Kumkum, whose real name was Zaibunnissa, died at around 11.30 am at her Bandra residence due to age-related issues, her sister-in-law Shenaz said

Published: 28 Jul 2020, 6:40 PM

New Delhi: 

Veteran actress Kumkum, who was introduced to Hindi films by legendary actor-filmmaker Guru Dutt in the 50s, died in Mumbai on Tuesday, reported news agency PTI. Kumkum was 86 and died at her residence in Mumbai’s Bandra after battling age related ailments, the PTI report cited her sister-in-law Shenaz as saying. “Her last rites took place at Mazgaon cemetery,” she added. Kumkum, who was a popular actor in the 50s and 60s, starred in over 100 films during a career spanning over two decades. Kumkum, who hailed from Bihar’s Hussainabad, was born as Zaibunnissa and was discovered by Guru Dutt, who gave her a break in his 1954 film Aar Paar as a dancer in the song Kabhi Aar, Kabhi Paar. She also played a small role in Guru Dutt’s 1957 movie Pyaasa.

Kumkum also featured in popular songs such as Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan from 1956 film C.I.DMadhuban Mein Radhika Nache Re from 1960 film Kohinoor and Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi from 1964 movie Mr X In Bombay. Kumkum co-starred with Shammi Kapoor in a brief role in 1956 film Mem Saheb and played the female lead opposite Shammi Kapoor in 1959 movie Char Dil Char Raahein. Kumkum worked with Dilip Kumar in Kohinoor.

Kumkum was the stage name for Zaibunnissa, who was born in Hussainabad in Bihar, in 1934. Her first onscreen appearance was in Guru Dutt’s Aar Paar, in which she had the uncredited role of a construction worker who lip syncs to the hit Shamshad Begum song Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar.

Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar, Aar Paar (1954).

She subsequently appeared in three more Guru Dutt films, including Mr and Mrs 55 (1955) and Pyaasa. She featured memorably alongside Johnny Walker in the song Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan in CID.

Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan, CID (1956).

The Dilip Kumar-starrer Kohinoor prominently features Kumkum’s dances in the songs Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Re and Haye Jaadugar Qaatil, Haazir Hai Mera Dil.

Dilip Kumar and Kumkum in Kohinoor (1960).

Later in her career, before her retirement in the 1970s, Vinod Khanna was among the actors she romanced on screen. The song Chaand Kya Hai Roop Ka Darpan from Dhamkee (1973) was a hit.

Her most frequent co-star was Kishore Kumar, with whom she was paired in several films. Among their successful songs together is Khoobsurat Haseena from Mr X in Bombay (1964).

Khoobsurat Haseena, Mr X in Bombay (1964).

Kumkum starred opposite Kishore Kumar in several movies and songs such as Sultana Sultana from Shreeman FuntooshIjazat Ho Toh from Haaye Mera Dil and Machalti Hui from Ganga Ki Lahren, are some of their popular onscreen appearances. Kumkum was also a favourite of writer-director Ramanand Sagar, who cast her in movies such as 1968 film Ankhen, 1970 film Geet, 1972 film Lalkar and 1973’s Jalte Badan.

Kumkum also starred in a few Bhojpuri movies – 1963’s Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo was her first. She was last seen in 1973’s Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara.

She also starred in the first Bhojpuri film “Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo” in 1963.

But her popularity rests mostly on the songs that were picturised on her be it “Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Re” from “Kohinoor” (1960); “Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar” from “Aar Paar” (1954) or “Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan” from 1956’s “CID”.

She was discovered by actor-director Guru Dutt in the 1950s, who cast her in “Aar Paar” song for an uncredited role. She later earned a small role in Dutt’s “Pyaasa”.