In Yash Chopra’s Daag ,Padma Khanna had one rumbustious Punjabi folk number Ni main yaar manana ni in Lataji’s song.

Padma Khanna  danced Her Way Into Stardom 886311

Padma Khanna, a trained Kathak exponent who turns a year older on March 10 , was a better dancer than all the other dancing stars of the era.She could sizzle in cabarets and mujras without ever looking vulgar.Many iconic songs of the dance genre were filmed on her.

To begin with she had a minor role in the Biswajit starrer Biwi Aur Makaan in 1966 where she was billed as ‘Kumari Padma’. The really big break was the bold striptease in Vijay Anand’s Johnny Mera Naam. The song Husn ke lakhon rang aag hai yeh badan kaun sa ang dekhoge,and her provocative but never obscene dance moves as she stripped down to a bikini in front of a drooling Premnath, placed Padma on the perch of the prancing pyramid.

The offers poured in. And Padma made sway while the song shined.Padma’s next big dance hit was another ‘rang’ and ‘ang’ sizzler by Asha Bhosle: Sanwala rang hai mera reshmi ang hai mera in Manmohan Desai’s Rampur Ka Lakshman.

During the same year Padma made an “invisible impact” in Kamal amrohi’s Pakeezah wherein Meena Kumari, too ill to do the frenzied climactic Mujra,was given a body double.Yes, that was Padma Khanna with a veil covering her face dancing in Teer-e-nazar dekhenge.

Padma’s big performance-oriented opportunity came in Rajshri productions’ Saudagar where she replaced Mumtaz as the coquettish Phool Bano and danced her way into the audiences’ hearts with Asha Bhosle’s Sajna hai mujhe and Kyon layo sajan paan , and Latajii’s Mera hoon phool bano.

In the Shashi Kapoor starrer Naina , Padma Khanna and the film’s leading lady Moushumi Chatterjee perform separately to the same Shankar-Jaikishan tune Hone lagi hai raat jawaan.We can clearly see who among the two is the dancer.

In Yash Chopra’s Daag ,Padma Khanna had one rumbustious Punjabi folk number Ni main yaar manana ni in Lataji’s song. So powerful was the impact of Padma’s steps that to this day audiences don’t know the identity of the other dancer with Padma in the song.

While Lataji sang for Padma and Minoo Purshottam for the other dancer in Ni main yaar manana ni, Padma had to make do with Usha Khanna while Mumtaz got Lataji in their catchy dance number together Din raat jale ankhiyan in the film Pardesi.

Padma’s less popular dance numbers that you may like to check out include Bhor hotey balam chale jayenge(a rare Madan Mohan Mujra in Sultana Daku ), Kaanp rahi main(Joshila), Hamra balma beimaan(Kotwaal Saab) and Are mere yaar mujhe ttham(Chingari). In the last mentioned Padma actually got veteran actor David to his feet.

About The Author
Subhash K Jha

Subhash K. Jha is a veteran Indian film critic, journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He is currently film critic with leading daily The Times of India, Firstpost, Deccan chronicle and DNA News, besides TV channels Zee News and News18 India.