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Jaddanbai

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Jaddan Bai or Jaddanbai

When Jaddanbai composed the music for Talashe Haq (1935), she became the first female music composer of Indian cinema. In 1936, Jaddanbai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddanbai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the tender age of fourteen and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family.

Are Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru/Gandhi family, and actor Sanjay Dutt, son of film stars of yesteryear, Nargis and Sunil Dutt, related to each other? Yes, if you believe IMDB, an Internet Movie Database site, owned by Amazon.com, a Fortune 500 company. Jaddan Bai, mother of Nargis, was born in Benares, around the year 1900. She was rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Motilal Nehru and famous courtesan Daleep Bai. Her mother (before she became a courtesan) hailed from a Brahmin family but was abducted by a group of trained tawaifs. Jaddan Bai was born a Hindu, picked from a mela of dancing girls when she was a child and groomed a tawaif. Though Jaddan was born in Benares, she was brought up in Allahabad. Jaddan Bai, became a disciple of noted Thumri singer Ustad Moijuddin Khan and the equally noted Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, younger brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Jaddan Bai became a very famous singer, composer, actress and filmmaker and was a good friend of Mehboob Khan who later became Nargis’s mentor.

Jaddan Bai had three children from three different men. The story of the union of Jaddan and Mohanbabu is very interesting. Uttamchand Mohanchand belonged to an orthodox Mohyal Brahmin family of Rawalpindi. He was to go to England to study medicine but heard the voice of Jaddan Bai and fell in love with her. His family refused to accept Jaddan Bai as their daughter-in-law but that did not deter him from marrying her and dedicating his entire life to her. Nargis was named Fatima A Rashid by her father but she later adopted the name Nargis for Hindi movies. Jaddan Bai’s two sons from different men, Akthar Hussain and Anwar Hussain became film directors and actors

Jaddan Bai cast Nargis in Talashe Haq (1935), becoming the first woman composer of Indian cinema. In 1936, Jaddan Bai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddan Bai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the tender age of fourteen and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family. Jaddan Bai died on 8th April, 1949.

Another Version of Her Biography

Jaddanbai (b. 1892 or 1908 – d. April 8, 1949) was an early singer, music composer, actress and filmmaker of Bollywood and one of the pioneers of Indian cinema. She was the mother of well-known actress, Nargis.

Jaddanbai was born in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh in 1892 or 1908. She was rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Motilal Nehru and Allahabad’s famous courtesan, Daleepabai. Jaddanbai later even tied a rakhi to Jawaharlal Nehru.Jaddanbai was born a muslim, picked from a mela of kothawalas and kothewalis when she was a child, and groomed as a tawaif. Though Jaddan was born in Banaras, she was raised in Allahabad.

Jaddanbai became a disciple of the noted thumri singer, Ustad Moijuddin Khan, and the equally noted Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, younger brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Jaddanbai became a noted film and singing star and was a friend of Mehboob Khan.

Jaddanbai had three children from three different men. Fatima A. Rashid was named by her father (Uttamchand Mohanchand, known as Mohanbabu) and adopted the name Nargis for her films. The story of the union of she and Mohanbabu is that high-flown Uttamchand Mohanchand belonged to an orthodox Mohyal Brahmin family of Rawalpindi. He was to travel to England to study medicine but heard the voice of Jaddanbai and fell for her. His family refused to accept Jaddanbai as their daughter-in-law, yet that did not deter him from marrying her and dedicating his entire life to her.

Her second child, Akhtar, became a director and actor, however, he chose not to be as involved as his siblings, while Anwar Hussain acted in the films of Bollywood. Jaddanbai cast her daughter in “Talashe Haq” (1935) becoming the first female music composer of Indian cinema.

In 1936, Jaddanbai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddanbai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the young age of 14 and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family.

Jaddan Bai artiste information:

As Artiste:
Madam Fashion (1936)
Hridaya Manthan (1936)
Talash-E-Haq (1935)
Nachwali (1934)
Prem Pariksha (1934)
Seva Sadan (1934)
Insaan Ya Shaitan (1933)
Raja Gopichand (1933)

As Director:
Jeewan Swapna (1937)
Moti Ka Haar (1937)
Hridaya Manthan (1936)
Madam Fashion (1936)

As Music Director:
Jeewan Swapna (1937)
Moti Ka Haar (1937)
Hridaya Manthan (1936)
Madam Fashion (1936)
Talash-E-Haq (1935)