Saturday, March 23, 2013

SHYAMA ZUTSHI : FIRST KASHMIRI GIRL TO ACT IN HINDI FILMS


                                                                                      


SHYAMA ZUTSHI ( Born 1910-1953  )

Shyama Zutshi was the first kashmiri  Girl who joined films in 1934. She acted in many films some of which are :- 

1 Shiv Bhakti in 1934

2 Majnu 1935

3 Khooni Jadugar in 1939.

4 *Kaarwaan e Hayaat ( 1935 ). 

(*A song from this movie ‘ DIL SE TERI NIGAAH “ sung by K L Sehgal became Quite Popular . Another song “KOYEE PREET KI REET BATAA DE ” sung by K L sehgal and Pahaari Sanyaal also became popular .)

Shyama Zutshi belonged to a well to do family of Lahore . Her father Ladli Prasad Zutshi   was a Barrister. She was quite a successful and sought after  actress  but  suddenly she  moved out from films and focused on Politics and freedom struggle . 
Shyama was a congress leader and a Front line freedom fighter along with her mother and sisters . The family   was influenced by Gandhi ji's Non Violent struggle    .


                                                                          



( Manmohini , Shyama , Janak with their mother Lado Rani . All four women were front line Freedom Fighters from Punjab ) 
Shyama had three  more  sisters  Chandra Kumari , Manmohini ( Born 1909 ) and Janak .Hailing from Affluent Kashmiri Pandit family of Lahore , these three sisters were Modern , Educated and enterprising . Ladli Prasad Zushi , their Father was a  was a nephew of Moti Lal Nehru. Shyama did her BA and joined Hindi Cinema . She was the first Kashmiri Pandit Girl to join films . She finally left the cinema and plunged herself into the freedom struggle of the country .And Manmohini is reported to be the most Rebellious child in the Zutshi family.She was born In Anand Bhawan Alahabad. She happened to be a favourite niece of Moti Lal Nehru .
The three sisters usually visited posh Mall Road ( Lahore ) for shopping along with their Mother Lado Rani .There used to be a Hotel known as “ ARAB HOTEL “ in Lahore before 1947 . It was just Opposite Islamia College .This Hotel was Frequented by elite of the city including prominent Artists,writers, poets and intellectuals. Zutshi sisters would be seen in this Hotel along with their Mother . Janak Zutshi was a Post Graduate in English and taught at Govt college for women Lahore ( Joined in 1930 and later resigned ) . These sisters knew Horse Riding , dancing , Bicycling and also took lesson in Music .Manmohini was a post Graduate in History . 

Chandra Kumari ( Born 1903 ) was married in Handoo Family at a very young Age. janak Kumari fell in love with Dr Jalil Asghar and married him. She was later known as janak Kumari Asghar . Dr jalil Asghar Moved to Pakistan in 1952 and Janak also moved to  lahore where at she died in 1997.  Shyma and Manmohini were married  in well off  Chopra and sehgal   families respectively. They were later known as Shyma Chopra and Manmohini Sehgal .
Another reason for Shyama zutshi  to quit films was the presence of a fellow kashmiri Actor Chander Mohan Wattal. Chander Mohan would always tell her to quit as according to him acting in films was not meant for girls from good families . Chander Mohan Wattal opposed the entry of kashmiri girls to films .

Once Shyama zutshi was out , another girl namely Yashodhara Kathju (niece of Pandit Nehru) was next in line of Kashmiri Pandit girls to join the Indian Film Industry. Chander Mohan Wattal  tried to ensure that Yashodara also leaves the films but this girl was tough . She ignored all requests from Chander Mohan .Yashodhara Kathju acted in many films from 1942 to 1960. Chnderlekha (1948 ) and Talaaq ( 1958 )were her milestone films. She married a Navy officer Suraj Prakash Chopra and lived a totally unnoticed /
quiet life.She died in 1953

The couple had a daughter  fondly  know as Bittoni .Bittoni was born in 1947 and died in 2009.

                                                                                          
                                                           ( Handwriting of Shyama Zutshi )
Shyama Zutshi is not to be confused with popular actress of 50s -- Shyama ( Khurshid Akhtar of Lahore ).

To conclude this mini post about these  creative and nationalist kashmiri   girls , I add the poem  ‘ BIRDS ‘ written by noted Kurdish Journalist cum poet Kajal Ahmed (Born 1967at Kirkuk in Iraq).  Her poems have been translated into Arabic, Turkish, Norwegian and English. She is also well known in the world of Journalism writing essentially on issues concerning women , War, suffering humanity ,displacement of people across the countries and refugees . In her popular poem Birds , Kajal refers to the Kurds world over as Birds who had to leave their homeland in Iraq under most tragic circumstances and who are always building new nests and flying from country to country. 

( Birds )
by Kajal Ahmad

According to the latest classification,
Kurds now belong to a species of bird
which is why, across the torn, yellowing pages of history, 
they are nomads spotted by their caravans. 
Yes, Kurds are birds! And even when 
there’s nowhere left, no refuge for their pain, 
they turn to the illusion of travelling 
between the warm and the cold climes 
of their homeland. So naturally,
I don’t think it strange that Kurds can fly. 
They go from country to country 
and still never realise their dreams of settling, 
of forming a colony. 
They build no nests 
and not even on their final landing 
do they visit Mewlana to enquire of his health, 
or bow down to the dust in the gentle wind, like Nali……

(Translation from Sorani Kurdish was done by Dr Choman Hardi )

Autar Mota ..)

  

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4 comments:

  1. Did shyama zutshi also act in dramas and stage plays? can you please elaborate on that also?

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    Replies
    1. Yes . She is reported to have acted in Parsi Theatre.

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  2. It is really heartening to note that early pioneers of Woman's lib had a woman from our community as well.

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  3. yes indu ji . she was from zutshi family of lahore.

    ReplyDelete