Renuka Devi sings for Saraswati Devi in Bhabhi (1938)
Renuka Devi was from Aligarh, India. She was perhaps the first highly educated Muslim lady from upper or rich class to join the Hindi film industry. Daughter of a barrister, she was already married when she was discovered by Devika Rani and introduced in Bombay Talkies Jeevan Prabhat (1937). Although, her joining the film industry was met with some resistance from orthodox Muslim community, her performances got glowing reviews in magazines. Even the usually caustic Baburao Patel of Filmindia magazine declared that “Bombay Talkies have found another Devika [Rani]” and that “her performance has that distinctive grace and poise which can only be associated with a lady of culture and education”
Renuka had a short career in Hindi film industry, and she migrated to Pakistan after independence. She stayed away from Pakistani Film Industry but joined the Pakistani Television [perhaps because Pakistani Television had better quality as compared to film industry in those days] with her real name Begum Khurshid Mirza and appeared in numerous dramas and plays. More than 70 years have passed and Renuka Devi still remains an anomaly both in India and Pakistan because girls from upper circles tend to stay away from the film industry (They don’t have any reason to join the film industry unless they are pursuing it as a hobby).
This song from Bhabhi (1938) composed by Sarawati Devi was perhaps the most famous song of her career.