She was discovered by actor-director Guru Dutt in the 1950s, who cast her in "Aar Paar" song for an uncredited role. She later earned a small role in Dutt's "Pyaasa" and "Mr & Mrs 55".
Veteran actor Kumkum, who featured in classic Hindi movies such as “CID”, “Mr X in Bombay” and “Mother India”, passed away on Tuesday. She was 86.
Kumkum, whose real name was Zaibunnissa, died at around 11.30 am at her Bandra residence due to age-related issues, her sister-in-law Shenaz told PTI.
“Her last rites took place at Mazgaon cemetery,” Shenaz added.
Mourning Kumkum’s death, singing legend Lata Mangeshkar tweeted, “I just got to know about the passing away of popular actor Kumkum. I’m really sad. May her soul rest in peace.”
Actor Jaaved Jaffery and producer Naved Jafri, whose father veteran actor Jagdeep had featured in the “Kabhi Aar, Kabhi Paar” song with Kumkum, paid tributes to her on Twitter.
Jagdeep also died earlier this month.
Jaaved said Kumkum was a “close family friend” through his father.
“Another veteran passes on… Debuting in ‘Aar Paar’ with the title song picturised on her, she went on to star in many films and breathed her last today. Inna lillaahe wa inna elaihe raaje’oon,” he tweeted.
Naved said the film industry “lost another gem” in Kumkum’s death.
“I have known her since I was a kid and she was family, a superb artist and a fantastic human being, innalillahe wa innailaihe raajeoon. Rest in peace Kunkum aunty,” he wrote along with a prayer.
Kumkum hailed from Hussainabad in Sheikhpura district, Bihar.
Her memorable film appearances also include “Kohinoor”, “Ujala”, “Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere” and “Naya Daur”.
Kumkum also starred in the first Bhojpuri film “Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo” in 1963.
She was discovered by actor-director Guru Dutt in the 1950s, who cast her in “Aar Paar” song for an uncredited role. She later earned a small role in Dutt’s “Pyaasa” and “Mr & Mrs 55”.
Kumkum was one of those rare female stars of the classic era who did not shy away from playing supporting parts.
Even though she had hits like “Mr X in Bombay” and “Shreeman Funtoosh” as the leading lady, she went on to feature in small but pivotal roles in other hits like “Mother India”.
Her popularity, however, rests mostly on the songs that were picturised on her be it “Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Re” from “Kohinoor” (1960); “Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar” from “Aar Paar” (1954), “Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan” from 1956’s “CID” or “Reshmi Salwar Kurta Jaali Ka” from “Naya Daur” in 1957.
Her pairing with the multihyphenate Kishore Kumar in songs like “Khoobsurat Haseena” from “Mr X in Bombay”; “Ijazat Ho Toh” from “Haaye Mera Dil”, “Sultana Sultana” from “Shreeman Funtoosh”, and “Machalti Hui” from “Ganga Ki Lahren” remain popular till date.
She also played sister to Bollywood superstar Dharmendra in Ramanand Sagar’s “Ankhen” in 1968, and later went on to be paired opposite him as a lead in Sagar’s “Lalkar” (1972) and “Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere” in 1960.
Kumkum starred opposite Vinod Khanna in “Dhamkee”. The duet song “Chand Kya Hai Roop Ka Darpan” picturised on the two leads became popular.
She was paired opposite Pran in the hit comedy “Ek Kuwara Ek Kuwari”, directed by Prakash Mehra.
After her marriage to Sajjad Akbar Khan, Kumkum left the industry.