Celebrated actor ,villain,and character-artiste Pran Sikand started his film journey wirth ” Yamla Jatt( the naive Jatt) in the late 1930s.The film was produced D.M.Panchol and directed By S.P.Bakshi.Its cast included among others,Ismail,who later came to be regarded as ‘the prithviraj Kapoor of pakistani cinema’ & Noorjehan. She was barely in her teens. Pran played the Western-educated pampered son of a rich village jagirdar & Noorjehan a city-bred,voluptuosly-endowed daughter of a tycoon. Pran’s real break ,however,came in “Gul-e-Bakawali” based on a tale from the famed “Arabian Nights’. Pran & Noorjehan played the lead.
After the partition the industry received a heavy set-back and was almost into shreads.In late 1950s & early 1960s Nishi ( now Mrs Raj Kumar Kohli) took the command as the leading lady in “Bhangra'( 1960) an all-time-musical-hit, followed by Premnath & Balraj Sahni starrers “Jatti Punjab Di “& “Satluj De Kade” .She played the second fiddle in Hindi films like “Main Nashe main Hoon,” Phagun”, “Railway Platform” , & “Boy Friend”.One of her Hindi hits was “Lootera”( 1965) opposite Dara Singh with veterans like Prithviraj Kapoor,Leela Mishra & Jeevan with a lovely song “Kisi Ko Pata Na Chale Baat Ka,Ki Hai Aaj Vaada Mulaqaat Ka”.Indira Billy was another actress who ruled the roost starting with “Shri 420” followed by roles in “Funtoosh” (1956), “Yahudi (1958), and “Dil Deke Dekho” (1959).This was followed by two Punjabi movies,”Do Lacchian” and “Kiklee”. All these film were positively received by the cine-goers.Her husband Shiv kumar,an actor-director,owned Kumar Cinema at Chandni Chowk where I saw many films between 1959 to 1963. Interestingly,Nishi,too, lived with her sister in the back of my house at West Patel Nagar,New Delhi before she went away with Rajkumar Kohli.
The Punjabi film industry remained in shackles for many years because of reasons many-until another lovely actress Daljit Kaur, rose like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes to team up with a robust Punjabi lad Veerendra to lend colours & renewed passion to Punjabi Cinema.Born at Siliguri in West Bengal & having had her schooling at a Convent, the babe left off to join FTII Puna for pastures new.
“Daaj”, directed by Dharam Kumar, featuring Dheeraj Kumar,Madan Puri & Manmohan Krishan with Daljit Kaur as heroine ,could rightly be said her debut film. It did well on the box office front thereby pushing her career .Some believed Daljit kaur was awesome in the film.Buta Singh Shaad’s ” Saida Jogan” ( 1979) Starring Satish Kaul ( May His Soul Rest in Peace),Veerendra & Daljit Kaur was followed by Director Hari Dutt’s “Mamla Gadbad Hai”( 1984) starring Gurdas Mann opoosite her ,supported by comedy king Mehar Mittal was another successful film ,a musical hit. Jagjit Gill’s ” Putt Jattan De” starring Baldev Khosa & Daljit in key roles with Hindi stalvarts like Dharmendra & Shatrughan Sinha adding grandueur to the production value.Produced with a budget of 10 lakh, it reportedly collected 80 lakh .Surinder Shinda and Mohammad Sadiq did acting & singing as well in the film which was declared a blockbuster.
Daljit Kaur also called ‘Hema Malini of Punjabi Cinema’ ,has not had an illustrious career in Bollywood. She got a raw deal in most films starting with Sunil Dutt,Reena Roy starrer “Yaari Dushmani”, “Dacait” & “Jeene nahi Doonga”. Few failed to take off & some were shelved later.She however, carved a nice niche in Punjabi films & enjoyed stardom.
“Kee Banu Duniya Daa” ( 1986),directed by Jagjit starring Gurdas Mann, Daljit Kaur & Manjit Mann was another socio musical film shot at & around Chandigarh.Ravinder Ravi’s ” Anakh Jattan Di ” ( 1990) featuring Guggu Gill ,Daljit & Yograj Singh was another mentionable film of of the actress. Daljit Kaur also worked in “Sarpanch”,” Nimmo”, Surinder Walia’s ” Jidd Jattan Di”( 1993), “Mahaul Theek Hai” (1999)”Jee Aayan Nu” (2003), “Punjab Bolda” (2013) ,”Vairi Jatt” ( 1985 ) & “Patola( 1988),” the last two opposite Veerendra in the lead.I met the actress in mid 1980s, on way to Batala with Babu Singh Mann,Iqbal Channa & Kuldeep Singh Bedi, albeit brief during the shooting of Shashi Puri starrer “Shareeka” at a village enroute.Later ,she attended a function at Batala & exchanged pleasantries with us as we were invited there ,too.
Sadly enough,the lovely actress has been undergoing treatment for ‘Dementia’, a disease characterized by mental impairment affecting memory,thinking, behaviour,language & judgement or any two of these .I had sent a message to her for an early recovery some time back.I had received a reply. Through this write up I wish her the Best in Life.