38 comments on “Some Mystery Singers and Dancers in Khazanchi (1941)

  1. Richard,
    I saw the movie recently at Tommydan’s site, and like you I too was mesmerised by the above dance-songs. You must have realised the inspiration of the male dancer in Tori aankhen hain. Does his get-up not bear an uncanny resemblance to Mumtaz Ali in Le lo choodiyan le lo from Achhut Kanya (1936)? Mumtaz Ali would, of course, follow it up in Basant, Jhoola, Shehnai etc.

    I would be following your blog for the answer to this mystery.


  2. Thanks, AK. It did occur to me that Mumtaz Ali was an influence. But regarding that Khazanchi dancer’s getup, the first thing I thought about was a scene in a movie made two years later, Sanjog – i.e., the guy who dances with Azurie. (His identity is also somewhat of a mystery.)

    Under another version of that clip, someone suggested that maybe the dancer was Prem Dhawan, who danced in Singaar (1949). Speaking of which, look at Prem’s get-up there:

  3. Richard,
    The two dances are absolutely superb. The male dancers do seems to be the same person. Is this Prem Dhawan the famous lyricist/music director?

    One of the lady dancers in the second clip is obviously Cuckoo. Who are the other ladies?

    I found Sanjog an excellent farce and a well-scripted movie. With good songs to boot, it is surprising why this was not treated as Naushad’s first landmark film instead of Rattan, a year later.


  4. I like the cycle song a lot. Very melodious. I too though the male dancer could be Mumtaz Ali based solely on his style of dancing, but I think he isn’t. Like the way he moves his head from side to side.

  5. In Ari o mohe chhed diya, I think the male dancer is Surya Kumar, who later became quite famous as a choreographer.

    I’m as intrigued as the others about who the mystery dancers are. Hope you find out.

  6. Anu, you could be right about the male dancer. A few comments under the post say that it is Surya Kumar. But someone under the post from Sanjog said confidently that the dancer in “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” was Prem Dhawan…while wondering if he could also be the dancer in “Kaun Gali Ka Chhora Pukare.”

    AK, yes, that is (or is not) Prem Dhawan, the lyricist/musical director. It’s conceivable that he could have been dancing, since he also was a dancer. (One biography that I looked at mentioned that he had learned classical dance from a former member of Uday Shankar’s troupe.)

    But I guess the majority opinion says that it isn’t him. I am not completely satisfied that this mystery has been solved, though. And I have no idea who the lady is who’s dancing with him and Cuckoo.

    So, we have more mysteries here. (But I am still wondering mainly about the songs in Khazanchi…)

    By the way, I agree that Sanjog was a great Naushad soundtrack. I downloaded an MP3 of the soundtrack several years ago and have been listening to it pretty often. I agree that it should have been Naushad’s landmark/breakthrough film, for the music alone. I have not actually watched the film, because I have not yet found it with English subtitles. But from all the clips I’ve seen, it looks very charming and funny. (From his slapstick alone, I can see that Charlie was hilarious.)

  7. Richard, you wrote that the female dancer in “Kaun Gali Ka Chhora Pukare” (Sanjog) is Azurie, and I want to believe that. But she does not seem to be credited in the film which is strange for a movie released in 1943 when she was already very famous. Do you have any indication that it’s her, besides the fact that she looks very much like Azurie?

    By the way, I don’t think that the male dancers in “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” and “Kaun Gali Ka Chhora Pukare” are the same person because:
    – he looks much younger in Singaar (1949) than in Sanjog (1943)
    – their hair growth patterns are slightly different

  8. Hi, Mel. As I recall, in the comments below the clip for “Kaun Gali Ka Chhora Pukare,” someone asked who the dancer was and someone else responded that it was Azurie. There may have been another person confirming that, too. (Unfortunately, as you see, the clip is gone, and the comments have gone with it, too. But now that I have come back to this post and have seen that it is missing, I can put it at the top of the need-to-replace list.)

    Re. crediting, sometimes they just missed crediting the dancers in those days, even the famous dancers at their peak.

    Which brings me back to a favorite subject… In this dance from Dastan (1950), the female dancer wasn’t credited. Tom posted it about five years ago with a question mark for the dancers and then when he got suspended, he sent me a copy for my old YouTube channel, where I queried about it, too. I did that in 2010. Within the past year, someone replied that it was Cuckoo. I took another look, after a long time, and thought, who else could it be? But, no credits for her. (And this film is not even on your list, either.) That is Cuckoo, right?

