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.

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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…

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Video of the Day: “Pretty Woman” from Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) or “How Kal Ho Naa Ho changed my life!”

Today’s video is “Pretty Woman” with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, by playback singer Shankar Mahadevan, picturized on King Khan from the movie Kal Ho Naa Ho.  I’ll get to that later but let me give you a little background first.

This is a pivotal Bollywood movie for me because it’s partly responsible for my current addiction to the genre. I had seen Devdas along with Nandini and other dosto at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis back in September 2003; the seed was planted. In the following years I saw Monsoon Wedding, Bend It Like Beckham, and Kandukondain Kandukondain. These Indian related movies swirled in my head a few years. Skip forward to August of 2006 and I’m looking at a Netflix page thinking, “Hey, I’d like to see that guy from Devdas in something.” I figure “that guy” is Shah Rukh Khan and put Kal Ho Naa Ho in the queue because it’s recommended. So I watch this movie and am stunned by how LONG it is! I’m disappointed that it’s set in what is supposed to be New York. Hey! This isn’t right, I wanted a real Indian movie set in India. Then I see this “Pretty Woman” scene and get that feeling you get when you’re embarrassed by someone, even worse that being embarrassed for yourself. But THEN the movie takes this turn that I never expect. Shah Rukh Khan is so dramatic that I’m sucked in. It has a love triangle, self sacrifice, and an emotionally wrenching hospital scene. So half way through, I accept it as a good movie and all I know is I want more! Then I saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, followed by Main Hoon Na. Then I watch Main Hoon Na again with Nandini and I sense another Bollywood junkie. It’s like SRK was a gateway drug to Bollywood. Next discovery is the pure cocaine of Amitabh, and the angry young man movies. HOOKED! I pick up a Hindi street naam of Sita-ji after watching Dance Dance, to keep it real. So the addiction begins! I stay with Bollywood, because it’s what I know, it’s safe. I believe that if I slip into Tollywood and Kollywood, and I’ve had a taste of the Telugu and Tamil scene people, it would be like taking crack, possibly meth. I have to stay away from Rajinikanth for now. And Lollywood would be like heroin, unmanageable. I need to stay as clean as I can, so it’s mostly Bollywood for now. I saw Nandini the other night, and we whispered a bit about Nollywood, careful to not let too many people hear, but knew to back off, it was just too dangerous. And we know that kal ho naa ho, but it’s still good to play it safe.

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Kal Ho Naa Ho (Devanagari कल हो ना हो, Nastaliq: کل ہو نہ ہو, English: Tomorrow May or May Not Be) is a 2003 Bollywood film set in New York City. It stars Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Saif Ali Khan. The film was directed by first-timer Nikhil Advani; it was produced and co-written by Karan Johar, better known as the director of the hit films Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). This movie resembles Dil Chahta Hai (2001) in blending Bollywood and Hollywoodconventions with high production values. While copyright violation has long run rampant in the Bollywood film industry, Kal Ho Naa Ho is notable for having licensed the rights to Roy Orbison‘s “Oh, Pretty Woman” for an extended musical sequence taking place in the streets in New York. Because of its familiar setting and music, accessibility to non-Indians, good production values, and respect for copyright, Kal Ho Naa Ho has been used to introduce Bollywood to markets where Indian films have been rare. Naina Catherine Kapur (Preity Zinta) is an angry young woman, for more than one reason. Her father committed suicide when she needed him the most, leaving Jennifer (Jaya Bachchan), his wife, to raise their children all khnh2.jpgalone. Lajjo (Sushma Seth), Jennifer’s mother-in-law, blames Jennifer for the suicide. Furthermore, Jennifer is unhappy because Lajjo refuses to accept Gia, a six-year-old girl whom Jennifer adopted, as her granddaughter. In addition, the restaurant Jennifer operates is faltering. The only factors that redeem Naina’s life are the toiling and tolerant Jennifer and Naina’s bumbling MBA classmate Rohit (Saif Ali Khan). Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan), a happy-go-lucky man, arrives in Naina’s neighbourhood and soon changes everything with his contagious joviality and zest for life…(wikipedia)

And speaking of New York and India, our friend Brahmanandam, a.k.a. Tim, sent a great link to Indian restaurants in New York City; “A Passage to India,” by Matthew Fishbane. Click here to check it out the article published in the January 13, 2008 in the New York Times.

So here it is, “Pretty Woman”:

Thanks to nacromanser for providing the video.