Mumtaz is a famous Bollywood actress, best remembered for her roles in 'Tere Mere Sapne' (1971) and 'Khilona' (1970). Her performance in 'Khilona' got her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. She is often cited as one of the most beautiful Bollywood actresses of her time.
Mumtaz was born to Abdul Saleem Askari and Shadi Habib Agha in Bombay, India, on 31 July 1947. She entered Hindi Cinema at the age of twelve. She started as an extra in films in the early 1960s. She accepted small roles in big films like 'Mujhe Jeene Do' and big roles in small budgeted stunt films like 'Boxer', 'Samson', 'Tarzan' and 'King Kong'. In the 1960s, she starred in as many as 16 action films with freestyle wrestler Dara Singh and was labelled as a stunt film heroine.
She first gained attention in a supporting role as a vamp in the A grade color hit film 'Mere Sanam' (1965). The memorable sexy song "Yeh Hai Reshmi Zulphon Ka Andhera" was picturized on her. The success of the film led to another sizzling song "Aye dushman jaan" in another big-budget film 'Patthar Ke Sanam'.
Finally, she gained major attention when she played one of Dilip Kumar's leading ladies in 'Ram Aur Shyam' (1967). The film became one of the top hits of the year, and she received her first Filmfare nomination as Best Supporting Actress. Suddenly, Mumtaz was flooded with offers, but still not for major leading lady roles. She supported Sharmila Tagore in several films in the late 1960s, such as for 'Saawan Ki Ghata', 'Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi', and 'Mere Humdum Mere Dost'. She had a memorable song and dance number ("Aaj kal tere mere") with her then-boyfriend Shammi Kapoor in the hit film 'Brahmachari' (1968).
It took Raj Khosla's blockbuster 'Do Raaste' (1969) starring the phenomenon Rajesh Khanna to finally make Mumtaz a full-fledged star. Oddly, it was just an inconsequential girlfriend role but director Khosla, so good at picturizing songs, filmed four hit songs on Mumtaz. The film made her hugely popular, and she acknowledged that even though she had a small role, it was still one of her favorite films. When earlier, she had played a small role as Rajendra Kumar's sister in
Gehra Daag', now was elevated to playing his leading lady in 'Tangewala'. Earlier, Shashi Kapoor had refused to work with her because she was a "stunt film heroine" in Saccha Jootha, now wanted her to be his heroine in Chor Machaye Shor.
Mumtaz acted in over a hundred films in a career that spanned just 12 years. She won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for one of her favorite films 'Khilona' in 1970, and she was "very happy that the audience accepted her in an emotional role." Mumtaz starred in many movies with Feroz Khan and her other popular pairing have been with Jeetendra and Rajesh Khanna. She has also acted with Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar and other top heroes of her era. She was proud of her work in her other favorite films 'Tere Mere Sapne' for director Vijay Anand, as well as 'Roop Tera Mastana', 'Aap Ki Kasam' and 'Aaina'.
She quit acting after her appearance in 'Aaina' (1977) which was a flop, even though it had co-starred Rajesh Khanna and was directed by famous director Kailasam Balachander. After that, she left films for marriage to a millionaire and only returned for one final film appearance 12 years later in the 1989 film 'Aandhiyan', which flopped and she turned down other film offers. In 1996 she received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.
In June 2008, she was honored for her "Achievement in Indian Cinema" by the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) in Bangkok.
Mumtaz will next be seen in UniGlobe Entertainment's Cancer docudrama 1 a Minute with Olivia Newton-John, Namrata Singh Gujral, Kelly McGillis, Jaclyn Smith, Melissa Etheridge, William Baldwin, Daniel Baldwin, Diahann Carroll and Priya Dutt. The feature is narrated by Kelly McGillis. The film will also star Bárbara Mori, Lisa Ray, Deepak Chopra and Morgan Brittany.
In the later 1960s, Mumtaz dated then superstar and boyfriend, Shammi Kapoor but they had a failed romance. Mumtaz married millionaire Mayur Madhvani on 29 May 1974. They have two daughters Natasha and Tanya. Natasha, the elder daughter, married actor Fardeen Khan, son of Feroz Khan, in a lavish ceremony, in December 2005. Her sister Mallika is married to Randhawa, younger brother of famous wrestler Dara Singh.
Mumtaz had acknowledged that she has successfully battled cancer and that she and her husband have overcome personal problems in their marriage.