  9. Hello Richard,

    On Azurie in Sanjog, thanks for confirming the comment on the youtube video. I also recall that comment, but when I looked at it recently to identify all available Azurie dances, I couldn’t find it anymore and thought that maybe I was mixing-up things.

    Sorry to contradict, but the south-Asian dancer in Dastan is definitively not Cuckoo. I don’t know who she is though.

  10. I gather from your saying “the south-Asian dancer” that the first clue is that she does not look Anglo enough… That is what I thought, too. But it’s not all that easy to see her face (at least not to me), and some of the movements are pretty Cuckoo-like. The guy who wrote in the comment under the video also seemed so certain. And he started to inform me in his comment who Cuckoo was, as though he was assuming that if I knew who she was, I would have recognized her. And I thought, maybe given some tricky costuming and makeup, she could be… Plus, he quickly confirmed my own guess about the male dancer, that it was Krishna Kumar. But, I’ll take your word for this, and let this be proof that the commenters on YouTube aren’t always as correct as they think they are. So, the comment re Azurie in the other video could have been wrong, too, but, no, I think that was right. :) Anyway, good, so now we can add the video I just posted to the list of dances with mystery dancers.

    P.S. I originally posed the question re. the Dastan snake dance on this blog on December 25, 2014, in my list for Naushad’s birthday. You actually commented on that post with information about Cuckoo (discussing her second appearance in color)… But you must have skipped over this dance. :)


  11. Hello Richard, I just found this from Sound magazine July 1949 issue, page 54: http://ahp.li/a367a03f9a0c35efa559.jpg (sorry for the very bad quality)

    The picture is obviously a still from “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” from Singaar. Strangely, the legend says it is from Chandni Raat, another movie released in 1949. I guess the editor mixed up two upcoming movies that both featured Cuckoo.
    A close-up on Cuckoo from the very same picture was also published in Filmindia, April 1949, page 51 (https://archive.org/stream/filmindia194915unse#page/n213/mode/2up). In that case, it is correctly said to be taken from Singaar.

    Anyway, the interesting part is not Cuckoo here but the male dancer. The legend confirms that he is Surya Kumar.

  12. Mel, thanks once again for your fine detective work. I guess we can say for certain now that the male dancer is Surya Kumar? But if the editor (or whoever wrote the caption) couldn’t even get the film title right, can we really be sure? :)

  13. Hello Richard,

    (you may erase this furiously off-topic comment, I won’t be offended :)

    Is the male dancer in “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” Surya Kumar? I think he is the same dancer as on this picture from Madhu’s blog: https://dustedoff.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/81.jpg. He’s just 10 years younger. And this man was identified there as Surya Kumar.
    We have also the fact that Surya Kumar is credited in the movie. If it was not enough, we have the Sound magazine picture caption I’ve shown in my previous comment. Therefore, I would say that the male dancer in “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” is most probably Surya Kumar.

    But since you’re not convinced, let’s dig into it with some 65 years old evidences…

    Let’s start with your interesting question: who wrote the July 1949 Sound picture caption? We have at least two indications that captions were written by magazine writers and not by film producers. The most obvious reason is that Filmindia and Sound don’t have the same caption for the very same picture. The second one lies in the vocabulary used. For instance, in Sound, Cuckoo is qualified by the word “curvaceous”. This unusual adjective (I had to look in the dictionary. You know now how bad my English is:) is very specific to Sound and is used in captions of several pictures from different films showing Cuckoo.
    This makes me think that captions such as the one from the “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” picture were written by somebody from the magazine where they are published. Let’s call him/her the editor.
    Therefore if there is an identification mistake in the caption, it was done by Sound editor.

    Then, the next logical question: could the Sound editor have mistaken Surya Kumar for somebody else? It’s always possible but Surya Kumar was known to Sound. Just 2 months before the “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” picture, Sound published the following picture: http://ahp.li/b9a9da399bdc84cb90df.jpg (again sorry for the very bad quality, I would love to have something better to show) The source is again from Surjit Singh website (http://films.hindi-movies-songs.com/index-books.html)
    We cannot recognize the dancers but the caption is readable: “Azurie fans, (and their name is legion) will be pleased to know that this famed Indian star will soon be touring England, America and the Continent with her troupe. Here she is seen with her talented partner Surya Kumar”.

