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‘Monica’ Helen shares weight-loss secret; ‘Mona-darling’ Bindu reveals Raaz behind ‘Shabnam’ song

The unique non-stop musical show (“An evening with Mona Darling and Monica Darling”) was dedicated to and had the distinguished presence of both ‘living legends’ dancer-actresses Helen and Bindu.

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Bindu and Helen

By Chaitanya Padukone

Intriguing as it may sound, super-icon agile dancer of Bollywood, Helen had gone on a strict diet regime of “consuming only butter-milk for three days”. That then was her dedicated prep for the rhythmic peppy cabaret song ‘Karle Pyaar Karle’ (Talaash, 1971). “This was necessary because I was required to wear a bikini costume with a plume of feathers for performing this dance number and after that rigid ‘chhaas diet’ my waist measured 23 inches. During those three days, I missed regular food, but now, I guess I have made up for it “revealed a witty, dignified Helen as the frenzied audience went into revered raptures and applauded.

This was witnessed at the fabulous live concert with amazing singers and musicians conceptualized and directed by rhythm-wizard impresario Nitin Shankar on Saturday evening at Shanmukhananda Hall which was compered by celeb-anchors RJ Anmol and Hemali Sejpal. The unique non-stop musical show (“An evening with Mona Darling and Monica Darling”) was dedicated to and had the distinguished presence of both ‘living legends’ dancer-actresses Helen and Bindu.  Halfway thru the event, both the dancers seemed to be emotionally touched as they were felicitated by Nitin and his wife Jyoti Shankar on stage and honored with dazzling tiara crowns as ‘Queens of Hearts’ (theme of the show) amidst thundering applause.

 

Meanwhile, Bindu shared that, her being honored with Helen on the same stage was overwhelming as the latter has always been her inspiring idol.  Jogging into a flashback she recalled, “Since I am not a formally-trained dancer, I was asked by choreographer Robert-master to ‘keep Helen-Ji in mind and you will manage’ while rehearsing for the iconic unusual song ‘Shabnam Naam Hai Mera (Kati Patang) so that I could bring out my best.  After the shoot, I was not too sure of the outcome, but director Shakti-da Samanta was confident that the song would be a sure hit.

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As a young girl, I grew up watching graceful Helen-ji’s evergreen ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu’ (Howrah Bridge),” confides versatile young-at-heart Bindu who is still enthusiastic about considering acting roles. “No more guest appearances, but I don’t mind a well-defined proper role which excites me. It is disheartening that in the movie ‘Queen’ (2013) they did not give enough media hype that they had remixed one of my top favorite tracks ‘Hungama Ho Gaya’(Anhonee-1973) picturized on me, which was a sensational visual trendsetter of that era,” Bindu shared, speaking exclusively to me.

 

“Both Helen-Ji and Bindu-Ji are the pillars of our industry—if you exclude their songs from the filmy repertoire, there would be a huge vacuum,” observed Nitin whose selection of ‘Ek-se-badhkar-ek rhythmic mind-blowing songs (picturized on icons Helen and Bindu) at the concert was highly appreciated by everyone, including ‘special guests’ eminent Bollywood composer Jatin Pandit and Radio Nasha celeb-RJ Rohini.

(The writer Chaitanya Padukone is an eminent award-winning senior film-journalist and author of memoirs book R D BurMania)

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