46 comments on “Happy Birthday, Cuckoo!

  1. Thanks Richard for the nice Cuckoo video flood! I enjoyed them all, especially the one from Patanga. Now, she’s one of my favorites, too. So, I also want to wish a happy birthday to Cuckoo! Without here, there probably never would have been a Helen. She was good friends with Helen’s mother and that’s how Helen got into the business. She mentored Helen in those early years and should be given credit for Helen’s successful career. I love the dance they did together in Yahudi. Its one of my all time favorites. I just posted on my YT channel a dance they did from Heera Moti @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCCxoVbOcEU

  2. You’re welcome, Mister Naidu, and thank you for the video from Heera Moti – I didn’t know about that one, and it is nice too.

    I think I’ve already posted the Helen-Cuckoo video from Yahudi before. (IMO, another sort-of-mixed movie that has exceptional dances… The Kamala Lakshman dance in that one is sensational.) I get a bit lazy about searching my own blog, but actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if I posted that one more than once.

    As I was saying, though, I thought I’d put up a few that I hadn’t posted before, that people might not know about.

    I think a lot of people know about at least a couple of the songs that have Helen with Cuckoo… Cuckoo may have helped to introduce the world to Helen, but these days, if anything, it’s through Helen that people discover Cuckoo.

    By the way, I saw one or two more Cuckoo dances from Shabistan in which I would bet Helen is part of that chorus coming out of the walls. But I still have no idea where Helen would be in Awara

  3. Every time I see a high forehead and large bright eyes, I say Cuckoo!

    I listened to the qawwali frm Zeenat first because I love it.

  4. Happy Birthday Cuckoo! She was certainly truly great.

    Cuckoo does not appear in Aahen Na Bharin, unfortunately it appears you didn’t check. In my post of Zeenat songs, I have mentioned the Kalyani-Zohrabai-Menaka (recently realised the third singer) Noor Jehan, and these four all appeared as sort of singing stars (sang for themselves in some, did playback for some, and Amirbai did a single playback)

    That is Dulhan Ban Jao, Gale Lag Jao. There we get a historical sight of Zohrabai caressing Noor Jehan and also get to see Noor Jehan, Zohrabai and Menaka together!

  5. Ava, I love that qawwali too; that’s why I jumped at the chance to include it here. But Vidur says it doesn’t belong…

    Vidur, I am looking at “Dulhan Ban Jao” now, and Cuckoo’s face appears very clearly in that song. So, I guess will put “Dulhan Ban Jao” up instead since there can be no doubt that that is Cuckoo in that song.

    However, others have said that Cuckoo is in “Aahen Na Bharin.” See, for instance, the comment by Mmwan under this posting of the song on YouTube, who says, “I see and recognize Shashi Kala, Shyama and Cukoo but have forgotten others.” There are quite a few soon-to-be-famous actresses in this song and not every face is that easy to make out. And I said to myself that one or maybe another could be Cuckoo (I’m not going into which one now. :) ) So, you see, I did check. And I assume you would know better than anyone :) , but why would Mmwan, who certainly seems to be a good enough fan of these old movies, mention clearly recognizing her? And why would she be missing when “everyone else” is in this song? :)

  6. Cuckoo doesn’t appear at all! Some others than what Mmwan mentioned are Kalyani, Zohrabai (both themselves singers also here), Zebunnisa, soon-to-become-famous Pakistani (future) actress Yasmin, etc….

    Also a great Pakistani character actress Zeenat Begum (NOT the singer) got her debut in this film’s Sakhi Aaya Sawan Aaya, getting playback from Amirbai Karnataki. Her first main role was in another Noor Jehan film, Humjoli (1946) with Jairaj as Noor Jehan’s hero. You can check out my latest 2 YouTube uploads for extremely rare songs from this film. Zeenat later appeared in some more Noor Jehan films as character actress: Chan We, 1951; Dupatta; 1952, etc.

