Are Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru/Gandhi family, and actor Sanjay Dutt, son of film stars of yesteryear, Nargis and Sunil Dutt, related to each other? Yes, if you believe IMDB, an Internet Movie Database site, owned by Amazon.com, a Fortune 500 company. Jaddan Bai, mother of Nargis, was born in Benares, around the year 1900. She was rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Motilal Nehru and famous courtesan Daleep Bai. Her mother (before she became a courtesan) hailed from a Brahmin family but was abducted by a group of trained tawaifs. Jaddan Bai was born a Hindu, picked from a mela of dancing girls when she was a child and groomed a tawaif. Though Jaddan was born in Benares, she was brought up in Allahabad. Jaddan Bai, became a disciple of noted Thumri singer Ustad Moijuddin Khan and the equally noted Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, younger brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Jaddan Bai became a very famous singer, composer, actress and filmmaker and was a good friend of Mehboob Khan who later became Nargis’s mentor.
Jaddan Bai had three children from three different men. The story of the union of Jaddan and Mohanbabu is very interesting. Uttamchand Mohanchand belonged to an orthodox Mohyal Brahmin family of Rawalpindi. He was to go to England to study medicine but heard the voice of Jaddan Bai and fell in love with her. His family refused to accept Jaddan Bai as their daughter-in-law but that did not deter him from marrying her and dedicating his entire life to her. Nargis was named Fatima A Rashid by her father but she later adopted the name Nargis for Hindi movies. Jaddan Bai’s two sons from different men, Akthar Hussain and Anwar Hussain became film directors and actors.
Jaddan Bai cast Nargis in Talashe Haq (1935), becoming the first woman composer of Indian cinema. In 1936, Jaddan Bai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddan Bai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the tender age of fourteen and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family. Jaddan Bai died on 8th April, 1949.
Disclaimer : The information on Jaddan Bai was collected from various credible and not-so-credible sources on the internet. The author of this blog does not in anyway mean to hurt the sentiments of anyone alive or disregard the souls of the dead.