of the hit pair. Interestingly later on Kishore Kumar became the voice of Rajesh Khanna but earlier in career many singers sang for him. In Bandhan, it was Mahendra Kapoor, while in Do Raaste, it was both Rafi and Kishore Kumar
Sachaa Jhutha, the first movie ever with Kaka as a villain was also memorable for its songs. “Meri pyaari Baheniya banegi dulhaniya” is one of the all time great Rakhi songs. “Dil ko dekho”, “Yun hi tum mujhse baat karti ho” and “Kar le pyar kar le aankhen chaar” are songs hummed even today. Vinod Khanna also played a memorable role in this movie. Later on Sachaa Jhutha was remade in Tamil with MGR playing the role which Kaka had performed.
Dushman means enemy. In this unusual movie, Rajesh Khanna plays a truck driver who runs over a man, and the Judge in a novel experimental punishment orders him to live for 2 years in the same village where he is naturally seen as a dushman. Rajesh Khanna, Meena Kumari and Mumtaz star in this movie . Two hummable songs of this movie are are “Maine dekha tune dekha” and “Sachchai chup nahin sakti banavat ke vasoolon se“. Dushman was later remade into Tamil starring Sivaji Ganeshan and Jayalalitha.
Apna Desh starring Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz gave us the creative geniuus of RD Burman. “Duniya mein logon ko” and “Rona kabhi nahin rona” were super. “Kajra laga ke gajra saja ke” saw Mumtaz- Rajesh at romantic best while Mumtaz stole hearts with “sun champa sun tara”.
Roti had the evergreen hit “Gore rang pe na itna” and also “Ye jo public hai” and “naach meri bulbul“. The movie was inspired by an English movie “Face of a fugitive” and had Rajesh Khanna playing the role of a convict trying to turn a new leaf. It was later remade in Telugu starring NT Rama Rao. This movie saw Kader Khan become a superstar writer. Earlier his fees were 21000/- but he was paid 1,21,000/- for Roti and was also gifted a television and a watch.
Aap ki Kasam, the directorial debut of J Om Prakash had all time hit songs “Jai jai Shiv Shankar”, “Zindagi ka safar” and “Karvate badalti rahein”. Rajesh Khanna plays the role of a jealous husband and his wife is Mumtaz. Sanjeev Kumar plays the role of his friend.
Prem Kahani, produced and directed by Raj Khosla starred Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz, Shashi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna. It was known that Mumtaz was getting married and leaving films, so Raj Khosla planned this to be her last film. It was her 8th and last movie with Rajesh Khanna as hero-heroine and all 8 were super hit. The movie had like all their other movies popular songs. Two of such hit songs were “Prem kahaani mein” and “chal dariya mein doob jaye”. Mumtaz says they had problems doing Chal dariya mein doob jaaye, Rajesh Khanna not being a good dancer but they somehow managed.
At the peak of her career, Mumtaz, just 27 married businessman Mayur Madhwani and left India. She made a brief comeback with Aandhiyan but then did not continue with more comeback movies. Mumtaz and Feroz Khan were a hit pair (Apradh, Mela and Naagin) . Her daughter married Fardeen, son of Feroz. Mumtaz did visit Rajesh Khanna when he was ailing and blessed him with long life, but that was not to be.