  7. Madhu/Dusted Off in her current review of 1951’s Naujawan linked to this Cuckoo song, which I thought pretty good;

  8. Thanks, Tom, that’s a nice one too. And I wasn’t aware of it or the film before, either. (Apparently, Dustedoff posted her review just half a day or so after I did this post. :) )

  9. Helen wasn’t in Shabistan at all. Helen was a chorus dancer for only 9 or 10 months after which she did her first solo performance in 1953. Helen was a dance judge in Boogie Woogie recently where she she corrects someone by saying she began her career in 1953. I think I saw the video on youtube or somewhere

  10. Thanks for the information, Rimi. But it is perplexing, because there are many sources that say that Helen had started out as a chorus dancer in Shabistan and Awara, and there are many Helen fans who have been trying to see if they could spot her in those films. :) If you Google the phrase “Helen Shabistan,” you’ll find dozens or maybe even hundreds of sources that say Helen was in the chorus in Shabistan, including Wikipdedia. And, in fact, I’m somewhat certain that Helen said it in past interviews herself.

  11. I think there are a lot of false info about Helen and other actresses. Even her date of birth is listed wrong. Helen was born in November 21, 1940 according to Filmfare magazines but Wikipedia says she was born in October 21, 1939. She started dancing when she was barely 13 in 1953. In Queen of the Nautch girls interview, Helen says she was 16 yrs old in Howrah Bridge which was shot in early 1957. She was neither in Shabistan or Awara because they were both shot in 1950-51.

    As far as I have seen, the only chorus dancing video of Helen is this one from Sholay(1953).

  12. Yes, it is true that there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding the Indian film actress-dancers, when they started out, etc. I found that out a few years ago while trying to some detailed research on Padmini. And sometimes when the actresses get older, they get it a bit wrong themselves. I saw, from reading a few different interviews, that Padmini contradicted herself regarding what year she started, what age she was, etc. Though those interviews were in print, so maybe the writer/transcriber got it wrong. Oh, well, I guess it’s not that important in the scheme of things, but fans do want to know! :)

  13. Sorry to be off-topic, but in his book about Helen, Jerry Pinto says that she was born on July 14th 1938. And I think mid-38 is much more plausible that end-39 or end-40, simply because she has always said that she remembers Rangoon bombings (early 1942) and she can recall details of the 8 months nightmare trek in the jungle to join India. Such things are very unlikely if she were only 2 years old (or in my opinion impossible if she were only 1). Besides, she has no reason to make-up a story about an obscure movie like Shabistan, and she did actually make a breakthrough in Alif Laila (shot in 52-53). Helen wouldn’t have been the 1st actress to mix-up some very old things and to let wrong information propagate in the press.

  14. What’s most tragic about, Cukoo, Cuckoo May, an Anglo Indian, she died a slow death, forgotten and unattended. And penniless. Film industry is most ruthless. And ungrate. Now, in 2012, how can we help someone dead decades back? Tragic.

  15. The best of Cukoo was in Andaz. Her steps on Khayalon me kisi ke and her expressions on char din ki in the same song.

  16. Sorry to contradict Vidur, but Cuckoo was part of Zeenat although she was not credited. She can be recognized beyond reasonable doubt in a still from the movie that was published by Filmindia (April 1945, page 34, link: https://archive.org/stream/filmindia194511unse#page/n131/mode/2up).

    In addition, the young girl in Zeenat looks exacty the same as Cuckoo in an ad for the movie Sona Chandi in 1946 (Filmindia June 1946, page 6 link: https://archive.org/stream/filmindia194814unse#page/n405/mode/2up). Later that year, she changed her name briefly for Kishori (link: https://archive.org/stream/filmindia194814unse#page/n485/mode/2up) and appeared in what is probably her first magazine cover in August 1946 (link: https://archive.org/stream/filmindia194814unse#page/n551/mode/2up).

  17. Mel, thank you for confirming Cuckoo’s presence in Zeenat. (And almost four years after the post, too! I see that some other comments slipped by me during this time – I never responded. Oh, well.) Anyway, yes, you are correct. And thank you for the great Filmindia links. I will definitely be visiting those again!

