14 comments on “Seven Favorite Dances Starring or Co-Starring Kumkum

  1. ” (And by the way, Minoo is alive and well and living in Canada now. But there is a slightly superstitious part of me that says, maybe I should not have just typed that. Stay well, Minoo!)

    This is uncanny. That was exactly what occurred to me too when I was thinking of this song – that Minoo Mumtaz is alive and well. And then I wished I hadn’t even thought of that.

    I love your list, and your descriptions of these songs. Thank you, Richard. That was enjoyable. :-)

  2. Yes, that is an uncanny coincidence, Madhu! :)

    Anyway, once again, your nice comment is much appreciated. I am particularly glad to see that you enjoyed the descriptions as well as the list!

  3. After having read Madhu’s blog I thought there weren’t any songs left.
    But the choice of dance songs gives a twist.
    Madhuban mein Radhika …is of course iconic.
    The Nimmi Kumkum dance is new to me. Nimmi’s moves are stiff compared to the fluid moves of Kumkum.
    Thinking about well being of Nimmi when one sees her dancing with Kumkum is I think natural. I had the same thoughts.
    Initially I wondered if she was still alive, then remembered a recent discussion and realised she was. Then hoped she was doing well.
    Thanks for the songs, Richard.

  4. You’re welcome, Reeba, and thank you for the nice words!

    And yes, I agree that even though Madhu and I both posted Kumkum favorite lists and even though her post actually helped me to finish mine :) , a list of dances is different from a list of lip-synced songs, so I hope that our posts complemented each other nicely, for those who are visiting both. :)

    Though actually, I was already putting together the list of Nimmi’s dances before I knew that Madhu was doing her own song list. (It’s just that I’m a bit slow. )

    I am glad that I was able to introduce you to something new – that is, the Nimmi/Kumkum dance. And thank you for confirming my own thoughts about Kumkum showing herself to be a much better dancer than Nimmi. It’s not always necessary to compare people that way, but I thought the difference between the two was obvious.

    Regarding your next couple of sentences, unfortunately, we did lose Nimmi, at the end of March. Maybe you meant to concur with what Madhu and I both said regarding our thoughts about Minoo. But that was a different dance. :)

  5. Richard,
    This is a lovely heart-felt tribute. I am very fond of her dance in ‘Tera jalwa jisne dekha wo tera ho gaya‘ (Ujala). She literally dances up a storm. She did some terrific dances in Bhojpuri films. That was natural as she came from that region. You were looking more for dances closer to Kathak?

    I understand you plan to write its Part 2, too. She has partnered in some great dances in duet songs too, such as in ‘Naache Nagin Baaje Been’, composed by Chitragupta, who happened to be the monarch of Bhojpuri film music. He also came from that region.

    You and Madhu had thoughts about Minoo Mumtaz. I contacted her son Ajaz Ali, they are all well in Toronto. You might recall from my blog, I had a chance meeting with AJ (i.e. the abbreviation he uses), and through him, had a planned meeting with Minoo Mumtaz when she was visiting Pune.

  6. AK, many thanks for that comment about my tribute being lovely and heartfelt! Thank you also for referring me to “Tera Jalwa Jisne Dekha” in Ujala. I noticed that this one was also on Madhu’s list, and it’s another one of Kumkum’s cabaret dances (but not the one that Madhu posted that had been in the back of my mind – as I mentioned above :) ). I also enjoyed watching “Nache Nagin Baje Been” (I don’t think I had seen that one before).

    I will have to look into Kumkum’s Bhojpuri songs more. Of course, I know her from the Hindi film songs, and I don’t think I really looked into songs that she did in other languages.

    It’s true that I first found Kumkum in her famous Kathak dances in Kohinoor (or I at least found her in those dances second, since I may have her seen her first doing the Punjabi-folk-style dance with Minoo Mumtaz in Naya Daur), and Kathak is my favorite Indian classical dance. But I used to be more evenly attracted to Bharatanatyam, and that’s one reason her duet dance with Nimmi impressed me so much some time ago. If not completely a Bharatanatyam dance, it certainly is influenced that way, and there, Kumkum does a particular pose that, as I said, I immediately associated with southern dancers such as Sayee-Subbulakshmi and Kamala Lakshman.

    I was actually generally happy to see Kumkum do such a wide variety of dances.

    I am not sure, though, where you gathered that I was doing a Part 2 . . . I have promised Part 2s and the like in posts before (usually without ever delivering on the promise :) ), but I had no intention of doing so here. I am quite happy with the selection of seven dances that I posted!

    Thank you for contacting Ajaz Ali and confirming that Minoo Mumtaz is well! I had seen your post about meeting her before, but I needed to visit it again today to refresh my memory. As I recall, for a while I was getting no information about what had happened to Minoo Mumtaz, but eventually, I started to see updated information from a few places, and your blog was one. (I traded messages with Anwar Ali a few years ago, because he had contacted me – here, I guess – to tell me about his blog (which was in my blogroll for a while). Maybe he was one of my other sources regarding Minoo Mumtaz. But his blog has disappeared and I am not corresponding with him these days.)

