Shining no more: Fame to obscurity, journey of yesteryear star Daljeet Kaur, better known as Hema Malini of Punjab, is a stark reminder of the fleeting nature of fame : The Tribune India

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Shining no more: Fame to obscurity, journey of yesteryear star Daljeet Kaur, better known as Hema Malini of Punjab, is a stark reminder of the fleeting nature of fame

Shining no more: Fame to obscurity, journey of yesteryear star Daljeet Kaur, better known as Hema Malini of Punjab, is a stark reminder of the fleeting nature of fame

(L-R) Daljeet Kaur, Preeti Jhangiani and f Bally Sagoo at the launch of album Sajna Ve Sajna



Sheetal

Where do the stars go in the daytime? Probably, they go unnoticeable in the glow of far brighter sun. And the relevance of it lies in the demise of yesteryear Punjabi actress Daljeet Kaur, who was just 69! The actress flamed out with time to lead a normal life. She passed away on Thursday owing to prolonged illness. She also suffered from dementia and did not remember who she was in her last days. Her death serves as a reminder to the impermanence of fame and short memory span of the audiences.

Only the internet helped in reminding the talent she possessed and the works she has left behind as her legacy. Known as ‘Hema Malini’ and ‘Queen’ of Punjabi Films, Daljeet’s last on-screen presence was in Gippy Grewal’s Singh Vs Kaur, which released in 2013. Reportedly, Daljeet also shot for a Bhagwant Mann (currently, Chief Minister, Punjab) starrer, Moga to Melbourne via Chandigarh, which was penned by Mann too. A satire on migration of youth from Punjab, the film was made in 2013, but hasn’t been released till date.

‘She was caring’

I never had the opportunity to work with Daljeet ji, but we went together on a tour in London to perform. She was a senior actor for me but she never made me feel like that. In fact, she took care of me like her own. Nirmal Rishi, actress

Inspiration for life

#RIP#Daljitkaur Ji you were an inspiration….. very sad news . Am so grateful I had the opportunity to work with you #legend in #HeerRanjha Neeru Bajwa via Instagram post

Very few from the Punjabi industry have come forward to pay tributes to Daljeet Kaur as if they have forgotten her contribution to the Punjabi cinema. From 1970s to 1990s, Kaur worked in more than 70 Punjabi films and about 10 Hindi films. She studied at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi and later did an acting course from Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. She started her career with short film, Bonga, directed by fellow student Kundan Shah. Her batch mate for two years and actor, Sudhir Pandey, remembers Daljeet as a cheerful and considerate girl.

He adds, “We did Bonga as a student project before passing out from FTII. The cast of this short film — Daljeet, Satish Shah, Suresh Oberoi, Rakesh Bedi and I were enrolled in the course in the year 1974. We used to joke how Daljeet would be the first to get work in the Hindi film industry. ‘Ye to Siliguri se aayi hai, itni sundar hai, isi ko sab se pehle kaam milega’. After working in a few projects in Mumbai, she moved her base and focussed on Punjabi cinema. We came to know that after her husband’s demise she took a break and also started feeling lonely. I met her last around the year 2000 when she was in Mumbai. She had expressed her wish to do television shows and I advised her to start reconnecting and extend her circle to be back in acting. But then we heard news which could be true or just a rumour that she had mental health issues and was living in a village in Punjab. It was sad to know that her personal problems led her away from cinema she so admired.”

While Daljeet took a hiatus from films after her husband Harminder Singh Deol passed away, she made a comeback with Punjabi film Jee Aayaan Nu.

Singer-actor Gurdas Maan also penned a heartfelt post with her picture on his social media handle, “Daljeet Kaur Ji, Khoobsoorti di misaal, Indian cinema tuhanu humesha yaad rakhu. (She was epitome of beauty, Indian cinema will always remember you).” Daljeet and Maan worked together in Mamla Garbar Hai, which released in 1983.

While she had worked in supporting cast in Hindi films Yaari Dushmani, Dakait, and Dhan Daulat, she enjoyed much-bigger fan following in Punjabi films. Patola, Daaj, Putt Sarpanch De and Ki Banu Duniya Da are some of her successful films earning her the title of ‘Hema Malini of Punjab.’

#hema malini


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