Mumtaz’s first cinematic appearance wasn’t in a film role, but during two intermittent song interludes in M. Usman’s 1973 Urdu film Farz where she wiggled her voluptuous yet constrained figure. This body kineticism gave way to another outstanding song sequence in Haider Chaudry’s Punjabi film Ziddi with Yusuf Khan, Zamarrud and Firdous. The song, based in a mujra milieu, became famous and popular for it’s erotic appeal and the suggestive wording of it’s opening lines: Ve chad meri veeni na maror (Don’t you twist my arms).

Mumtaz’s first acting role was as a supporting heroine in Shamim Ara’s Bhool (1974) starring Nadeem, Shabnam and Babra Sharif. Despite several other nondescript roles during the early 1970’s, two superhits came to Mumtaz’s way during the mid 70’s. One was 1975’s multi-starrer Jab Jab Phool Khiley with Waheed Murad, Mohammad Ali, Nadeem and Zeba and the other was the comedy Pyar ka Mausam with Munawwar Zarif. Mumtaz’s fledgling career was on a roll. Other successes included 1975’s Mohabat Zindagi Hai with Waheed Murad in which a song titled Tut trut trut tara tara landed Mumtaz in hot soup with the Censor Board and the newly installed Zia regime banning it from all electronic media. Although the song was hardly suggestive or erotic, the words through some subconscious transference implied a rude kink, despite another more suggestive song in the film, the brazenly lewd Dil sambhala na jaey. Another hit which endeared her to the masses was 1974’s Jadoo with Shahid.

During the 1970’s Mumtaz was embroiled in a huge scandal during the making of S. Suleiman’s Intezar (1974). Mumtaz’s then husband, studio owner Bari Malik, was scandalized by the close proximity shared by Mumtaz and her co-star Nadeem and made the cinematic duo drink a glass of milk on the set to pledge their siblinghood as brother and sister. She was married to Malik for a short period before separating from him in early 1980’s. During the early 1980’s only three film actresses held court in Pakistani film’s throne room : Shabnam, Babra Sharif and Mumtaz. During her hey day, Mumtaz’s outstanding films include 1981’s Manzil with Muhammad Ali and Shabnam; 1982’s Khushboo with Shahid and Rani; and 1984’s Muqadar ka Sikandar with Muhammad Ali and Sultan Rahi.

In late 1980’s, due to her considerable weight, she was slotted into Punjabi films wearing lacha kurta and begin paired with and competing with the other voluptuous screen diva, Anjuman notably in 1981’s Sher Khan.

In this still from 1974’s Shikar with Shahid, Mumtaz is made to dance like a marionette in the film’s first song, Dil leke mukar geya haey wearing an emerald cut guluband set, floral hairs, gem pins and the gota covered jora with cone held dupatta, one wonders if the larger than life actress’s private existence and career had as many strings pulling them.

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