    [Adding this note later, in an edit of the comment above: Actually, Vidur was the one who first pointed out Cuckoo’s presence in Zeenat to me. So, he couldn’t have denied that she was in Zeenat, unless he got confused. :) I have reviewed the conversation that I had with him, and I see that the conversation, itself, gets a bit confusing, but it wasn’t about whether Cuckoo was in Zeenat at all, but whether she appeared in certain Zeenat songs.]

  18. Cuckoo is so mysterious that this is a never-ending thread :) Filmindia does not give much direct information on her. She is mentionned as early as in november 1945 for a movie called Mun-Ki-Jeet (Man Ki Jeet on Wikipedia). She was probably not credited in the film, but here performance must have been so impressive that the reviewer wrote: “The most reprehensible item in the picture is the vulgar dance of Cuckoo in the presence of Prakash. The words of this song are rather unhappy and the actual pictorial portrayal of the the dance becomes vulgar and repulsive owing to the pointed gestures of the artiste. It is surprising that a man of Ahmed’s fine culture and education should have permitted this dance to go in.” I’m dying to see that dance!

  19. Hello Richard,

    So far, to the best of my knowledge, the earliest confirmed movie in which Cuckoo danced is Mun-Ki-Jeet, released 4th August 1945. Cineplot and others say she was also in Mujrim released somewhere in 1944. The earliest picture of her we have is from Zeenat, in 1945.

    I was watching Prithvi Vallabh the other night, and at the end of the movie, during the “elephant scene,” in the middle of a group of girls, I saw a familiar face! Here are the pictures, enlarged and slightly enhanced, taken from Tom’s version (superb job BTW !):
    http://ahp.li/1040bb64bec89c044860.jpg at 1:44:38
    http://ahp.li/7399873733917776a974.jpg at 1:49:58
    http://ahp.li/9e0e461b68d49b98ce1a.jpg at 1:49:59
    http://ahp.li/a9f579c0a983e3a2e5ec.jpg at 1:50:45
    http://ahp.li/2249e3650ae6d920232a.jpg at 1:50:46

    Am I getting obsessed? Maybe I’m wrong, but this little girl looks very much like Cuckoo at about 13 or 14! The scene where she appears for a few seconds was probably shot in 1942, and maybe even in 1941. So it’s compatible with Cuckoo being born in 1928.

    This little girl in the movie has a curly-hair just like Cuckoo, same for her large forehead, her straight nose, her pointed chin or her fair complexion. Her pattern of hair growth is identical to Cuckoo’s, and I can’t spot a difference with her earlobes. If she’s not Cuckoo, she must be her twin sister.

    Thinking about it, it’s “pagal”…

  20. Mel, thank you for unearthing these scenes! (Good video archaeology!) That does look like Cuckoo. I wish there were some way we could confirm this…or just get more opinions about this. (Anybody out there?) I could put all of this in a new post, up front, if you like. Or I could pose a question on Facebook. (Are you on Facebook? I have let that take over a bit too much of my time, distracting me from things like this very blog…)

    By the way, I’ve looked up Man Ki Jeet a little… Most sources have the date listed as 1944. According to some sources, it was based on Thomas Hardy’s book Tess of the d’Ubervilles There are some very nice audio clips on YouTube (with music by Gyan Dutt). In fact, here’s a whole playlist. (Do you know which song Cuckoo danced to? Maybe it was one sung by Zohrabai; I noticed that she was Cuckoo’s singing voice in some of the ’40s films, possibly before Cuckoo was matched up regularly with Shamshad Begum.)

    YouTube has one video clip from Pehli Nazar, but it is a Mukesh song, labeled his first… There are also a few audio clips. Most of the clips mention the year as 1945, but one says 1946. (This gets a bit confusing…)

    Anyway, I am sure we’ll get some more answers and maybe more of the right video clips, eventually…

  21. Richard, looking for Cuckoo is like chasing a ghost…

    Sorry I’m not on Facebook. I wrote a very short biography of Cuckoo some time ago. Unfortunately it’s in French and I guess you won’t find anything new except maybe a rather complete filmography (http://www.fantastikindia.fr/site/Cuckoo,5672).

