Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A tribute to Helen

Helen Richardson born in Burma to an Indian father and Half Indian/Half Chinese mother on October 21, 1939, she has a brother Roger and a sister Jennifer. Her father died during the Second World War. The family migrated to Mumbai in 1943 during World War II, but her mother's salary as a nurse was not enough, and Helen had to quit her schooling to support the family.

In 1958, she performed in the song "Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu" in Shakti Samanta's film, Howrah Bridge, which was sung by Geeta Dutt. The Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle frequently sang for Helen particularly during the 60s. During her initial career Geeta Dutt sang many songs for her.

Writer Salim Khan helped her get roles in some of the movies he was co-scripting with Javed Akhtar: Imaam Dharam, Don, Dostana, and Sholay.

In 1973, "Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls" a 30-minute documentary film from Merchant Ivory Films was released. Anthony Korner directed and narrated the film A book about Helen was published by Jerry Pinto in 2006, titled The Life and Times of an H-Bomb, which went on to win the National Film Award for Best Book on Cinema in 2007.

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