It’s Labor Day here in the US and Canada, and let me tell you something: I have really labored for you guys. I recently got my hands on a very fragile and worn copy of Baburao and Sushila Rani Patel’s 1952 book called “Stars of the Indian Screen.” It features 36 actors and actresses, with a short biography of each accompanied by a gorgeous colored plate like the ones above. And though the book is credited as written by Sushila Rani Patel and edited by Baburao, the bios have Baburao’s trademark snark all over them, by which I mean they are awesome.
Nutan has substantial talent for acting but we would like her to add at least ten pounds more to her personality and come to the screen again a bright, well-upholstered beauty.
Santoshi is [Rehana’s] favorite director though she usually does her best whenever she has to appear before the camera.
[Meena Shorey] was married to Zahur Raja in 1941, to Al Nasir in 1943 and at present she is Mrs. Roop K. Shorey. Let us hope her little canoe of life has found its last port at last…She cannot resist sweets and chocolates and you see them all over her in terms of weight. She is fond of buying clothes and jewellery but rarely uses them.
Suraiya is inclined to be on the buxsome [sic] side. Some of her fans wish that she was more streamlined.
[Shekhar] sees English and Indian pictures to inspire him. Inspiration from the latter is however doubtful.
[Yakub] is good at lifting fountain pens from friends’ pockets though he never signs even a cheque.
Though people in the film industry often joke about Ashok’s absent-mindedness, the shrewd Bengali is never reported to have left behind a wad of currency notes though he had once left behind his wife sitting under a tree and driven away.
[On Dev Anand] A good boy that but a bit girlish!
[Pran] is certainly no villain as far as his wife is concerned, even though he forgets to return home several nights. But then film artistes have to work during night-shifts also.
There is so much more, of course, and being that this is so very rare (and also falling apart) I scanned each and every page (all 75 of them!) for posterity, and am sharing the result here with you. Enjoy this look at Indian cinema history—complete with oodles and oodles of eye candy.