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. https://youtu.be/-P8YaI1BoGw
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.