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Helen Khan
Born Helen Richardson
21 October 1939 (1939-10-21) (age 70)
Occupation actor, dancer
Years active 1950–present
Spouse(s) Salim Khan (1980–present)

Helen Jairag Richardson Khan (born 21 October 1939 in Burma) is a Hindi film actress and dancer.[1]


Early life and background

Born Helen Richardson in Burma to Indian parents on 21 October 1939,[2] she has a brother Roger and a sister Jennifer. Her father died during the Second World War. The family migrated to Mumbai in 1943 during World War II, but her mother's salary as a nurse was not enough, and Helen had to quit her schooling to support the family.[3]


Helen got her break when a family friend, an actress known as Cukoo, helped her find jobs as a chorus dancer in the films Shabistan and Awaara (1951). She was soon working regularly and was featured as a solo dancer in films such as Alif Laila (1952), Hoor-e-Arab (1953), and number "Mr. John O Baba Khan" in the film Baarish.

In 1958, she performed in the song "Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu" in Shakti Samanta's film, Howrah Bridge, which was sung by Geeta Dutt. During her initial career, Dutt sang many songs for her.[4] The Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle also frequently sang for Helen, particularly during the 1960s.

She was nominated for the Filmfare best supporting actress award in 1965 for her role in Gumnaam. She played dramatic roles such as the rape victim in Shakti Samanta's Pagla Kahin Ka (1970).

Writer Salim Khan helped her get roles in some of the films he was co-scripting with Javed Akhtar: Imaam Dharam, Don, Dostana, and Sholay. This was followed by a role in Mahesh Bhatt's film Lahu Ke Do Rang (1979), for which she won a Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award.

Helen retired from the screen for a number of years, but appeared in a few guest roles in 1999 and 2000. In Mohabbatein, she plays the prim and proper head of a girls' school who is pulled out onto a dance floor and surprises everyone with her lively dancing. She also made a special appearance as the mother of Salman Khan's character in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Helen was selected for the Padma Shri awards of 2009 along with Aishwarya Rai and Akshay Kumar.

Non-acting career

Helen also performed numerous stage shows in London, Paris, and Hong Kong.

In 1973, Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls, a 30-minute documentary film from Merchant Ivory Films, was released. Anthony Korner directed and narrated the film. A book about Helen was published by Jerry Pinto in 2006, titled The Life and Times of an H-Bomb [2], which went on to win the National Film Award for Best Book on Cinema in 2007.

Personal life

Helen married Salim Khan, and become his second wife, in 1980. They adopted a girl, Arpita. Indian film actor Salman Khan is her step son and she has acted as his mother in film Hum dil de Chuke Sanam, as grand mother-in-law in " Khamoshi- the Musical " & "Dil ne jise apna kaha" and as his grandmother in film Marigold.

Selected filmography

Awards and nominations


Further reading

  • Pinto, Jerry. Helen; The Life and Times of An H-Bomb. New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2006. ISBN 0143031244.

External links



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