    This caption tells us that Surya Kumar was already known as a dancer in May 1949. It is therefore highly probable that the Sound editor identified correctly Surya Kumar in the “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” picture.

    But was Surya Kumar that famous as a dancer in 1949? Again, we can answer yes. Minai in a comment on Azurie in this blog had found two important hints about her world tour that was annonced in Sound. Here are newspaper extracts she provided: http://ahp.li/ecca27c9f5a54c330a82.jpg from an article dated 10/27/1949 where Surya Kumar is mentioned; and this one http://ahp.li/a7a748b176d4f3236efa.jpg dated 10/29/1949 where we can only guess that the article is talking about our own Surya Kumar but where the man looks very much the same.
    Surya Kumar was famous enough to be mentioned as Azurie main stage partner during the 1949 world tour. He was probably not a huge star, but at least somebody that journalist/editors would know and remember.

    Last question: Why was Surya Kumar on this picture with Cuckoo in the first place? Barburao Patel once wrote on how he had to “beg” to get those pictures that illustrate magazines. They were (and I guess still are) provided by producers to promote their upcoming films. Since there was a limited number of magazines, pictures that were actually printed were very valuable to the producers. Hence they were carefully chosen.
    It’s exactly the case of the picture shown in my previous comment. It is not an extract of the movie, it was taken on the set by a still photographer. It shows the tremendously famous Cuckoo which makes me think that “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” was seen by the producers as what we call today an item-number: a song inserted in the movie to attract audience.
    In those pictures, Cuckoo was usually shown alone or with background dancers we cannot identify. What could be the value of having Surya Kumar in the picture with Cuckoo? I initially thought that he was not known in 1949. After all, even IMDB makes his carrier start in 1951. But I was wrong… Surya Kumar was already known as a stage dancer in May 1949, famous enough to be noted as Azurie’s stage partner by Sound and international newspapers.
    Now there is some logic to the Singaar promotional picture showing both Cuckoo and Surya Kumar: it tells us that this dance is not a common Cuckoo dance. It’s more “classy” than usual Cuckoo performances because it involves a classical stage dancer. Hence the audience can expect something “special” with “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya”.

    Convinced now ? :)

    But Prem Dhawan was also credited in Singaar. Where is he if he’s not in “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya”? Maybe in an another comment. I’m not sure yet if the Prem Dhawan we know was in the movie anyway :)

    BTW, Do you think that Azurie went on tour at the “old age” of 42 with Surya Kumar who was probably not even 20 at that time? Again, she was not born in 1907 but much later :)

  14. “Is the male dancer in “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” Surya Kumar?”

    Without question. I didn’t know there was a debate going on over it. It’s been known for at least several years. I first learned in a comment to Arshia Khan’s video of the song. Unfortunately, the aspect ratio is off so everyone is too thin. And the more recent comment about it being Prem Dhawan is just plain wrong. It’s not difficult to match the dancer Surya Kumar of the late 40’s with the choreographer Surya Kumar of later years and who very often appears in the dances he directed.

    I think it’s cool he toured with Azurie but I can’t make anything out in the pictures you supplied. Not your fault the pictures are so bad.

  15. Mel, it is admirable how much you are willing to dig and dig to confirm the identity of these people! I wasn’t seriously unconvinced (hence the smiley face), but now I have to be more convinced.

    Tom, thanks further convincing us. The video you posted is the same as the one that I posted in my comment of April 10, 2014 (a few places above). (This post was sitting on the blog without any more responses for a year, until Mel came along and revived it.) Anyway, if the identity of the male dancer “has been known for several years” in your sources, it hasn’t necessarily in mine. I identified the dancer as Prem Dhawan on April 10, 2014 based on a comment below a YouTube post of the dance in Sanjog (which clip has obviously since then been removed) in which someone suggested that maybe the dancer was Prem Dhawan, who danced in “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya.” That person stated this idea with great certainty (as do a lot of people who post wrong information in comments on YouTube), and since the speculation was about the dance in Sanjog and the other statement was given as a known fact, that’s how I took it. I don’t know why I didn’t consider that there were two comments, made three years or so earlier, in the post for “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya,” saying that it was Surya Kumar. Could I have overlooked these comments? Could have I assumed that the comment I was going by overrode them? Or maybe for some reason, they weren’t appearing in April of 2014, even though the time frame indicated now is four years before July 2015. Who knows?

