Lost for decades, a treasure trove of Bollywood history

Back in the 1950s, when a young, starstruck woman wrote letters to the biggest Indian movie stars of her time – much to the disapproval of her mother – she would receive signed portraits and cheery personalised notes in return. The black and white portrait collection — a veritable treasure trove of India’s cinematic history — was recently shared by her niece Sam Jawed, who spoke to The Independent on Thursday after a post about the photographs on Twitter went viral.Ms Jawed is in talks with the National Film Archive of India, which has offered to acquire and preserve the invaluable collection. Many of the actors Mehrunnisa Najma wrote to in the 1950s and 60s have either passed away or are in their 70s and 80s. The photos and notes, locked away in a store in the basement of the house of her niece, had missives from big-name actors such as Shammi Kapoor, Dharmendra Deol, Kamini Kaushal, Biswajeet Chatterjee, Sadhana Shivdasani, Asha Parekh, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, and Raaj Kumar, among others. The letters — heartfelt, generous and warm — were possibly written by the stars during the initial years of their careers, and hark back to an uncomplicated time when the distance between movie stars and their young fans was bridged through postal communication. “My aunt used to write to movie stars and collect their pictures and autographs in the 1950s and early 1960s. She must have been in her twenties at that time. “I really wonder in those days before social media how she man…. Read more: https://tinyurl.com/yaebc4p8
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