Helen Jairag Richardson Khan, popularly known as only ‘Helen’ is a Hindi film actress and dancer, best known for playing vamps and vixens in Bollywood movies of the 1950s to 1980s. She has appeared in over 700 films, and is often cited as the most popular item number dancer of her time. She is famous for her performances in flamboyant dance sequences and cabaret numbers. She is known as the "Cabaret Queen of India" and the "Golden Girl of India".
Early Life of Helen
Helen Richardson was born in Burma to an Anglo-Indian father and Burmese mother on October 21, 1939. She has a brother Roger and a sister Jennifer. Her father died during the Second World War. The family migrated to Mumbai in 1943 during World War II as refugees in order to escape the Japanese invasion of Burma. Helen had to quit her schooling to support the family.
Film Career of Helen
Helen was introduced to Bollywood in 1953 by the famous dancer Cuckoo. She got her break in 1958 when she performed the song ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo’ in the movie "Howrah Bridge". Helen rarely got roles as the lead heroine in movies because of her Oriental looks. So, she opted dancing which proved to be her fortune. Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, she danced in more than 700 movies establishing herself as a prolific dancer. She was known for wearing different colors of wigs, contact lenses and skimpy outfits in her movies.
Helen also played multi ethnic characters in movies. She was an Anglo-Indian gold digger in "Gumnaam" (1965), a German Spy in "Ek Se Badhkar Ek" (1976), a Chinese night club dancer in "Howrah Bridge" (1958), an Indian fisher-woman in "Inkaar" (1977), an Italian friend of Vyjayanthimala in "Prince" (1969), a Burmese woman in "Lahu Ke Do Rang" (1979) and an African woman in "Hulchul" (1971).
Helen has officially retired from movies in 1983 but then appeared in a few guest roles in movies like, "Khamoshi: The Musical" (1996), "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" (1999), "Mohabbatein" (2000) and "Humko Deewana Kar Gaye" (2006).
Achievements of Helen
Helen was awarded the ‘Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress’ for the movie "Lahu Ke Do Rang" in 1979 and was honoured with the ‘Filmfare Award for Lifetime Achievement’ in the year 1999.
Personal Life of Helen
Helen’s first marriage was in 1957 to film director Prem Narayan Arora who was 27 years older than her. She divorced him in 1974. Married Salim Khan in 1981 and became his second wife. Helen met Salim Khan in 1962 on the sets of "Kabli Khan" (1963) where she was the heroine and he was the villain in the movie.
Popular Dance Numbers of Helen
‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu’ - "Howrah Bridge" (1958)
‘Oyee Maa Oyee Maa Yeh Kya Ho Gaya’ - "Paras Mani" (1963)
‘Gham Chhod ke Manao Rang Relly’ - "Gumnaam" (1965)
‘O Haseena Zulfowali’ - "Teesri Manzil" (1966)
‘Aa Jaane Jaan’ - "Intaquam" (1969)
‘Piya Tu Ab To Aaja’ - "Caravan" (1971)
‘Ae Nujawan Hai Sab’ - "Apradh" (1972)
‘Aaj Ki Raat Koi Aane Ko Hai’ - "Anamika" (1973)
‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ - "Sholay" (1975)
‘Mungla Main Gud Ki Dali’ - "Inkaar" (1978)
‘Yeh Mera Dil Pyar Ka Deewana’ - "Don" (1978)
‘Yeh Pal Chanchal’ - "Kalicharan" (1976)
(Last Updated on : 06-11-2015)
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