    The earliest Cuckoo dance on youtube is from Hum Ek Hain, released June 8, 1946. Manik Varma was apparently her voice, although Zohrabai sings some songs in that film.

    Before that, it’s more difficult and I’ve not seen any of her movies or dances. I was also not able to identify the singer in her early movies.
    – I think Mujrim was the 1st movie where she was credited. I assume it was released in 1944 because its music seems to have been available on record by January 1945.
    – Then comes Mun-Ki-Jeet released 4th August 1945, with a reference to her in Filmindia.
    – Zeenat, where she was an extra, was released November 16, 1945.
    – Pehli Nazar was completed in 1945 and released in May/June 1946, first in Lahore.
    – Meghdoot where she may have been a chorus dancer was completed end 1945, and probably released early 1946.
    – Sona Chandi, with Cuckoo being called Kishori, was heavily promoted on her in 1945 and completed early 1946. It had troubles with the board of censors and if it was released, it was not before end 1947. Two dances had to be edited out. Very sad for the only movie where she was teamed with Kamla…
    – Then come Circus King and Arab Ka Sitara maybe also in 1946 but I’ve not been able to find anything on those movies.

    There is no sign of Cuckoo in other regional cinemas (she was much later in two pakistani movies but it was most probably dances shot in Mumbai). There is also no indication of stage performances, which is something Auzurie did.

    The two movies where she was just an extra, Zeenat and Prithvi Vallabh, were shot in Mumbai. If her presence is confirmed, it is interesting to note that Cuckoo did not start as a chorus dancer like Helen did.

    So, the best guess is that she was from Mumbai or moved there at a very tender age, and stayed there all her career.

    I’ve no idea on how she entered the movie industry. Maybe her family just lived near a studio, like Mehmood…

  22. My mother had told me long ago that in “Mun ki Jeet” it was Cuckoo dancing in front of villain Prakash in the highly controversial song “More jubna ka dekho”. She even told me the dress she had worn in that song had extra attention on the “jubna” or breasts with those typical pointed covers and Cuckoo kept on heaving them!!!!
    Cuckoo can also be seen in “Humayun” where Veena holds her tight at the time of death of Emperor Babar enacted by actor Shahnawaz. Cuckoo was acting the role of the sister of Humayun and was called Gulbadan.
    Cuckoo can also be seen in “Laila Majnu” in several scenes where girls are brought in front of the hero Nazir and she also had a full dance in this film but without a song- only background music.
    I have myself seen Cuckoo in “Pehli Nazar” dancing with two artistes in the lovely and enjoyable song “Khan kabul se aya hai wai wai wai”. It was like a drama song showing Cuckoo being wooed by a Pathan until the huge Pathani wife arrives and drives the hell out of the two.
    In “Zeenat” she is seen in the bridal song caressing Noorjehan.
    You can also see her in “Hum ek hain” dancing near the river bank in the scene where Dev Anand first meets the heroine Kamla Kotnis.
    However her first hit song was in “Mirza Sahiban” in 1947 where she dances on “Samne gali mein mera ghar hai” in front of the groom Rama Shukul. After that it became like a brand issue to have her in a film.
    Its so sad that films like “Mun ki Jeet” amd “Pehli Nazar” are clearly available in the Film Institute of Pune and no one is trying to make an attempt to make them into DVD or CDs.

  23. Sami, thank you for all this information, to add to the incredible resource of Cuckoo information that I have gotten from Mel and others…

    Strangely enough, I was able to rent Humayun from the New York Public Library for a few weeks… Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to watch it all the way through. (I couldn’t renew it because someone else had reserved it. So Humayun (1945) is in demand at the New York Public Library, Mid-Manhattan Branch. That’s interesting… Maybe the person who reserved it reads this blog, too. :) ) Anyway, if only I had been able to hold it for another week, I could have looked for Cuckoo there after reading your message.

    The scene with Cuckoo in Zeenat is in the last of my clips in the body of this post, above. Yes, it was fun spotting her there.