    The more recent comment in which someone says that (s)he just learned “yesterday” that the dancer was Prem Dhawan was made in January of 2015. Where did that person get this information? It was probably either from the comment below the post of the Sanjog dance or, more likely, from me. :)

  16. ” Where did that person get this information? It was probably either from the comment below the post of the Sanjog dance or, more likely, from me. :)”

    Funny how that works, isn’t it? In articles or blog posts or comments about something from classic Indian films and film songs I constantly see the exact same points being made in the exact same words. As if plagiarism isn’t forbidden in whatever universe these people live. I reckon you’ve read Nivedita Ramakrishnan’s blog post on the subject before:


    And I know the memsaab has experienced the problem before also. Maybe you, too, Richard? Because I experience a similar problem of people taking my videos and using them without attribution I couldn’t help myself. Sorry for going off topic.

    Back to the subject – I also admire Mel and his determination, poring over those digitized magazine issues for hours on end until they are finally forced to give up some small nuggets of useful information.

  17. Hello Richard,

    Trying to find out who those people are is a interesting exercise. But it’s not really important. Frankly, I don’t think anybody seriously cares if Surya Kumar danced in Singaar or not. On the other hand, this modest “re”search helps understanding the era and these artists carriers.

    For instance, and that’s what attracted my attention in the first place: Did Cuckoo know about Azurie and was she inspired by her? Well for the first time, we have link between the two dancers: Surya Kumar who was Azurie’s student and stage partner at that time danced with Cuckoo in a film. It’s an indirect link though.

    There is no need to further elaborate, but it’s highly probable that Cuckoo and Azurie knew each other’s work and it’s very difficult to imagine they did not meet.

  18. Mel, I think I read somewhere that Cuckoo was influenced by Azurie. I am not sure where that appeared (I will have to look for that), and I am not sure where the assertion comes from – that is, was it an assumption, or is there more evidence? Anyway, I guess this warrants more research. :)

    Tom, I think I recall corresponding with Nivedita regarding that plagiarism. As for me, I recall having a whole post lifted from this blog and put into another without attribution. Actually, I think there were more odd blogs out there that did this, but I recall this one specifically because I regularly read the blog that did it. I think it was a post from early in this blog’s history, when I was doing more about contemporary musical artists. It might have been my review of a so-so album by DJ Rekha (which review itself was kind of so-so).

    I kind of shrugged it off and didn’t pursue the issue much. Maybe it was partly because I didn’t and don’t care that much about that review. But I tend to think this sort of problem goes with the territory. I am not sure how to address these issues, because I don’t want to start making a copyright claim, because I don’t like copyright laws as they exist (and you probably don’t to some extent, either). There is that new kind of alternative copyright that people talk about and post on their blogs (common something-or-other – I will look it up again later :) ), but I haven’t had time or energy to assert that. I guess it is not that big a concern in my mind, maybe because the effects of plagiarism on my own work (and fun) have been minimal.

    I wouldn’t classify the repetition of the information about that male dancer as plagiarism or put it on the same level. I did state, myself, that I got the information from a comment on YouTube, and the commenter on YouTube in the other post did state that (s)he had found it somewhere. These are quick and informal comments, and sometimes it’s impossible to name the source because the comments or posts on YouTube disappear.

    If you think that bad info gets copied a lot in blogs and YouTube, you should join Facebook! Ha! I am very careful on Facebook about fact-checking every “meme” that gets circulated, because I know at least 50 percent of them that go around are false in some way and very few people fact-check before sharing.

    Often, false information appears in articles that are perfectly well cited, these go on blog posts, and the material gets circulated endlessly. One example is the information that Sandhya was Jayashree’s sister (and therefore two of V. Shantaram’s wives were sisters). This information is clearly false, and I have written a post about Sandhya’s real sister. But the information is on Wikipedia, citing an obscure article somewhere, it’s remained there for years, and various blogs and articles repeat it. (By the way, I got an interesting press release regarding a biography of V. Shantaram that was written by a woman whose parents were V. Shantaram and Sandhya. I’ll get to that sometime in the near future…)

    And as we know, there is plenty of clearly wrong information going around about different dancers’ ages, when they started, etc. But there just isn’t much we can do about that…

  19. Hello Richard,

    About Prem Dhawan in Singaar, I think he appears in the folk dance at 1:56:30 from the movie start (the full movie is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIrTMxRquQM). A girl resembling Cuckoo is in the chorus but I doubt it’s her. I don’t know who the female dancer is. Hoor Bano credited in the movie??

