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Jaddanbai

Jaddanbai (1892 – 8 April 1949) was an early singer, music composer, actress and filmmaker of Bollywood and one of the pioneers of Indian cinema. She was the mother of well-known actress, Nargis and maternal grandmother of Sanjay Dutt. She was the first female music director in the Indian film industry, followed by Saraswati Devi.

Biography

Jaddan Bai Hussain was born in 1892 in a Muslim family that migrated to Punjab and later to Chilbila Village in Allahabad. Her father died when she was five. Jaddan Bai moved to the city and became a singer but had difficulty due to her lack of formal training. She later approached Bhayya Saheb Ganpat of Calcutta and became his student. Ganpat died while she was still a student, so she completed her training under Ustad Moinuddin Khan. Later she also trained with Ustad Chaddu Khan Saheb and Ustad Laab Khan Saheb.

Her music became popular. She began recording ghazals with the Columbia Gramophone Company. She started participating in music sessions. She was invited by the rulers of many states like Rampur, Bikaner, Gwalior, Kashmir, Indore and Jodhpur. She had also rendered songs and ghazals at various radio stations in the country.

She later began acting when the Play Art Photo Tone Company of Lahore approached her for a role in their movie Raja Gopichand in 1933. She played the role of the mother of the title character. Later she worked for a Karachi based film company, in Insaan ya Shaitan.

She worked in two more movies, Prem Pariksha and Seva Sadan, before starting her own production company called Sangeet Films. The company produced Talashe Haq in 1935, in which she acted and composed the music. She also introduced her daughter Nargis as a child artist. In 1936 she acted in, directed, and wrote the music for Madam Fashion.

Her first marriage was with a Hindu man Narottamdas Khatri who converted to Islam and adopted the name of Bachi Babu their son was Akhtar Hussain. Her second marriage was with Ustaad Irshad Meer Khan and they had a son Anwar Hussain. Her third marriage was to Mohan Babu, originally a Moyal Saraswat Brahmin Hindu who converted to Islam and adopted the name Abdul Rashid.

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