Nargis & Deedar: The Art of the Refrigerator Mujra


In light of Pakistan’s defeat yesterday by India in the Cricket World Cup 2011 semi-finals, I’d like to help cheer up Pakistan along with my readers.  Pakistan, you may not have progressed to the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, but you do have the consolation of something I like to call the refrigerator mujra.  Allow me to explain. Back a few years ago I found a video of mujra star Megha.  After watching one of her videos, I found a need to see more and more and was thus sucked into the gritty and sexy world of mujras.

Mujra is a form of dance originated by tawaif (courtesans) during the Mughal era. Mujra incorporated elements of the native classical Kathak dance onto music such as thumris andghazals or poems of those from other Mughal cultures such as Bahadur Shah Zafar.  Mujra was traditionally performed at mehfils and in special houses called kothas. During Mughalrule in India, in places such as Jaipur, the tradition of performing mujra was a family art and often passed down from mother to daughter amongst Muslim practitioners. The profession was a cross between art and exotic dance, with the performers often serving as courtesans amongst Mughal royalty or wealthy patrons. (source)

I needed to process what I’d experienced watching these dances and was lucky enough to stumble upon Richard’s blog Dances on the Footpath, and was able to share my response too Megha and her wild dancing.  As it turns out Richard is a connoisseur of mujra and you can see some of his reflections of the art form HERE.   After Megha, I became fascinated with  Nargis and then found her sister Deedar whose style is more athletic and what I  imagine a Pakistani Jazzercise instructor would deliver.

First let’s warm up with a mujra featuring the sisters Nargis and Deedar :

After getting over the initial shock of the boldly sexual nature of the mujra, I became fixated on the staged mujra and the sets.   Often times the stages are set up to look like a home, and I started noting the stereo consoles, furniture, televisions, telephones, and just basically all the regular things found in a home up there on the stage.  I think the point is to show the guys, Hey, this is all typical stuff, see it’s just happening here in a typical home, could be anyone’s home…even your home, yeah you could have all this. OK the truth is the stage is set up for a play and the mujra number serves as a break in the action.

Thank goodness for being able to discuss the art of mujra with the likes of Richard, and fellow Lollywood enthusiast, Dishoom Dishoom, who owns several prominent kothas in Pakistan. I made that part up about the kothas, sorry Dishoom Dishoom. Now let’s start with Deedar’s mujra in which a  refrigerator is featured at  5:09, but I recommend you watch her entire performance:

Here again Deedar mujras away and at 1:47 the refrigerator makes a cameo, and then makes a full on appearance at 3:25:

You may be saying, Sita-ji, look it’s just the same stage set up, so it’s the same refrigerator. To that I say, take a look, they’re DIFFERENT refrigerators.I especially like the mujra here, since it features a commercial refrigerator in a store setting.

For the life of me I CAN’T find Nargis doing a mujra near a refrigerator!  If you find one, let me know and I will amend this post.  As a substitution, I believe this mujra in a hospital setting will suffice, since refrigerators are implied, like in the kitchen or in an area where blood is stored in the hospital.

Nargis also has a beauty salon in Canada!

Nargis currently resides in Canada with her husband Zubair Shah and one son Murtaza Ali and daughter named Masooma. She now runs a beauty parlour/spa/salon in Markham ON Canada. (source)

Feast your eyes on all that’s available at Nargis Botique…Where Beauty Begins. Next time I’m in Markham Ontario, you know where I’ll go!

Now Pakistan, cheer up about your loss to India in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, because you have a whole world of refrigerator mujras to help you feel better.  And congratulations to India.  I challenge someone out there to do a post on stage murja that feature television sets and/or stereo consoles in the background.

UPDATED 4.18.11!

Thanks to Richard at Dances on the Footpath for doing more research and locating  a special Sheeza refrigerator mujra:

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21 thoughts on “Nargis & Deedar: The Art of the Refrigerator Mujra

  1. Sitaji, what a post! I did not know anything at all about refrigerator mujras, now I do. :) Must go and watch these now.

    • Bannoji,
      It’s all about raising awareness. I’m glad I can make a difference. I warn you, once you begin, it’s really difficult to stop, so proceed with caution.

