How Chand Usmani Got Film Chance
A refreshingly unassuming person, attractive, sweet and completely natural, is starlet Chand Usmani.
Runner-up of the Kardar Kolynos Teresa Contest, she made a most promising debut in Kardar Productions’ “Jeevan Jyoti” and was, in fact, the nicest thing in the picture.
Slim and fair, with regular features framed in long black hair, Chand hails from Agra. The eldest of a family of four, she has two brothers and one sister.
Chand studied in Agra where her father, an optician, practiced. She finished her matriculation exam and then came to Bombay to live with her grandmother and her uncle.
Her parents, younger brothers and sister shifted to Hyderabad where the younger members of the family are still studying.
While in Bombay, Chand heard of the Kardar Kolynos Teresa contest and entered “just for fun.” She was very happy when she was chosen as the runner-up and, though her grandmother objected at first to her working in films, Chand soon won her over.
Utterly unaffected and possessing a rare placidity, Chand says quite casually that she felt nothing on the first day of shooting.
When “Jeevan Jyoti” was practically finished, her parents, who till then knew nothing about her being in films and hadn’t even heard of the contest, came to know that she was acting in a picture. They are orthodox people and were stunned, shocked and appalled at what they considered a dreadful catastrophe.
They are still not quite used to the idea and will probably never like it, although they saw “Jeevan Jyoti” and her mother liked both Chand’s work and the picture.
Her grandmother also saw the film and just loved it.
The contract she signed with Mr. Kardar was an exclusive two-year one, with a one-year option. The option has been picked up by Kardar and for 1954 Chand Usmani will work only in pictures made by Kardar Productions. She is waiting right now for her second picture, due to go on the floor any moment, to begin.
Most of her time Chand spends at home either reading or working round the house, though her best relaxation, she says, is sleeping. She stitches a good many of her clothes, knits and likes doing embroidery. She can also cook.
Chand goes to the pictures, mostly Western films, and her favorite stars are Ann Blyth, Elizabeth Taylor and Jean Simmons, as well as Nargis and Geeta Bali.
“My favorite playback singer is Geeta Roy,” she declared. “She is my best friend too.”
Chand intends learning dancing and declares she can listen to and appreciate music— “even classical music.”
The one hobby which interests her is looking through and filling up the pages of her scrapbook with photographs of herself and with her press-cuttings. She started this when she won the film contract in the Kardar Kolynos Teresa contest and it is one of her prized possessions.
Chand mostly wears salwar-kamiz outfits and gararas, saris occasionally. She braids her long hair and for formal functions dresses it in a knot. Fond of jewellery, she says pearls are her favorite gems.
Completely happy, unruffled and serene, Chand is quite content but, on being asked, said she has always wanted to play a role like Nargis’s in “Jogan” and Jamuna’s in “Devdas.” (This interview was conducted in 1954.)