Veteran Telugu actress Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in 1967 where Jamuna agreed to play the second lead, or the supporting role if you will, to Nutan.
Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas he had eyes and devotion only for Nutan. In later years Aruna Irani played a similar role in Caravan.
In Milan Jamuna was not keen to do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the Telugu original of Milan. But it was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal which convinced Jamuna to take up the second lead in Milan.
While Nutan had no solo songs in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet Sawan ka mahina . Jamuna on the other hand, had two splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya and the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin.Not only these, Jamuna also had a hit duet with Mukesh based on her character Gauri: Bol Gauri bol tera kaun piya.
But then, fate intervened. After the film released one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was snipped out of the film.
Here is what happened: the Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when it released on 17 March 1967. But then it was seen to hamper the flow of the film and edited out. The beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer Prasad, a shrewd filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their loo breaks as there was a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice of a seriously sonorous melody.
Jamuna hardly did Hindi films after Milan. Her last Bollywood appearance was in Raj Kumar Kohli’s Raj Tilak where she was lost in a multistarrer as the royal queen.