Remembering Tun Tun, on her 93rd birth anniversary today.926 views
Tun Tun, often called the ‘first woman comedienne of Hindi cinema, was a popular playback singer and actor-comedienne of bollywood.
She gave us music and she gave us laughter. Her career, first as precocious crooner and then as Tun Tun, the comedienne is her undeniable legacy, one too short-lived, the other enduring but both immortal.
she was a wonderful and versatile actress, who rendered roles with great ease and perfection.
As a paramour in hot pursuit of her lover, a mother of half-a-dozen unruly children or wife of cantankerous husbands, the actor, singer and comedienne Tun Tun was a household name in Hindi cinema. She was also, in the late 1940s, a highly rated playback singer.
Born Uma Devi Khatri on July 11, 1923 in an obscure Uttar Pradesh hamlet, and soon orphaned, she was raised by her conservative uncle, and, not allowed to study, taught herself to read and write. Her love of singing led the 13-year-old to head for Bombay and knock on the doors of music directors such as Naushad Ali – a huge figure at the time – who taught her the ropes.
Naushad was impressed about her musical knowledge and singing abilities and gave her chance to sing in films. Her debut as a solo playback singer was for film ‘Wamiq Azra’ in 1946. Soon she became an established playback singer and sang several songs in films like Dard, Anokhi Ada, Aahuti, Jungle Ka Jawahar,Naya Zamana, Jungle King, Khufia Mahal,Babul, Dholak, Deedar, Amber, Gul Bahar, Aar Paar and many more.
Later, she turned to acting, and her comic persona soon made her more famous. Rechristened Tun Tun by Naushad, she blossomed as a comedian, but challenging roles were difficult to come by. In movie after movie, down to her last, Ek Aadmi (1988) she was the female comic sidekick.
In a career which extended for more than five decades she presented numerous characters and funny situations which the audience could not forget. She created humorous scenes pairing with actors like Bhagwan Dada, Agha, Sunder, Johnny Walker, Mukri and Keshto. She acted in films of Guru Dutt like Aar Paar, Mr.& Mrs.55, Pyaasa and Kagaz ke Phool. A wonderful and versatile actress, Tun Tun rendered roles with great ease and perfection.
Tun Tun died on 24 November 2003, at the age of 80 in Mumbai.