When it comes to a female actor whose impecabble comic timing never fails to tickle our funny bone, Tun Tun's name definitely tops the list. Born as Uma Devi Khatri, she was the first female comedian in Bollywood. But you folks would be surprised to know that Tun Tun initially began his career in the film industry as a playback singer? Yes, you heard that right. Born in a wealthy conservative family in Uttar Pradesh, Tu Tun eloped from her house at the age of 13 and arrived in Bombay (Mumbai). She knocked on composer Naushad Ali's door and told him that she would throw herself in the ocean if he didn't give her a chance to sing. He auditioned her and Tun Tun made her debut as a solo playback singer in Nazir's Wamiq Azra in 1946.
On her 95th birthday anniversary today, we pay a tribute to this spunky actress-singer-
From Singing To Acting
Uma Devi Khatri or Tun Tun became a singing sensation overnight with the song 'Afsaana likh rahi hoon' from the 1947 film Dard and then decided to switch over to acting. It was Naushad who suggested that she take up acting, because she had a very bubbly personality and wonderful comic timing.
She Was An Ardent Fan Of Dilip Kumar
Tun Tun was adamant that she wanted a role opposite Dilip Kumar. Naushad couldn't stop laughing, but he talked to Dilip. Knowing about her crazy love for Dilip Kumar, a role was created for Uma in the film Babul in 1950. A scene required her to chase him around a charpai (cot), but she ran so fast that she would leave the hero behind. Ultimately, after repeated takes, she pulled him in front of her. But in the process she fell on the charpai and Dilip fell on her. The shot was canned and they retained the shot. Further it was Dilip Kumar who rechristened her as Tun Tun which later on became her on-screen name.
The Funny Bone
While all the heroines in those days were on a constant diet, Tun Tun always made it a point to carry a dabba with her all the time. She would often joke, "I had to maintain myself."
How She Made Her Dream Come True
As a kid, Tun Tun would climb on imli trees, play on farm yards and listen to film songs on the radio and would often dream of hearing her name on the air waves. But Singing was taboo in her orthodox North Indian household. So, she began practicing singing on the sly by listening to Ramlila and film songs. She taught herself to read and write Hindi and later picked up a smattering of Urdu and English to get into the film industry.
Guru Dutt Cast Her In Almost All His Films
Guru Dutt was her fan and cast her in almost all his films. Her favourite role too was from Guru Dutt's "Mr and Mrs 55" in which she essayed the role of a Christian lady.