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"Guriya Humse Roothi Rahogi, Na Hansogi" - Baby Farida (Farida Dadi)

23 Mar, 2020 | Beete Hue Din by Shishir Krishna Sharma
Baby Farida. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Baby Farida! A big name among child artists of the sixties, she did nearly 60 movies during her decade long career and then bid adieu to the limelight of Hindi Cinema. The reason was her earnest wish to become a doctor because of which she turned down lead roles in movies like Raj Kapoor’s Bobby and Rajshri’s Uphar. Due to some reasons, though she could not achieve her dream of becoming a doctor, but she enjoyed her life in the roles of a daughter-in-law, wife and mother after marriage. Decades later, when she became free from family responsibilities, she made a comeback to the field of acting. 
 

Farida. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din


I met Farida ji on the sets of the Colours’ Show Uttaran in Madh Island where she was playing the role of Anjum Nani. Her childhood image was so engraved in my mind that it was difficult for me to reconcile that image with her present image. I did this interview of hers for the daily Rajasthan Patrika
 
Baby Farida. Image Courtesy : Beete Hue Din

Farida ji was born on 8th June 1952 in a traditional Muslim family in Mumbai. Though her parents were also born and brought up in Mumbai, they originally belonged to Uttar Pradesh. Her mother’s family was from Lucknow while her father’s was from Prayagraj (then Allahabad). Farida ji was the third among three brothers and three sisters. She told me, “Our family did not have any connection with films nor were we familiar with any film personalities. I had never even thought of appearing in films, but circumstances so emerged that without any special efforts I made an entry into films and became busy as a child artist. Actually, us children used to play every evening in Andheri (West)’s Lallubhai Park. Famous actor Prem Adib ji who stayed near the park, used to see me play in the park every day. One day he met my mother and requested her to take me to Filmalaya as they were looking for child artists. After reaching there, we met the owner of Filmalaya, Sashadhar Mukherjee who called me for shooting the following day.“
Actually, us children used to play every evening in Andheri (West)’s Lallubhai Park. Famous actor Prem Adib ji who stayed near the park, used to see me play in the park every day. One day he met my mother and requested her to take me to Filmalaya as they were looking for child artists. After reaching there, we met the owner of Filmalaya, Sashadhar Mukherjee who called me for shooting the following day.
Sashdhar Mukherjee, after separating from Filmistan had laid the foundation of Filmalaya in Andheri(West)’s Amboli Area in the year 1958.  According to Farida ji, in those days, the shooting for the studio’s first movie Charity Master was underway. The lead roles were being played by Dilip Kumar and Shanta Apte with Farida ji being selected for the role of the daughter of Shanta Apte’s character. Due to some reasons, the movie Charity Master got shelved. Around the same time, Farida ji got the opportunity to appear in the children’s song Ek Do Teen Chaar Aur Paanch … Unmen The Jhagde Sau in Guru Dutt’s movie Kagaz Ke Phool (1959). 
 
Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) Image Courtesy : Beete Hue Din

Farida ji tells us, “Initially Guru Dutt sent me back as according to him as per the song’s demand I did not look like a child belonging to a poor family. Later, he changed his mind. Baby Naaz was also accompanying me in that song. Through Naaz’s father, I reached Bimal Roy who gave me an important role in his movie Sujata (1959)." 
 
Sujata. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din
 
"Baby Naaz was also accompanying me in that song. Through Naaz’s father, I reached Bimal Roy who gave me an important role in his movie Sujata (1959)."
Kagaz Ke Phool and Sujata both released in 1959 but since Sujata released first It is considered as the debut film of Baby Farida. The success of Sujata helped further the career of Farida ji and she started getting work in many movies continuously. They included Mehboob’s Son of India (1962), Raj Kapoor’s Sangam (1964), L V Prasad’s Beti Bete (1964), Rajshri’s Dosti (1964) and many other hits like Kalpana (1960), Usne Kaha Tha (1960), Chhaya (1961),  Kabuliwala (1961), Manmauji (1962), Janwar (1965), Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and Raat Aur Din (1967).
 
A lobby card of Beti Bete. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din
 
The Children’s Film Society movie Dilli Ki Kahani also fetched her the President’s Prize from Dr Rajendra Prasad which Farida ji considers as the highlight achievement of her career. She received awards for Beti Bete from the Russian Government and from the Andhra Pradesh Government for Jab Jab Phool Khile
Ram Aur Shyam, Teen Bahuraniyan (1968) and Brahmachari (1968) proved to be her last released movies from her child artist phase. 

Farida ji recalls, ‘The doctor’s profession had attracted me from the beginning and I slowly started focusing on my studies. I was so keen on becoming a doctor that I didn’t think twice before refusing lead roles in Raj Kapoor’s film ‘Bobby’ and ‘Rajshri Production’’s movie ‘Uphar’. However, unfortunately, despite all my efforts I could not achieve my dream of becoming a doctor’. 
During this phase, her sister Baby Guddi and brothers Master Shahid and Master Javid had also made a name for themselves as child artists in Hindi films.
During this phase, her sister Baby Guddi and brothers Master Shahid and Master Javid had also made a name for themselves as child artists in Hindi films. Master Shahid had played important roles in many movies like Love in Tokyo (1966) while Baby Guddi had acted in important roles in movies like Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971). In fact, Baby Farida, Master Shahid and Baby Guddi had even worked together for the movie Brahmachari. At the same time, Master Javid became popular for his roles in movies like Satta Bazaar (1959), 
Mujhe Jeene Do (1963) and Waqt (1965). Baby Guddi, whose real name is Fauzia is now settled in Bhopal. Master Shahid is a chartered account who stays in Saudi Arabia. Late Master Javid who was an interior designer sadly passed away in the year 2006.   
 
Dosti. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Farida ji told me, “I got married in the year 1971 and became totally busy with family responsibilities. Since I had family terms with Dilip Sahab and Saira Bano, when Saira ji made television serials like Is Duniya Ke Sitaare and Zara Dekho To Inka Kamaal, I helped them by working behind the camera. I became a bit free after my son and daughter got married and to spend my time I once again stood before the camera. I began the second inning of my acting career in the year 2003 with Cinevista company’s program Sanjeevani following which without my realizing I got totally busy with acting assignments again. On the TV screen I appeared in serials like Kise Apna Kahen, Saathiya, Crime Patrol, Yahi To Hai Who, Kabhi To Nazar Milaao, Baali Umar Ko Salaam, to Ichhhadhaari Naagin and Tantra. I have also worked in movies like Dhol, Saawariya, Three Idiots, Rahasya and Jalebi. I continue to work on such assignments.” 
 
Son of India. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din
 
Farida ji summarizes, “With time, whatever came my way, I kept accepting it. Due to this, I do not have any regrets regarding what I did not achieve. I am just happing that during the second inning of my acting career also I am getting good work and respect. Who needs anything more than that?”
Farida ji’s husband is a Gujarati and a builder by profession. Her daughter stays in Kuwait with her husband and two children. Her son is married to Fauzia (Baby Guddi)’s daughter and they have three daughters together. Farida ji summarizes, “With time, whatever came my way, I kept accepting it. Due to this, I do not have any regrets regarding what I did not achieve. I am just happy that during the second inning of my acting career also I am getting good work and respect. Who needs anything more than that?”

Part of Shishir Krishna Sharma's Beete Hue Din blog series. 
 

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