propelled her to stardom through his films. Guru Dutt’s films are marked
by certain kind of nostalgia, most evident in Chaudvi Ka Chand (1960)
and Sahib, Bibi Aur Gulam (1962). In all of his films, Guru Dutt has
shown mastery over cinematic elements, from lighting and camera-work
to film composition; and every film bears the unmistakable imprint of his
work. His brilliant career came to a premature end with his suicide,
following a protracted struggle with alcoholism, in 1964.
K.L. Saigal: He (1904-47) is regarded as the greatest singer of the
century. He was a musical genius who became a legend in his lifetime. His
first recording was ‘Jhulna Jhulao’ by Hindustan Records of Calcutta in
1932. As an actor-singer, Saigal attained unprecedented fame and
popularity through New Theatres’ productions beginning with
‘Chandidas’ in 1934, followed by Devadas in 1935. His first ghazal
‘Nukta-chin hai game-dil’ in the film Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933) became a
countrywide sensation. Saigal loved Urdu poetry and he created a new
fusion of the music and the poetry. The great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib was
his favourite. Saigal rendered Ghalib’s ghazals in his immortal voice in the
famous movie Mirza Ghalib produced by Sohrab Modi in 1954.
Lata Mangeshkar: She is the indisputable and reigning queen of the
Indian film music. She started off as a singing actress in the Marathi film
Pahili Manglagaur. Her first Hindi song, which was picturised on her, was
a patriotic number for Marathi film Gajabhau in 1944, but the first
mainstream Hindi song was for the film Aap Ki Sewa Mein. She acted in
some Marathi and Hindi films but later restricted herself only to playback
singing. She has several honours and awards to her credit including Padma
Bhushan, the Dada Saheb Phalke Award and the Fellowship of the
Sangeet Natak Akademi. The Madhya Pradesh government has instituted
an annual Lata Mangeshkar Award in her honour.
Madhubala: Known originally as Begum Mumtaz Jehan (1933-69), she
created a sensation in the Hindi cinema with her beautiful face and
characteristic smile. Her first major hit was Kedar Sharma’s Neel Kamal
(1947). Her other memorable films include Mahal, Amar, Mr and Mrs 55,
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Howrah Bridge, Jhumroo, Kala Paani and
Mughal-e-Azam. She died in 1969 at a young age of 36.