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Tun Tun (Uma D Khatri): A Flashback (Iconic Actress)

Tun Tun (Uma D Khatri): A Flashback (Iconic Actress)

Sentinel Digital Desk

Screen name, Tun Tun has always been able to make everyone laugh with her acting skills. Her real name is Uma Devi Khatri. She was born in a UP village in 1923. People who make others laugh often have a sad turn to the personal life. Her parents and brother were murdered for land demand when she was quite young, barely two years old. Her childhood was poverty-stricken.

Apart from her comedian-worthy talent, Uma was a playback singer too. She reached Mumbai at the age of 23, when she eloped from her home. He destiny took her to Naushad Ali, whom she explained that she would throw herself in to the ocean if he doesn't give her a chance to sing. After audtioning her, he immediately hired her, and her debut solo playback singing happened in "Wamiq Azra" (1946). Soon, she signed a contract with A. R Kardar, producer-director, and carved herself a niche amongst the nusic stalwarts ike Noor Jehan, Khursheed Bano, Zohrabai Ambalewali, and Rajkumari.

Some of her hit songs are: "Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon Dil-e-Beqarar Ka", "Yeh Kaun Chala Meri Aankhon Mein Sama Kar" and "Aaj Machi Hai Dhoom Jhoom Khushi Se Jhoom". This success gave her an opportunity to sing in "Anokhi Ada" (1948), which again had two hit numbers: "Kahe Jiya Dole" and "Dil Ko Lagake Humne Kuch Bhi Na Paya". Soon, she joined the league of highly rated playback singers.

She also sang a duet; "Betaab Hai Dil Dard-e-Mohabat Ke Asar Se", with Suraiya, who was so taken with by her song "Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon" that he stayed with her in Bombay andmarried her. The couple had two daughters and two sons. However, her husbanddied in 1992.

Uma reached her peak as a vocalist in "Chandralekha" (1948) by Gemini Studios, Chennai. Her seven songs include hit music number "Saanjh Ki Bela" that remain her most accomplished work in her singing career. Owing to her older style of singing and limited vocal range, she found it quite difficult to walk parallel with the rising singing stars Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. This further led her in taking up acting. She was inspired and awestruck by Dilip Kumar and had a wishthat in her first film, she would act alongside him. Knowing about this crazy love for Dilip Kumar, Naushad asked Dilip Kumar, who was his friend, to cast her in one of his films, and she appeared in "Babul" (1950) with him, which had Nargis as the lead actress; it is he who renamed her "Tun Tun" to suit her comic persona, and the name stayed with her, and a comedic legend was born.

Then she acted in many movies like "Aar Paar" (1954), "Mr. & Mrs. '55" (1955) and "Pyaasa" (1957). In the 1960s and 1970s, she became a notable comic relief in Bollywood.

In her career spanning five decades, she acted in about 198 films in Hindi/Urdu and other languages like Punjabi etc., pairing with top comedy actors of her times such as Bhagwan Dada, Agha, Sunder, Mukri, Dhumal, Johnny Walker and Keshto Mukherjee.She was last seen in Hindi films in "Kasam Dhande Ki" (1990). Her popularity has takenthe name "Tun Tun"to a level, where it becomes synonymous with fat women in India.

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