    About the cabaret dancer in Kazanchi (to get back to the initial topic :), could she be Miss Gaby Hill? I’m wondering because they have several things in common: small eyes, very white skin, big nose, not very good looking etc. She’s also the right age: about 35. I don’t have good pictures of Gaby Hill so maybe I’m wrong…

  20. ” I don’t think anybody seriously cares if Surya Kumar danced in Singaar or not.”

    Don’t belittle your own efforts. It’s like trying to fill in a huge jigsaw puzzle, and you’re all the time discovering new pieces.

    As far as a possible connection between Azurie and Cuckoo, Professor Surjit Singh in his just released book on Edwina says this about Azurie:

    “She is reputed to have introduced Cuckoo into Hindi films. She is
    remembered well for her dances in Shahjehan and Jugnu. She acted in
    about 50 Indian (Hindi) films from 1934-1960 and a few in Pakistan, most
    notably in Jhoomer (1959).”

    And I have no idea where he got that information but I don’t think Cuckoo could NOT have known about Azurie and NOT have been heavily influenced by her. just as Cuckoo preceded and paved the way for Helen, so did Azurie precede and pave the way for Cuckoo. And all three (and Edwina as well) were half Indian. Which is important, I think, as there were no full Indians of the period that could play the role these women did in the films.

  21. Hello Tom,

    On the number of Azurie films, Prof. Surjit Singh may have looked at the fantastic bollywood film list by year provided on Wikipedia. I’ve no idea where the information comes from, but those lists are very accurate. They even correctly differentiate the two Sitara Devi (the dancer was not in Devdas 1935) which I find incredible considering Sitara Devi’s filmography controversy.
    Anyway, Azurie is credited in 50 bollywood movies on those Wikipedia lists. She is also credited in one Tamil movie but she was probably in several more. She was also not credited in some movies like Sanjog. Maybe she was in about 65 movies. In all cases it very far from the 200 or even 500 movies announced in Australian newspapers during her 1949 world tour.

    Talking about this tour and insignificant details, have you noticed that the two Australian pictures found by Minai (from the Western Mail and from the Perth Mirror) were taken during the same photo shoot. It’s the same floor, same curtain, same Azurie’s costume etc. :)

    Back to Cuckoo being introduced by Azurie. I’m puzzled… Azurie’s carrier is not really known. All we can say is that she was a very important movie dancer from 1934 to 1936. After that, she focused mainly on stage without completely retiring from the film industry. She disappeared in 1937/1938 because she was touring in India and in Europe. After that, she only danced in movies from time to time. She also occasionally did dance compositions before the partition.
    There is a 9 year gap between Azurie’s popularity peak and Cuckoo’s carrier start.

    On the Cuckoo side, we have no idea on how she entered in Hindi films. What is for sure is that she switched directly from a extra seen in the background for only one or two seconds, to a lead dancer. There is a striking difference with Helen who did many films in the chorus before having a solo dance (BTW Helen can probably be spotted behind Cuckoo in Amber 1952).

    But you’re right, Azurie, Cuckoo, Helen were all anglo-indian (or so). All of them were also freelancers. I agree (now :) that Cuckoo must have known Azurie. It’s also highly probable that she was influenced by her (sometimes Cuckoo mimics Azurie typical rotating shoulder movement for instance). I also agree that anyone of them paved the way to the other.

    I don’t think we have a reason to believe that Azurie helped Cuckoo’s carrier in any way. I don’t know where Prof. Surjit Singh has found this either. He has made several mistakes on both Azurie (like being remembered for Shahjehan whereas we cannot see her clearly in that film) and Cuckoo (like her carrier starting with Meghdoot and ending in 1967). So maybe it’s another one, or he just meant that Azurie was Cuckoo’s predecessor in Hindi films. Since his book is on Edwina, it’s not a big problem.

