Cuckoo Moray

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Cuckoo Moray
Born 4 February 1928
Died 30 September 1981
Occupation Actress, dancer
Years active 1946–1963

Cuckoo Moray, also credited as Cuckoo or Cukoo, (4 February 1928 - 30 September 1981)[1] was an Anglo-Indian dancer and actress in Indian cinema.[2] Cukoo was the queen of film dancing in Hindi cinema of the 1940s and 1950s. Though unfamiliar name, she was known as the "rubber girl" of Hindi cinema and her talent made cabaret dancing a must in the Bollywood films during the 1940s and 1950s. It has been recently[when?] confirmed that Cuckoo’s real name was Cuckoo Moray.[3]

Early career[edit]

Cukoo made her screen debut in the film Arab Ka Sitara in 1946.[4] Then soon after in Stum Chandi, the large audience and directors noticed her dancing abilities for the first time. Then the turning point in Cukoo's career were in Mehboob Khan's films. Her dance number in his film Anokhi Ada (1948) established her as the lead dancer of the era and in Andaz (1949), a romantic drama starring Nargis, Dilip Kumar, and Raj Kapoor, gave the dancer an opportunity to display her acting skills. In Mehboob Khan's 1952 technicolour film Aan she had a brief cameo in her only film in colour. She would charge Rs 6,000[5] for a dance number, an enviable fee in the 50s.[6]

Later life[edit]

Cukoo remained the best dancer in Hindi films until dancers like Helen and Vyjayanthimala came along in the industry. Cukoo was a family friend of the Anglo-Burmese dancer and actress Helen. She was also known for helping unknown actors get their break in Bollywood like Pran in Ziddi. Cukoo had introduced a 13-year-old Helen into films as a chorus dancer in the films like Shabistan and Awaara (both 1951).[4] Cukoo and Helen most notably appeared in song and dance sequences together like in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) and Yahudi (1958). Her last film appearance was in Mujhe Jeene Do in 1963 after which she had disappeared from the film industry.

Cukoo died on 30 September 1981 due to cancer[5] at the age of 52. She was forgotten and unattended by the film industry at the time of her death.

Selected filmography[edit]

Film Year Role
Anokhi Ada 1948 Stage Dancer
Andaz 1949 Sheila
Barsaat 1949 Ruby
Arzoo 1950 Dancer
Hulchul 1951
Awaara 1951 Bar Dancer
Aan 1952
Mr. and Mrs. 55 1955 Singer
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi 1958
Yahudi 1958
Bus Conductor 1959
Mujhe Jeene Do 1963

References[edit]

  1. ^ Down Melody Lane 1981-1985
  2. ^ Rishi, Tilak (2012). Bless You Bollywood!: A tribute to Hindi Cinema on completing 100 years. Trafford Publishing. p. 240. ISBN 1-466-93962-1. 
  3. ^ Cuckoo's cineplot profile
  4. ^ a b Early Icons Of Item Numbers, Sulekha, retrieved 14 January 2016 
  5. ^ a b The Tragic ending of Cuckoo Moore – Helen remembers Cuckoo, CinePlot, retrieved 14 January 2016 
  6. ^ Sandip Pal (20 August 2015). "Forgotten gems of Bollywood - The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-09-03. 

External links[edit]