    I have seen her song in Mirza Sahiban a few times. Our friend Tom Daniel (Tommydan on YouTube) uploaded a pretty nice version of that film and its songs. Actually, I had seen a few versions of that song for a few years before he did that. That’s always fun to watch, too, especially with Gope there! :)

  24. “Its so sad that films like “Mun ki Jeet” amd “Pehli Nazar” are clearly available in the Film Institute of Pune and no one is trying to make an attempt to make them into DVD or CDs.”

    I’ve wondered about this myself. Since the Indian home media companies can’t be counted on to release these films, even in the horrible versions they usually make available, I would think the NFAI would make every attempt to release on DVD all restored public domain films in their possession. That way they could at least make some money to fund their research and preservation efforts. And although they show their films from time to time around the country and have released the silent film DVD they, apparently, have no intentions of releasing more. I would love to be proved wrong.

    Thank you, Sami, for that very nice post.

  25. Sami, I did not see your great post. What a memory!

    You’re absolutely right: Cuckoo was in Humayun. Here is a picture taken from the Youtube version of the movie: http://ahp.li/6f1941d26e43980a014c.jpg

    (Dustoff suspected this almost 4 years ago, but the information went apparently unnoticed).

    Sami’s post allows to give the following list of Cuckoo first films:
    * Prithvi Vallabh, released October 15, 1943, source=conjecture by Mel with pictures from the film
    * Mujrim, released somewhere in 1944, source=Cineplot+Wikipedia
    * Laila Majnu, released May 4, 1945, source=Sami’s post
    * Humayun, released May 25, 1945, source=Sami’s post with a picture from the film
    * Mun-Ki-Jeet, released 4th August 1945, source=Filmindia
    * Zeenat, released November 16, 1945, source=pictures from Filmindia and the film
    * Meghdoot, released end-1945 early-1946, source=Sami’s post + several Cuckoo’s filmography

    Expect the “Prithvi Vallabh case” for which there is a doubt (a small one for me), the preceding picture from Humayun is probably the earliest Cuckoo picture available today (Humayun and Zeenat were shot at about the same time, Humayun having started earlier). She was about 16.

  26. Richard, Man Ki Jeet had very popular songs which are still melodious. ‘nagri meri kabtak”, dil kaahe ghabraaye”, ‘humko nazar lagjayegee, “jubna ka”As a child we had a wind up gramophone player and could afford only a few records, we had this one and heard it numerous times.

  27. Kumar, thank you for the song titles and the nice description… When I was a child, my grandmother had a wind-up gramophone that played ’78s. Actually, it’s still sitting in my mother’s apartment, but I don’t think anybody’s tried it in many years. And I never had the chance to hear old Hindi film music on that gramophone. As I recall, the only 78 RPMs that my grandmother had available to play were the folk songs of Burl Ives and a nice stack of recorded performances by the Red Army Choir. :)

  28. Sami, you were right about Laila Majnu (1945). Cuckoo was there: http://ahp.li/0e979a8dba3bd1d2dd76.jpg

    The youtube version of the movie is very bad and it was difficult to find her. She seems to appear just once for about a second. Maybe her dance performance was edited out :-(

    By the way, I just realized that Cuckoo was in two “Laila Majnu”. The second one is from 1953 with Nutan and Shammi Kapoor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqvF4shdmsc She opens the movie with a lovely song and plays a small role just after the dance.

  29. Hello Richard, look at what I’ve just found: http://ahp.li/09b25bebe2f94bf49425.jpg

    Dance director is Prof. More AND an artist called “Kukoo” is credited in the supporting cast! This was published in the July 1945 issue of the Talkie Herald, page 48.

    It’s the earliest reference to Cuckoo’s name I’ve ever seen. And by an extraordinary coincidence, it is in a movie where dances were choreographed by the mysterious Prof. More!!

    P.S. Main Kya Karun was released 12th July 1945 in Bombay.

  30. Thanks, Mel. Excellent find!

    It’s too bad that it’s impossible to see her dance from this film on YouTube (or anywhere). In fact, there are no scenes available. But there are a couple of audio clips up – some nice songs by Suraiya.