  22. OK, first I would like to say thanks to Swarup for the link, which seems to have gotten buried during the conversation. But that is a Memsaab post on Edwina, which fits right in with the stuff that follows. (And, yes, I had heard about some of this stuff re. Surya Kumar… I may have missed the blog post, but I think it was also brought up in a later conversation…by Tom. :) )

    Tom, you have read Professor Surjit Singh’s book already?! You must have had an advance copy, right? (Maybe you even got the proofs…so you could proofread the video list. :) ) I look forward to seeing the book sometime soon…

    Mel, you have raised interesting points of dispute there. Unfortunately, I think I see another inaccuracy in that quote about Azurie… I do not recall her being famous for a dance in Jugnu. Was she even in Jugnu? I watched that film, and I cannot think of where… There was that great dance in Jugnu by Latika, one of the Jewish dancers of the time (who also at some point became Gope’s wife). I’ve blogged about it before (https://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/gopes-beautiful-jewish-wife-latika/)…. Maybe there has been some confusion here between Latika and Azurie?

    Maybe Professor Surjit Singh, himself, might respond to some of this, since he comes by here once in a while. (I just recently had a brief conversation with him on Facebook.) Though, of course, he is very busy right now, and I don’t think he is in the habit of commenting here, so maybe not. :)

    Anyway, Mel, it is really fantastic how much of this stuff you are keeping track of… And I am impressed that you were able to spot Cuckoo imitating a “rotating shoulder” move that Azurie did. I wouldn’t have known about that.

  23. ” But that is a Memsaab post on Edwina…”

    This one, right?


    That is a Tom Daniel guest post on the dustedoff blog.

    “Tom, you have read Professor Surjit Singh’s book already?!”

    I was quoting from a first draft I received maybe a month ago. The real thing arrived in the mail today. Like you, I question some of the films he says Azurie was in but didn’t go and confirm (or disprove) what he wrote. I own a Shemaroo Jugnu DVD but the quality is just so horrible I refuse to watch it or upload any songs and dances from it to YouTube.

  24. Of course that’s what the post is, and that is why the information is identical to things you mentioned to me in an exchange sometime later. Where was my mind when I typed that? I was a little overwhelmed, trying to do a few things at once and was trying to answer in a timely manner, and the weather was hot. :) And I am so used to seeing the Memsaab blog as the headquarters for all things Edu outside of YouTube (plus, I had just seen her latest post about the book); I guess something just went on “automatic” for a minute there. Now I must apologize to you, Madhu, and Swarup! I could also take advantage of my role as “admin.” and revise the comments to erase all evidence of that mistake. :)

    Regarding Jugnu, that Shemaroo DVD is probably better than what I watched on YouTube. If it’s subtitled, I might go looking for it. It’s true that it’s difficult to watch, but there are so many important moments in this film, artistically and historically: The only co-starring appearance of Dilip Kumar and Noor Jehan and the only duet between Noor Jehan and Rafi; the only actual appearance of Rafi on screen (as far as we know); the appearance of Ruby Myers/Sulochana in a controversial older woman role; that dance by Latika… I had to watch it in whatever form I could find, even without subtitles and even considering that I could also watch and listen to the songs separately. But that’s just how I felt; your feelings about it are legitimate, too.

    Anyway, I believe a copy of Surjit Singh’s book is on the way to me, and I am eagerly looking forward to it. You can count on there being more words about that on this blog sometime in the near future!

  25. Unrelated question. I am curious about Enakshi Rama Rao who started earlier than Azurie. She is supposed to be dancer, had a ph.d. wrote a book and had a long career in several capacities together with her husband Bhavani. One of the films in which she acted Shiraz 1928 is available on YouTube but so far I have not seen any videos of her dances. Does anybody know more about her?

  26. Hello Gaddeswarup,

    Currently available Filmindia issues say very little about her:
    * In the April 1938 issue, there is a critic of her film Himalaya-Ki-Beti. About her, the reviewer says: “Enakshi Ramarau has given one good dance in accompaniment with the song in “Gunkali”. This
    is really a beautiful effort. Barring this solitary piece of performance, her entire work is too bad. Her diction of the Hindi language is European and it is almost perfect at that.”
    This suggests that she acted AND danced in the movie. It also suggests that Hindi was not her mother tongue.

    * In the August 1938 issue, a low quality promotional picture of her (I’m guessing) in Yangrilla: https://archive.org/stream/filmindia193804unse#page/n125/mode/1up
    (you may prefer this picture taken from Jagran’s booklet: http://ahp.li/c3c83cd92939939cce3c.jpg)

    * In the September 1938 issue:
    – Question: “Why don’t the old actresses like Durga Khote, Enakshi Ramrao, Sulochana retire from filmdom or take elderly roles? It is so clumsy to see these “grand mas” make love on the screen to equally old “grand pas”. Don’t you think so?”
    – Barburao Patel’s answer is of no interest, but the question suggests that Enakshi Rama Rau was seen as mainly as an actress.

