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:

Noor Jehan, Queen of Melody. Plus: murder by balloons!

Dosto! I’m working my way back from the world of Iranian cinema through Pakistan films, before I eventually land again in Bollywood. I have only seen two Pakistani (Lollywood)  films, one was Khuda Ke Liye (2007) and the other,  Dupatta (1952).  I read about Dupatta at Dances on the Footpath where Richard did a great write up HERE. I’d heard of singer/actress Noor Jehan, who of course I like to call  Mallika-e-Tarranum, the queen of melody.

noorjehan_bw noor1

Now that’s really and achievement to be a playback singer and actress all in one.  The song that sticks in my mind still months after viewing the film is Chandani Raatein:

Then I found a more recent version of the song and Noor Jehan is really the Queen of Melody in this rendition:

If you want a modern Bally Sagoo remix of the same tune, Darshit told me about this version.

Chandani Raatein is not all that stuck in my head from the film.  If you read this blog, you may have seen me fixate on the use of balloons in Bollywood films.  I love it!  Well this scene from Lollywood surpasses almost all balloon scenes I’ve seen in Bollywood, except for maybe this one from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin.  Enjoy this sweet little murder by balloons scene and keep it in mind in case you need to murder a small child, or anyone easily fascinated by balloons:

The entire film has been lovingly uploded with English subtitles by jimmynoor68 HERE. Now please, take these balloons…no, no, how about from here. Yes now step up here…yes! take them from here…

noorballoons

Bollywood taught me Farsi!

bollywood

Gori learns Farsi! OK, maybe that’s an overstatement.  It’s fun to exaggerate, hai na?  To wrap up my recent foray into Iranian cinema posts and to help to somehow justify all my film watching hours, days, weeks.  I have to prove I learned something, from all this entertaining time-pass right? So here goes: while watching all those Iranian films I recognized the following words I originally learned from Hindi films. I apologize for my misspellings, since I had to guess on some words:

farsicompletedarwaza (door)
hamisha (always)
kasam (promise)
salam (hello)
ishq (love)
shayad (maybe)
zindigi (life)
bachchay (children)
Khuda Hafiz (God keep you safe)
chai (tea)
garam (hot, as in as in garam chai)
diwani (crazy)
yadon (remember/memory)
dushman (enemy. Boy do I have enmity with them! I love how enmity is used in Bollywood subtitles)

I can’t be certain, but I think I also heard a possible mohhabet (love)

So in the world of languages I can see that Hindi–>Urdu–> Farsi, or maybe it’s more like Farsi–>Urdu–>Hindi. You can imagine my excitement on hearing and recognizing these words. So you see yaar, Bollywood taught me Farsi, by way of Urdu.