  31. Hello Richard,

    Yes, it’s really frustrating when the video is not available.

    Let’s cry together with that one: https://archive.org/stream/filmindia194814unse#page/n137/mode/2up (left page, ad for Shravan Kumar 1946). The dance master is K.S. More, nothing extraordinary. But look at who is in the supporting cast… a new name… just after Majjid.

    If the movie was available, I imagine we could actually see him. How frustrating!

  32. Yes, Mel, each of your new discoveries brings new frustration. Just kidding… It’s good that you are unearthing this stuff. Maybe the films are not gone forever. A lot have been resurfacing in recent times. It used to be, several years ago, that I could hardly find vintage-era films anywhere, especially not pre-1947 and especially not English-subtitled. But many more have come to the surface, possibly because of the historical interest stirred by the “Bollywood” centennial in 2013 (that is, in addition to the ones that are on YouTube because of Tom). So, you never know…

  33. Richard, for sure movies will surface. But unfortunately, more than 98% of silent movies and early talkies are lost forever. This includes the first one (only parts of Raja Harishchandra (1913) have been kept), the 1st talkie, the 1st color film etc. This means that we will probably never see stars like Zubeida, Patience Cooper or Sulochana in their full grandeur. Very sad indeed…

    On the other hand, indiancine.ma gives access to probably all kept silent movies. YT and indiancine.ma allow us to see a large chunk of the production that is still available. Some important films are missing like Al Hilal (Judgment of Allah) which should contain early Azurie dances, and Mun-Ki-Jeet which contains a shocking dance by Cuckoo. But they are around somewhere (NFAI has them) and I’m sure we will be able to see them someday.

    Even better, more than 50 full movies with Cuckoo dances are currently available on the Internet. That’s 1/3rd of all Cuckoo movies! The video quality of most of them is extremely poor and even worsen by stupid cropping and crappy logos. But thanks to Tom’s magic, some are watchable by non die-hard fans.

    Frustration arises when searching for a forgotten dance master like K.S. More (BTW I now think that the ‘K’ stands for Keshavrao, but I’ve still no clue for the ‘S’) or early Cuckoo’s appearances. Small details surface very slowly and it’s awfully difficult to draw an accurate representation of her carrier’s beginning.

  34. Mel, I wanted to get back to you sooner in response to some of your comment above. But I wanted to check out Indiancine.ma more than I have so far. The list looks impressive, but I have to admit, when it comes to actually finding things and figuring out the best way to view them, etc., these sites (Indiacine.ma and Pad.ma) seem a bit daunting to me.

    I had a short conversation on Facebook with Cassidy aka Minai (of Cinema Nritya Gharana) about the version of Uday Shankar’s Kalpana on Pad.ma vs. the one on that’s now on YouTube… Cassidy had added some annotations to the one on Pad.ma and was asserting that this was technically the better one. But she also agreed that it was not at all “user friendly.” And this is the problem… The one on YouTube is a little shakier, but it is so much easier simply to go to that and play the video with one click!

    So, anyway… I would welcome suggestions of silent Indian films (or other vintage rarities) that could be found on YouTube, or maybe Vimeo. (Dailymotion, too, but it’s been acting a little erratic in my old computer/laptop recently.) I’ve found very little in the way of silent Indian films on YouTube – no more than a couple them (including the one Tom posted, and the compiled “fragments” of Raja Harishchandra)… I’d love to find some more!

  35. i would very much like to get in touch with Richard ,Mel or both this is regarding Cuckoo very very personal. regards

  36. Guddi, this looks interesting.

    To Guddi and everyone else who wants to contact me, I have instructions about doing that at the bottom of the blog’s right sidebar. (If you are reading this comment, start scrolling up, and it will be the first thing you hit on the right.)

    I generally don’t like giving my e-mail address in specific comments (especially using the “at” sign). I have had lots of spam troubles and who knows who will pick up what? I don’t know if it makes a difference, but I figure people do have one place where they can look if they want to contact me.

