Helen is widely considered to be the first cabaret dancer to feature in Bollywood films. She was a prominent face in the Hindi film industry, especially in the 50s and 60s. Helen also received a Padma Shri award by the Government of India in 2009. The actor-dancer has reportedly featured in over 300 films. Helen celebrates her 81st birthday today on November 21, 2019. On her birthday, take a look at Helen's family tree.
Helen was born in Burma and has an Anglo-Indian origin. Her early life has evidently been an interesting one as she had to go through some troubles in her childhood days. Helen's mother was from Burma, she had a brother and a stepsister. After her father's death, her mother married a British soldier and Helen took on her stepfather's surname of Richardson. As per reports, Richardson died in World War 2 and her entire family then moved to Mumbai as Japan occupied Burma. While speaking to a news daily, Helen had revealed that her journey from Burma to Mumbai was not an easy one. Her mother, who was pregnant at that time went through a miscarriage. Many people from the group she was travelling with reportedly passed away due to starvation and illnesses. Helen in the end along with her family found their way to Kolkata.
At the age of 19, Helen got a break in the film industry with the film Howrah Bridge which featured the song Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu which helped her gain success. Helen then married director PN Arora in 1957. After being married for 16 years, the two reportedly divorced due to financial issues. Helen's apartment was apparently sealed unable to pay rent. After five years of her divorce, Helen met Salim Khan while working on a film. The two reportedly shared a good relationship before marrying each other in 1981. Back then, Salim Khan was already married to Sushila Charak and had three sons with her, Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan respectively. As per reports, Sushila Charak was completely against the marriage and did not accept Helen in her family. However, after a few years, the family became more open and accepting of Helen.
Helen has been popular throughout her career. Even now as she has not been as active in her career as before, she is still remembered fondly and loved by her fans. Here are some of the messages her fans shared on her birthday.
Wishing the real dancing diva of Bollywood, the cabaret queen of Indian Cinemas, the 'Queen of the Notch girls' a very happy birthday! She didn't only inspire us to dance, she inspired us to live! Nobody did it better than #Helen & nobody ever will! #BollywoodActress #Bollywood pic.twitter.com/F293zCFWbO— Kushal Roy (@itskushalroy) November 21, 2019
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