A passionate outpouring of love

Suraiya was the last of the singing stars in Bollywood. She had a good screen presence, very expressive, prominent eyes and emoted better than some of her peers. She had a unique (if slightly nasal) singing voice and has several unforgettable roles and scores of songs to her credit.

Sadly the demons in her unsuccessful love life got to her and she abruptly ended her (singing & acting) career, much to the regret of the legions of her loyal (& smitten) fans. She became a Fedora-esque recluse after that and rarely ventured out of her Marine Drive abode.

I feel she should have been referred to as the first tragedienne in Bollywood, before Meena Kumari. Suraiya had the added dimension of singing to her quiver of arrows

Shama, the early 60s movie directed by Lekhraj Bhakri, had Nimmi (in the eponymous sacrificing role), Suraiya and Vijay Dutt as the poet from a Nawabi family who has nothing better to do than write poetry and be the object of undying love from the 2 beauties.

An excessively sentimental, somewhat illogical and melodramatic story (typical of Bollywood) of an indolent poet (the word glorifies being a lazy bum, doesn’t it?) played by Vijay Dutt , his glamorous wife Suraiya and the suffering “other girl” in love with him, portrayed by Nimmi would kinda sum up the movie. “Shama” does little to please the heart of the cinema-going crowd and the pain and continuous distress of Nimmi seems to be highly infectious, for the audience, too, suffers by watching the picture, the joke’s on them, they have paid to be tortured.

What a pity that Kaifi Azmi’s beautiful poems are not backed by the musical compositions from an otherwise good music director, Ghulam Mohammad. The exception is the three Suraiya solos.

The movie was truly saved by the magnificent acting. Nimmi is convincing in her portrayal of the sacrificing hapless orphan who is head over heels in love with the sloth of a poet, Vijay Dutt, who looks handsome and sometimes similar to Guru Dutt in similar roles.

Suraiya is the star of the movie which was meant to be a comeback vehicle for her. She is impressive in her acting and singing and makes the film a type of personal triumph. In fact, if “Shama” is to be remembered at all, it will be because of Suraiya.

The song is unique as it uses Suraiya’s solo singing for both the actresses. I don’t know if a duet with a different voice for Nimmi would have sounded more convincing on screen. The song by Suraiya is delicious, treacly sweet, and enough to make the most staunchly misogynistic guy flip for the lady. (Here he has a choice, too!!)

Here’s to remembering the last of the singer-actresses that Bollywood had, and arguably the best of the lot.

Stay safe, stay away from the Chinese and stay healthy. Take the vaccine. The presstitutes and imbecile Prince’s efforts to run down our vaccines have been exposed. It took a Gora scientist to tell us the vaccine works and maybe good for life. Enjoy the weekend.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

5 replies on “A passionate outpouring of love”

Years later, they saw Suraiya’s successor in Salma Agha. That lady did have some hits in Nikah. But she couldn’t sustain the hype.


How well, crispy and interesting review you wrote👌👍👍👍👍it is a great pleasure to read that, especially so in this blog.. !!!
Isn’t it sad in none of the revived golden era songs we don’t see a single Surayya number!!
So happy your pen did full justice to her👍
Hope young generations read such beautiful blogs and know her👌👌👌👌🙏🏽

Liked by 1 person

wow….lovely singing by Surraiya and beautiful words by Kaifi Ajami along with nice info through your write up which is not known so much to our generation…. Surraiya and Nimmi both looking beautiful on screen👌👌👍👍

Thanks for this wonderful share sir🙏🏻🙏🏻

Liked by 1 person

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