    But f I don’t hear back from you shortly, I probably will look back into the comment edit function and contact the e-mail address that I have for you.

    I wouldn’t feel right just giving out Mel’s contact information. (Though I guess I have his e-mail address in the comments edit function, too. He hasn’t shown up here for so long; maybe I should try to contact him…)

    Anyway, it would be great if you could give a little hint regarding this information that you have…. And if it’s so personal, does that mean it can’t be shared? (I would hope it’s something we could share here. Otherwise, it will be only to satisfy personal curiosity. Unless you are providing another contact, who can provide something that can be shared…)

    But I guess I am getting ahead of myself here. I look forward to finding out more about this one way or another.

  37. Richard thank you so much for such a quick response ,when i say personal it really is personal . My father who was in the Royal Indian Navy highly decorated ; became involved with the movie world in Bombay and than Lahore he had a relationship with c Cuckoo ,who would stay with him in Lahore in a flat in Lakshmi Chowk and in Rawalpindi in his bungalow and she wild perform at Falettes hotel etc this was all confirmed by the relatives who have died and my father himself ; he was a muslim but always carried a small cross on a gold chain i presume it belonged to her.i am trying to solve the family treason in 1971 while in London he wrote to a very loving letter but never posted it .after his death the cross and his paper was destroyed by the elders WHY and there are many other questions to be answered and was hoping for your help my telephone no is 00447801250788 kind regards >

  38. Guddi, thank you for sharing this very interesting story. I would not know how to solve that mystery! I am going to write to Mel (unless you are reading this right now, Mel) and maybe he or someone else might be able to offer some more helpful words.

    In general, I have really only searched for information about Cuckoo’s artistic/dance connections and the story behind her becoming the great dancer that she was. The connection to her husband (or the man we are pretty sure was her husband) is very interesting, because, as a choreographer, he might have helped her a great deal in developing that art.

    There is another post – a sequel to this one – where a lot more details about her life and her early career are mentioned. Have you seen that one? It is at:


    I am still waiting for one comenter, Jaya, to send more information re. the stories she heard within her own family about Cuckoo’s husband.

    I wonder how close in time the dates of her affair with your father (if that is, indeed, what happened) were to the time of Cuckoo’s (likely) marriage to the choreographer. I hope that the times didn’t overlap! :)

  39. Richard the years have to be 1945 to 1953 as the war ended in 1945 and my father got [forced] to marry in1952, I did try to get in touch with Helen ,for i am sure she must have been privy to this relationship ,but received no response ,i would still like to get in touch ,it is important for me to find the jigsaw pieces .Another thing my father was a part of the Burma campaign and had been to Rangoon. regards >

  40. Guddi, these were Cuckoo’s peak years in cinema. She was involved in the Bombay film industry. But you mentioned her staying in Pakistan and performing in a hotel in Pakistan. Partition happened in 1947. Why/how would Cuckoo have gone on long trips to Pakistan and performed in a hotel there while she was the biggest dancer in the Bollywood film industry at the same time, performing in tons of Bollywood films, especially right after independence and partition? There is also the matter that we’ve kind of concluded here that she was probably married to K.S. Moray for a while, and during this time, she was in some films for which he was the choreographer.

    Are you sure the dancer/actress was Cuckoo? Something here isn’t adding up.

    But I really can’t say any more about this. My knowledge of Cuckoo is what you see here. I’m not even in India or Pakistan; I live in New York City, and I’ve learned about a few things in the relatively recent past from becoming a big fan of these old films and dances and doing this blog. :)

    Maybe someone else will have some thoughts about this. I can’t think of any way I could help you to solve this mystery.

  41. Richard i can understand where you are coming from and it does make sense,and these are the pieces i am trying to find,having said that my father ,his friends ,family and colleagues have confirmed,hinted including my mother who would never let him forget, it was brought up in every fight .she was not a permanent resident in in Pakistan would visit and drew masses to watch her one dance, my father was a very handsome man ,very rich and extremely resourceful with connections,if you ever find anything on the subject i would be grateful for your feed back .best regards >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s