What better way to launch a new year than with a post on one of my favourite actresses? That too on her birthday?
Yes, today, January 1, is the 78th birthday of the beautiful Shakila. Star of my all-time favourite ‘Bollywood noir’ suspense film, CID. Star of one of my favourite Shammi Kapoor films, China Town. Star of one of my favourite Muslim socials, Nakli Nawab. Luminously lovely. Friendly (as Edwina Lyons can probably testify). And a good actress.
We’ve mourned the passing of a favourite star, but now—in the yin and yang way of zindagi and maut that Anand would possibly have appreciated—it’s time to celebrate a birthday. Today, July 21st, is the 77th birthday of a very lovely lady who began a career in cinema, appeared in some landmark films, and then bagged her biggest offscreen role: as the wife of possibly India’s best-loved comedian ever. This is Noor, the beautiful Mrs Johnny Walker.
One day in 1950, Hindi film actor (and occasional script writer) Balraj Sahni was travelling in a BEST bus in Bombay when he noticed a bus conductor who didn’t just issue tickets or make sure people got on and off the bus safe and sound: he also entertained passengers. Balraj Sahni was in the middle of writing the script for the Dev Anand starrer Baazi, and thought the bus conductor would make a fine character in the film. So at his behest, Guru Dutt, the director, invited the conductor – a man named Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi – for a screen test. The test required Kazi to act a drunk, and he (although a teetotaler) was such a success that Guru Dutt gave him the name by which he was to become famous: Johnny Walker, after the well-loved Scotch.