Trivia time #19

Can anyone tell me who the female singer in this song from the film Chandni Raat is? She sang in a handful of films in the late 1940’s, before becoming much better known as an actress in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s (she stopped singing).

Shweta had the right answer first (she’s very good at trivia!), followed by Pavitra and Bollyviewer. They knew that she is Uma Devi, who was later called Tun Tun and became a beloved film comedienne. She arrived in Bombay at the age of 14 or so, having run away from home, and knocked on composer Naushad’s door. She told him that she could sing and that she would throw herself in the ocean if he didn’t give her a chance. He auditioned her, and hired her on the spot. She immediately had a huge hit with “Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon” from Dard. But her vocal range was limited, and eventually Naushad suggested that she take up acting because she had a very bubbly personality and wonderful comic timing. He asked his friend Dilip Kumar to cast her in one of his films, and she appeared in Babul (1950) with him. In a few years she was “re-named” Tun Tun (some credit Naushad, and some Dilip Kumar for the name) and a comedic legend was born. She died in November of 2003.

Here is “Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon,” her biggest hit:

8 Comments to “Trivia time #19”

  1. Uma Devi- more popularily known as Tun Tun. I am almost sure.

  2. Thank you for the trivia Memsaab. Allow me to take a wild guess and say it’s Shamshad Begum.

    A wild guess because I doubt Shamshad Begum would’ve ever sung for only ‘a handful of films’. The decades add a layer of complexity that I cannot overcome without seeking help, given my limited knowledge of Bollywood classics (something I am working on). :)

  3. Hi,

    I think it could be the comedienne Tun Tun (real name Uma Devi).

    By the way, no one has replied to my question about the actor who appears with Helen in the ‘Monica’ song from the movie ‘Caravan’.

    I posted that in your ‘Other Filmi Posts & Trivia’ section. Was that the wrong place to put it ?

    Take Care,


  4. Is it Uma Devi later known as Tun Tun?

  5. Shweta as usual was first—but I hid her answer to see how many other people might know :-)

    Yes, it is Uma Devi, later known as Tun Tun. But Shamshad Begum and Uma sound very alike in my opinion, so good guess BollywoodFan!

    And thank you all for playing :-)

  6. BTW, Pavitra, I haven’t posted your question because I don’t know the answer myself. If you do, let us know!

  7. yay me.

    Btw- the “afsana” song blows me away- one of my fav songs forever.

    I do think Uma got a raw deal though; if u call soomeone “tun tun” in india today, they would be offended, cos the term is now synonymous with “fat lady.” Its kinda sad that that she isnt much remembered for her songs, and I’m glad u reminded us all of them.

  8. I think she had a very nice voice…but she couldn’t sing high notes, and the advent of Lata & co. apparently did her singing career in. I read somewhere that Naushad called her “Tun Tun” because she was so effervescent and funny—he said it was from the urdu word for baby’s rattle or something. But then I’ve also read that Dilip Kumar gave her the name.

    Maybe I’ll put Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon up here too…

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