We’ve mourned the passing of a favourite star, but now—in the yin and yang way of zindagi and maut that Anand would possibly have appreciated—it’s time to celebrate a birthday. Today, July 21st, is the 77th birthday of a very lovely lady who began a career in cinema, appeared in some landmark films, and then bagged her biggest offscreen role: as the wife of possibly India’s best-loved comedian ever. This is Noor, the beautiful Mrs Johnny Walker.
A few days ago, Johnny and Noor’s daughter Tasneem Khan commented on my blog (she had earlier contributed some posts for Johnny Walker week, on Dusted Off), and in a departure from my usual reticence, I asked her if she would like to do a post on Noor, and one on Noor’s sister, Shakila. So here, just in time to wish Noor a very, very happy birthday, is Tasneem’s post on her mother. Over to Tasneem:
I would like to start by saying that I am very excited and extremely happy to write a post on Mummy as it is the first post/article ever written only for her. I would like to give you a glimpse of her short film career. I say short, because she quit the film industry once she married my dad, Johnny Walker. My mummy’s name is Noor, though people know her as Mrs. Johnny Walker or actress Shakila’s sister.
She is 2nd amongst three extremely beautiful sisters, Shakila, Noor & Nasreen, all of whom have had their fair share of acting exposure in Indian cinema. They were born & brought up in Mumbai by their Aunt (Bua), after losing their parents when they were very young.
Mummy got her first break into films was when she did the childhood role of actress Noorjahan in the film Anmol Ghadi (1946). A very popular song was picturized on her in a horse carriage - “Udan khatoley pe udh jaon”.
She was also present in Do Bigha Zameen, in 1953 in a cameo role as Rani, the granddaughter of the land lady in the basti when Balraj Sanhi comes to the city. Another film, Alif Laila, in 1953 starring Nimmi in which she portrayed the role of Malika with Pran.
A very popular song “Chota sa ghar hoga” from the film Naukri (1954), was also picturized on her and Kishore Kumar. She played the role of his sister in the film.
In 1955, she was offered a lead opposite Dad in Guru Dutt’s film Aar Paar. “Arre na na tauba tauba” was yet another melodious song picturized on her and Dad.
In 1955 she married Dad, and made the decision to end her career in the film industry so that she could dedicate her life to the family. I am very proud of Mummy as she sacrificed her career for her family. Her sacrifice did not go unnoticed as, till today because of her, the entire family is tight knit and meets consistently for family gatherings.
Mom gave us a home sweet home, away from the filmi lifestyle. She is very simple, loving & generous. In fact, her generosity and habits are very similar to Dad’s. What I love the most about her is her fantastic smile, simplicity & bigheartedness. Till today Mummy’s smile is as vibrant and sweet as it was during her acting career. It is a blessing to have such great parents who passed their values onto me which I deeply cherish and continue to practice in my daily life.
Text and images © Tasneem Khan