“You held his hand once to reassure him of the wondered look on his face, cap and all .. and then he towers above you at a sudden time ..” (Big B Blog DAY 2999)
the above quote from Big B’s very emotionally written Blog in the context of kids whose ‘hand we held once to reassure him of the wondered look on their face’…...and then they tower above you at a sudden time - with Abhishek in mind - reminds me of another father of another era of Hindi cinema, who spoke in somewhat similar way:
“There was a time when my son would knock on the studio gates and introduce himself as my son to get the nod to enter, now he towers above me and I have to say I am his father to be allowed to enter the same studios”. These are words of Mumtaz Ali, father of the famous comedian Mehmood.
Renowned choreographer, actor of ‘Bombay Talkies’, Mumtaz Ali was famous as a dancer and character- artist in 40s and early 50s, when he was sought after by producers for dance numbers and training new entrants in the industry as item girls. His item number, Main Dilli Se Dulhan Laya Re, became the rage of the time. Although a familiar figure of item numbers in Bombay Talkies' films, he had formed his own group and started doing stage shows all over the country, performing popular Hindi songs as dance numbers. The show travelled from city to city and was called Mumtaz Ali Nites. His son Mehmood, who later became the most famous comedian of Bollywood films, would most of the time accompany his father to these shows. His job was to sit outside and sell tickets and then to make announcements on the stage. His daughter Malikunissa, who was later known as Minu Mumtaz, the well-known dancer and character actor, also accompanied her father but did not perform till the circumstances forced her to. Indeed, Mumtaz Ali was not only the father of his famous children Mehmood and Meenu Mumtaz, but could rightly be called the king of item numbers in Hindi cinema.
After Parvarish, Mehmood came to be recognized for his comic talent. He landed himself meatier roles in films like Gumnaam, Pyar Kiye Jaa and Pyar Hi Pyar. In 1961, he played the lead comedian in Sasural. He was paired with a character actress named Shobha Khote. Their zany combination was so successful, that they went on to become a “comedy pair” in many hit films thereafter – hits like Love in Tokyo and Ziddi. Later, Aruna Irani replaced her in the comedy team. As the 60s progressed, Mehmood kept expanding the role of the comedian in Hindi movies and a time came, when he was so much “in demand” that producers approached him, offering him full-length comedy films. By the early 70s, Mehmood was at the peak of his comic career. He exhibited a rare ability to gauge the moods of the cinema-going audience – especially the front-benchers! This was the time when Mehmood decided to concentrate on his own production house. He had already started his company in the early 60s, with his first production called Chhote Nawab (1961). This had been followed by a suspense-comedy–thriller called Bhoot Bangla, in which Mehmood had taken the director’s chair for the first time. His company’s Padosan – in which Mehmood locked horns with Kishore Kumar in a South-Indian-versus-North-Indian war – became a massive hit in the 70s. At that time, Mahmood's star was at its zenith. By the time the 90s set in, Mahmood had played his entire hand -- as actor, director, story writer and producer. But Mehmood will forever be remembered as he appeared in his heydays – as the King of Comedy.