Remembering Bina Rai on her 8th death anniversary today.

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Bina Rai was a leading actress primarily of the black and white era. She had to convince her parents to allow her to act in films, she claimed that she went on a hunger strike in order to convince her disapproving parents to let her join films, and they finally relented. In the 1950’s she married actor Prem Nath. They had acted together in some films, the first movie in which he was paired with Bina was Aurat (1953 film), a Bollywood version of the tragic Biblical tale of Samson and Delilah (1949). The film was not a hit, but Bina and Prem Nath fell in love with each other. They married and soon set up their own production unit, known as P.N. Films.

Their first film from P.N. Films was Shagufa (1954) and they had pinned high hopes on it, but audiences rejected it. Neither Bina Rai’s elfin charm nor Prem Nath’s sensitive portrayal of the role of a doctor could save “Shagufa” from being a flop. And the films that followed “Shagufa” — Prisoner of Golconda, Samunder and Watan disappeared almost as soon as they hit the theater screens.

Thus the Prem Nath-Bina Rai pairing never clicked on the screen. However, her films with leading man Pradeep Kumar remain her best-remembered performances, where she played the title role in Anarkali (1954), Taj Mahal (1963 film) and Ghunghat (1960 film) for which she won the Filmfare Award Best Actress. In the 1970’s, her son Prem Krishen became an actor and had one big hit Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaye (1977) but couldn’t sustain the momentum so he turned producer. He launched his daughter Akshana Malhotra as an actress in 2002 in his home production, claiming that she reminds him so much of his mother Bina. Bina stopped acting in films many years ago, claiming that women of a certain age don’t get good roles. She also talks fondly of her husband Prem Nath who had passed away several years ago.

She passed away on 06th Dec 2009.

Celebrating Cinema

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