    * In the December 1938 issue:
    – Question: “Who is Enakshi Rama Rau? What is your opinion about her?”
    – Answer: “In private life she is Mrs. Bhavnani. She is a devotee of art and has worked a lot on the screen as an artiste. She has also taken part in amateur theatricals. As a lady of culture and education. I have immense respect for her efforts to serve art.”

    * In the February 1939 issue:
    – Question: “How many graduates are there among the India screen actresses?”
    – Answer: “If you mean the University product, there are two registered ones. Mrs. Enakshi Ramrao and Miss Nalini Turkhud.”
    This somehow confirms her ph.d. We can guess that this answer was one of the source of her Cineplot bio: http://cineplot.com/encyclopedia/enakshi-rama-rau/

    I had a look at her Bollywood filmography according to Wikipedia:
    – Shiraz (1929), directed by Franz Osten
    – Trapped (1931), directed by M. D. Bhavnani
    – Jagran (1936), directed by M. D. Bhavnani
    – Himalaya Ki Beti (1938), directed by M. D. Bhavnani
    – Yangrilla (1938), directed by M. D. Bhavnani

    Cineplot, IMDB and others add:
    – Vasantsena (1931), directed by M. D. Bhavnani

    To be complete, she is also credited as the screen writer of Biswi Sadi 1945 and Kumaon Hills 1953, again M. D. Bhavnani films.

    This list is surprisingly short. Was she only in her husband’s movies??

  27. Hello Tom and Richard,

    I just received my own copy of Prof. Surjit Singh book. (ordered yesterday when I was in a far-east country, received this morning by the time my plane landed in Paris. Sometimes I love globalization :)

    Anyway, it contains a picture of “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” with a caption saying the male dancer is Surya Kumar. I’ve a little idea where it comes from :)

  28. Mel, Many thanks for the information. I think that she wrote book about dance, Minai was not impressed by thy book. I think her original language may be Telugu, mine too, that is probably why I got interested. Also, there were some from ‘good’ families contrary to popular opinion in the old days. It is possible that entry was easy for them. Either they were not too talented or it was just one of those that they indulged for a while and moved on to other things. The current query was prompted by Tom Daniel’s statement about the mixed race of dancers, I thpught that Enakshi moght provide an exction. I remember reading that ph.d was from Madras Univetsoty. Thanks again for all the details. Sorry about my English. I studied in Telugu medium in villages and was exposed to English later on.

  29. Mel, Shoraz was not made by her husband, I think. Whether she is Telugu or not, I am not sure. There is a famous Benegal Rama Rao from Udipi. Kamala Kotnis is half Telugu.

  30. Hello Gaddeswarup,

    Apparently, Enakshi Rama Rau seems to be originated from Madras. So maybe her original language was Tamil.

    She was in 3 silent movies and 3 talkies which is a very small number. It is probably not possible to see her dance in a movie since none are available (except Shiraz of course).

    I guess that in the 30’s, she was mainly known for her stage dances and her articles in various magazines. Later on, her noted book on dance may have provided her some fame.

    (my English is by far worse :)

  31. Has not Jyoti Praskash Guha established the bicycle song protagonist mentioned here as Romola Devi (Calcutta “Baghdadi Jewish”)?

  32. Hello Richard,

    I suggested a few days ago that Prem Dhawan could be in the Singaar’s folk dance (1:56:30 from the film start). I was not so sure because I did not have a proper picture of him.

    Well, here he is in the Talkie Herald, october 1949, page 5: http://ahp.li/844bb5caa3696bcff6a1.jpg

    So he was actually dancing in Singaar, but not with Cuckoo as it is written in many places. He was in the folk dance near the movie’s end.

  33. I am 100% sure that in the song “Ari O Mohe Chhed Gaya” the male dancer is Surya Kumar while in the folk song when Sheela daughter of Randhir is blessed with a son Prem Dhawan is the front dancer.

  34. Bhim Garg, it was nice to see your comment four and a half years after the last comment, confirming prior suggestions about the identities of the dancers, following my post from close to six years ago. I am always delighted to see old posts being revived by new people visiting and commenting – and it is even better if they have come to contribute information that they are certain about! :)

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