‘Nightingale’ of Indian cinema Lata Mangeshkar underwent a childhood that was packed with hardship, misery and struggle. At an age when children go to school, she had to work as ‘extra’ in Hindi and Marathi films after the demise of her father Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. Lata Mangeshkar was the eldest in the family hence she took the responsibility of her siblings Meena, Asha, Usha, and Hridaynath and did a verity of odd jobs like working small tit-bit roles, singing songs on stage and learning Hindustani classical music simultaneously all at the age of 13 years! She tasted success at the age of 20 years when Raj Kapoor‘s Barsaat film’s songs were hit and she became a star overnight. Today, she has everything but her only regret in life is that she could not go to school!!!
Incidentally, the music director who took Lata Mangeshkar to the zenith of popularity, music director Naushad himself had to undergo severe hardship to fulfil his dream. Naushad came to Mumbai at a young age from his village in Uttar Pradesh to chase his dream of being a music director. However, with no godfather or any relative, Naushad had to sleep on a foot-path opposite Broadway Cinema in Dadar(now converted into a mall), where he spent his struggling days dreaming one day his movie would be released in the same theatre. His dream came true but after 14 years later, when his movie Baiju Bawra (1953) was released in the same theatre and what’s interesting it went on to celebrates Silver Jubilee. Later Naushad never looked back and gave hit films like Mughal-E-Azam, Ram Aur Shyam, Mother India, Ganga Jumna, Kohinoor, etc. A true story of rags to riches
Gorgeous and sexy, Mumtaz was initially humiliated for her for peculiar nose by jubilee star, Rajendra Kumar. The film industry had written her off but by sheer determination and facing many such derogatory remarks the actress rose from the crowds of extras to becoming heroines in ‘B’ grade action thrillers and then gradually to ‘A’ grade movies by working as the heroine opposite Indian film Industries greatest star Dilip Kumar in Ram Aur Shyam. Later she ruled the ’70s working opposite superstar Rajesh Khanna, and may top stars like Feroz Khan, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, etc. until she aborted her blooming career by tying the nuptial knot.
Helen, the hot seductive dancer who took the audience by storm by her hot cabaret songs like Yeh Mera Dil Pyar Ka Deewana… (Don), Mungda Mungda Main Gud Ki Dali (Inkaar) had a tough life. Being born in Burma, she faced much trouble due to Burma being devastated in World War II. Hence her family abandoned her home town and came to Mumbai. She lived on the footpaths of Mumbai along with her family. To make both ends meet she worked as an extra but later producer-director P. N. Arora saw the sparks of a great ‘dancer’ in the young struggler. He thus offered Helen and her family temporarily accommodation in his garage. He also gave her a break as a solo dancer in his movie. Later Helen on her strength gave dancing, particularly cabaret dance, a new distinction thus registering her name in Golden letter as ‘Queen of Cabaret’ in the history books of Indian Cinema.