From the archives: animals and children

I fret a lot about the welfare of animals and children I see onscreen (not just in Indian movies either), and it turns out that I should! But I will say that between the two articles from vintage Stardust magazines that I’ve attached here, the animals sound a lot better off than poor child star Kumari (Baby) Naaz. I’ve often wondered why such a good actress—who grew up into a truly beautiful woman—didn’t become a heroine, and she pretty much explains why in this interview (I love the writer’s purple prose: I doubt very much that Naaz even once “screamed”). You can also read more about her here.

The second article is a fascinating look “behind the scenes” into the world of the men and women who train our Motis and Badals and Rajas. Enjoy!

Baby Naaz

36 Comments to “From the archives: animals and children”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I love the story about Amjad Khan being so solicitous of the pregnant cat, I will think of that whenever I see him on screen. (Just out of curiosity, what year are the articles from?)

  2. The story about Naaz was sad – how much worse is it when it is your own flesh and blood who is exploiting you? I suppose one should be glad that her mother didn’t sell her to sleazy producers. She seems to have done pretty much everything else!

    The woman from the story about the animals was really catty about Amrita, wasn’t she? Was it really necessary to take those potshots at the actress in an article that is purportedly about animals?

    • I am glad that Naaz found happiness eventually, although it sounds like she would have liked her career to go a little better (so would I have!). Kind of cool that she married into the Kapoor khandaan!

      Yes, the comments towards Amrita were extremely “catty”—I guess what the magazine was famous for at that point!

      • I always liked her in the side roles she did; she was extremely pleasant on the eyes, and she was quite a competent actress. I wonder what direction her career would have taken if she had had the opportunity to accept Raj Kapoor’s offer. Thank heavens her personal life improved by leaps and bounds after she got married. The interview was so strident, wasn’t it? Full of extravagant flourishes and leaps of assumtion? It was so badly written that I was tearing my hair out halfway through!

        • It was very lurid indeed :) I have also been reading some of my early Stardusts (1973/73) and they are much better written and not nearly as prurient. I guess journalistic standards have been going downhill for a long time!

  3. “In jaanwaron par mujhe naaz hai” :-)

    Jokes apart, true I did want to see Naaz in more movies. Same holds good for Nazima as well. I don’t know why they never became heroines.

    Amjad Khan was known to be a very kind hearted person. His care for the cat during “Kaatilon Ke Kaatil” (1981) is very touching. I believe during the rape scene in “Barsaat Ki Ek Raat” (again 1981), he had rashes on his face. He was allergic to such scenes.

    Not sure why they haven’t mentioned the Superstar’s name for the “Mr. Natwarlal” piece…..

    Looks like the article was published in 1983 since Betaab does get a significant portion. “Teri Meherbaaniyaan” which released in 1984 doesn’t get any mention.

    • If by Superstar you mean Amitabh (Rajesh fans will take umbrage, beware!), they never mentioned his name after the mid-70s. I think he declared war on the media right around the time his affair with Rekha got going and they retaliated by never mentioning HIS name either. Went on for quite a long time.

      • Which was really ridiculous come to think of it, because they needed his name to sell their magazines. I was in school at the time, and remember various magazines (Star Dust being the worst) trying to get around their own ban by writing negative articles about Amitabh Bachchan.

        • ps: Amitabh was 37 when he did Mr Natwarlal. If that was middle-aged, then all our present crop of superstars, who are still pretending to be in college should be called old men. :))

          But if true, the story about Amitabh and the tiger was really funny – that the tiger would only eat after he ate; and that it hated having Rekha around. :)

      • True, Anu. It holds good for Salman Khan too. They used his name to sell copies, but you know how he’s been projected.

    • That clears it up for me about why Amitabh’s name isn’t mentioned. I had read of this embargo a long time back, but it had slipped out of my mind.

  4. That reminds me of The Kite Runner, the saddest impact fairly good movie had on its child actors. Painful.

  5. Good that Naaz found happiness in her family life at last. Hehe, though the write up was pretty ‘loud’

  6. I remember reading this article on Star Dust in the 80s. Thanks for bringing this up.
    Am happy that there are people who are really concerned about the animal-actors!
    I remember reading an article, where it was reported that Amala removed the ticks from a dog, who was a performer in the her film. She was; I think, one of the few actresses, who was very much active in animal welfare.

    • Who is Amala? Animal welfare back then wasn’t nearly the issue it is now, even here. I love westerns, but sometimes I just have to close my eyes!

      • Amala is actor Nagarjuna’s wife. They have starred in one Hindi movie that I can remember – Shiva (1990). Don’t know much about her, though.

        They are more well known in the Telugu film industry.

  7. Fascinating. Thanks, Memsaab!

  8. Amala was Kamal Hassan’s heroine in the silent comedy Pushpak. She is now Telugu superstar Nagarjuna’s wife.

  9. Greta ji

    Wishing you and your family a “Happy and Prosperous New Year”


  10. I always felt sad at watching Naaz sitting on a tree branch and listening to the two mendicants singing in Devdas, because she was so successful in bringing that particular forlorn, sad, abandoned-girl expression.
    Now I know why.
    That her life later turned out to be a happy one is such a relief to read.

    The article on animals is equally enlightning. Thank you for these two pieces.

  11. Happy New Year Greta!

    I first got Baby Naaz mixed up with Nazima who always got on my nerves. Your post cleared up the confusion. What an awful childhood. Glad she was happy in marriage.

    Though I enjoy animals in films and like they way the so easily upstage the human stars, I am finally uncomfortable thinking of the toll the film shooting must have taken on them.

  12. Someone mentioned Salman Khan, a living example of how a celebrity can exploit the ‘weak’ Indian law and roam scot-free after killing humans and (endangered) animals and be a big star after a ‘decade’. I would rather suffer the flop Abhishek or awful SRK films than watch his hits.
    He used to be the only actor I liked from the 90’s till 99 when he did that film with Bhansali (not one of his film is original,btw), I only watch his 90s films now except the Bhansali films.
    I actually was reminded of the parrot in maine pyar kiya of the filmi animals.

  13. In the 70s there used to be an eagle or a hawk which was seen in some films, isn’t it?
    What about many film stars endorsing PETA nowadays (in India)?

  14. Interesting articles. You’re right the animals did generally seem to fare better than poor Naaz. Ah well, here’s a lovely song on her and hubby Subiraj (who does resemble Raj K a bit now that the relation has been pointed out to me. :-).

  15. Kumari Naaz’s story is really heart-breaking. :( Especially the fact that she never felt she made it at the end of that article. She seemed to disappear from mainstream cinema after the mid 70s and completely after a few more films in the early 80s. I guess she moved on dubbing work after that. I read that she died in 1995 from cancer.

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