    • ness-ji,
      I know, right!? They stand there so silently, so stately, with such pride and allow the mujra to unfold. I can only imagine how HOT a mujra would be that involves the dancer actually going to the refigerator and taking out a cold beverage to drink and/or serve. Thanks for stopping in to comment. :)

  2. Wow, Sita-ji you really did put together quite a post here – well worth the wait. And thank you so much for all the references!

    I could say a lot more – but maybe I’ve already said enough already, going back a ways. :)

    For the moment, I just wanted to point out that Megha also did a mujra in front of the above “commercial refrigerator in a store setting”:

    • Richard-ji!
      You’re quite welcome for the references, it’s the least I could do considering our shared love of the mujra and the fact that I consider you key it helping me develop my interest in the art. How fabulous that you found Megha doing murga in front of the same commercial refrigeration case that Deedar also performed in front of. ( http://bit.ly/h1bziT ) Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall back stage at the show listening to Megha and Deedar chat? Megha is really good at spinning in this number, and I wonder if that’s one of her strengths, seems so. Her whirling dervish tendencies here make me think she’s sufi, na?
      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Lovely refrigerators, and lovely girls. But so very white. That’s the girls, not the refrigerators. The fridges were all sorts of gorgeous colours and have inspired me to brighten up my kitchen next time I’m refurbishing. I know that Bollywood favours stars with a wheatish complexion, Lollywood seems to have taken this even further. I think I could pass myself off as a Mujra star, now that my career as a gauri extra has failed to take off. Thanks for the post, very entertaining.

    • Joss-ji,
      I too liked the wheat color and the other refrigerator that has a hint of sea foam green harkens back to the olive green appliances so popular in the 70’s. Who says you CAN’T pass yourself off as a mujra star? I consider myself one now since like you, my gori extra fate has yet to come to fruition. Thanks for your nice comments, dost! :)

  4. We upgraded our kitchen appliances about a month ago, should have checked to see if they were “mujra compliant”.
    Here is a mujra I found on youtube that I like; but do not know who does it. (Did not find any appliances)

    Loved the post :)

    Re: Cricket, Hope you are all set for the Final @ Wankhede Stadium Mumbai On Apr 2

    • Samir-ji!
      What a lovely, almost understated mujra you’ve linked in here. It was entertaining to watch, despite the lack of kitchen appliances. I’m saddened to hear that you weren’t able to purchase a mujra compliant refrigerator, maybe next time. This may help to cheer you up; I saw the Johnnie Walker Double Black you told me about in a duty free shop a couple weeks age. It was priced 2 for 70 (that’s $35 a bottle) in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. Thanks for your visit and comment. :)

  5. Hi, I was browsing google for “bollywood blogs” and I came across your site, it’s pretty good. I’m a fan of Bollywood like yourself, and I recently have started my own blog on Bollywood.

    Check it out here: http://bollyhooha.blogspot.com

    Like your blog, I don’t indulge in Bollywood gossip – let me know what you think. If you like it maybe you could mention it in your blog (I need followers!) Please follow it – I’m following yours. Maybe let people know about my site? I’ve also created a animated banner for my site here: http://www.bollywoodbuzz.in It’s the one that starts with the bollywood sign and has Deepika/Ranbir on it.

    • RICHARD-JI! SHABASH!
      Fantastic! This extra slim pearl tone refirgerator completely costars in this mujra. It’s as if I hardly notice Sheeza’s mujra with the refrigerator standing there so still. It’s omnipresent, hai na? I really appreciate the link and have ammended to post to add it in case people don’t look at all the comments and fine your link here.

      • Sita-ji, thanks for adding it to the post.

        I felt I just had to send in a link to this one because, as you said, the refrigerator completely co-stars here!

    • Richard-ji!
      It’s a complete co-star! Again, shukriya. Hopefully these refrigerator mujras will become more popular and more examples can be found. I wonder what the oldest one on record is? Did they have the old fashioned ice boxes in Pakistan at the time staged mujras were popular? If so, are there any stills (since these happened prior to moving camera times of course) of such an ancient mujra? Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?
      All the best!
      P.S. I am very overdue in replying to your email and I will soonji!

  6. The reason there is kitchen or living room set in the background is because these mujra’s are done in between breaks of a play. so usually a play is in progress and then they bring in the mujra do change things up kind of like a intermission.

    • Karen-ji,
      Thanks for explaining the mystery of the art of the refrigerator mujra, I suspected something like this, but chose to follow my own delusion that the appliance was a deliberate part of the background. I appreciate your comment. :)

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