    I liked reading (again) about how you had found AJ in Niagara. I gathered from your description that you had been to Niagara, Canada, in a brief getaway before going back to Toronto (where you had been staying) to catch your flight (back to India?). I went to Niagara on my way to Toronto a long while ago, but it was Niagara, NY. I found that to be a very odd town, with lots of kitsch on view. (A weird wax museum, a very odd nature park, etc.) I suspect the one in Canada might not be as weird. Anyway, I did not really know about Minoo Mumtaz at the time, but it occurred to me years later that maybe I should find her in Canada, myself, sometime . . . Though I am not much of an interviewer, either. (A writer, yes, but not quite a journalist in the usual sense. :) ) And I am not really much at chasing after interviews with favorite old stars either. As you may know, I even bailed out on a chance to go with two other bloggers to speak to Kamala Lakshman in Westchester, NY a few years ago . . . But that’s another story altogether.

    It seems to me that you did a fine job of interviewing Minoo Mumtaz in Pune – judging by your blog post – even though you had prefaced it by saying that you are not a journalist, yourself! :)

  7. Richard,
    I don’t know how I read you are going to do its Part 2, probably I had in mind that you do posts on your favourites, not one, but two or three and more. I have lost count how many times you have done Noorjehan, Cuckoo, Azurie – but you are the go-to person for anything on them, and so many others – Sai sisters, Helen etc.

    I am surprised you bailed out of a chance to meet your favourite – not fond of travelling? I have a travel bug, and I also got opportunities. The pandemic’s worst impact for me is that I have lost a year in which I could have gone out at least twice on long trips. That interest led me to Minoo Mumtaz’s doors. Here is that post.


  8. PS.
    Just wanted to add, if you found US-Niagara kitschy, the Canada-Niagara leaves nothing to chance. Think of whatever makes a touristy town, they have put everything there: eateries, ferry-wheel, horror show, magic mirrors, observation tower, besides the Maid of the Mist, and what not. Families have good time-pass, as they say in Bollywood, for two-three days. You can walk across the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ to go from one side or the other. If you have US visa, then transit visa should not be a problem. In my last visit I had both the visas, and I walked from Canada to US and back to meet my relatives who happened to be travelling from that side.

  9. AK, re. why I bailed out on meeting Kamala Lakshman (I think that’s what you meant) . . . It’s a slightly complicated story. I felt that the two other bloggers meeting her would be enough for an interview and I would make a crowd. (And they were both visiting from out of town; I actually wouldn’t have been traveling a lot for the purpose – the interview was taking place in a suburb of my own town.) But more than that . . . There was a lack of coordination for the interview that I wasn’t happy with. I didn’t feel very prepared, and I didn’t feel like going on a mere fan visit (because that’s not how I am :) ).

    Kamala Lakshman was a great dancer back in the day (and she might still be dancing, for all I know – she was still teaching dance as of a few years ago!) . . . But I don’t know if she’s “my favorite” overall. Padmini and Vyjayanthimala, for example, are more interesting, partly because they did so much acting in Hindi films. Or i should say that Padmini was more interesting – we lost her close to 15 years ago.

    Anyway, sometimes I just enjoy the work that someone did in old films (or music or dance) without feeling a need to meet and talk to that person. And sometimes I am also happy to see somebody else’s interview without doing one, myself. I don’t know why that is – blame it on my introvertedness?

    And one more thing comes to mind . . . The day that I thought of going along to meet Kamala, I had already met my blogging acquaintances at the library in Lincoln Center and they were taking off from there. It was a beautiful day out that day right outside Lincoln Center (spring weather, sunny and not cold or hot), and I just felt like relaxing in the area and enjoying the day rather than riding an hour-plus on a commuter train back and forth right away.

    Regarding the impact of the pandemic, yes, it’s been bad for me too. I do like getting out and around and being places . . . I haven’t had much of a chance to travel throughout the world, but New York City offers a chance to have many cultural experiences and see a lot of things within a few miles. The coronavirus pandemic blocked that chance for months, and it was a hardship for me. (I didn’t always stay in my apartment, though, which would have been hell. LOL I went for a lot of “safe” walks in the park near where I live, in the Bronx, but I got pretty tired of that.) In the past month, I’ve been riding the subways again, going to a couple of neighborhoods in Manhattan every week. That helps, but I want to get around a lot more again! Only, cultural experiences, themselves, aren’t as abundant as they were before. (Live concerts and theater are banned, the libraries are not open for browsing . . . the pandemic is obviously far from over.) And every time I get on the train, I have to make sure I’m wearing a mask! I will stop there before I get too depressing. :)

    Anyway, that was probably a longer answer than you expected (though that is not unusual for me) . . .

    Thank you for saying I am a “go-to” person for Noor Jehan, Cuckoo, Azurie, etc. That’s great to hear from you because your blog contains so much intricate knowledge and the people who read it and comment on it seem to know a whole lot!

    And I am glad you added the link to your old post. I should have added the link when I referred to it.

    Finally, regarding Niagara . . . Yes, so I guess Niagara is about the same regardless of which country you are technically in!

  10. Kumkum is very good in some of the dances in the Bhojpuri film Laagi Nahi Chhute Ram. Not classical. Rather nautanki style. But her movements are so fluid and her face so expressive and she is just a wonderful dancer.

  11. Richard,
    What a wonderful post. Great tribute to the dancing star. I’m a huge fan of her’s. You have selected really excellent songs.
    Thank you for the treat


  12. Anup, you are very welcome, and thank you so much for the nice words! :) I am delighted to get such a positive response to this post from someone who is a huge fan of Kumkum (especially since I know that you wrote such a good tribute to her, too).

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