Bina Rai (Hindi: बीना राय; 4 June 1931 – 6 December 2009), aka “Beena Roy”, was a leading actress primarily of the black and white era of Hindi cinema.She is most known for her roles in classics such as Anarkali (1953), Taj Mahal (1963), and won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film, Ghunghat (1960).
Bina Rai born as Krishna Sarin hailed from Lahore, Punjab, British India. In 1947, her family was uprooted from Lahore during the communal frenzy and was resettled in U.P. She went to school in Lahore and then college in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Bina Rai lived in Kanpur until she moved out for acting. She had to convince her parents to allow her to act in films, she claimed that she went on a hunger strike to convince her disapproving parents to let her join films, and they finally relented.
Bina Rai was a first year student of Arts in the Isabella Thoburn College of Lucknow in 1951 when she came across an advertisement for a talent contest, she applied and received a call from the sponsors. Although she had been active in college dramatics, a film career was never within her field of vision. Nevertheless, she went to Bombay, to participate in the contest where she won along with the 25,000 rupees in prize moneydiscuss]debut, and also featured Kishore Sahu in the lead role.
In the 1950s, she married actor Prem Nath, whose sister Krishna was married to the actor-director Raj Kapoor, was part of the Kapoor family.They had acted together in some films, the first movie in which he was paired with Bina Rai was Aurat (1953), a Bollywood version of the tragic Biblical tale of Samson and Delilah (1949). The film was not a hit, but Bina Rai and Prem Nath fell in love with each other. They married and soon set up their own production unit, known as P.N. Films. Their first film from P.N. Films was Shagufa (1954) and they had pinned high hopes on it, but audiences rejected it. Neither Bina Rai’s elfin charm nor Prem Nath’s sensitive portrayal of the role of a doctor could save “Shagufa” from being a flop. And the films that followed “Shagufa” – Prisoner of Golconda, Samunder and Watan disappeared almost as soon as they hit the theatre screens. Thus the Prem Nath-Bina Rai pairing never clicked on the screen.
However, her films with leading man Pradeep Kumar remain her best-remembered performances, where she played the title role in Anarkali (1953), Taj Mahal and Ghunghat for which she won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress
In the 1970s, her son Prem Krishen became an actor and had one big hit Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaye (1977), but couldn’t sustain the momentum so he turned producer, with the Cinevista banner, which went on produce TV series such as Kathasagar, Gul Gulshan Gulfam and Junoon. He launched his daughter Akanksha Malhotra as an actress in 2002 in his home production, claiming that she reminds him so much of his mother Bina Rai.
Bina Rai stopped acting in films many years ago, claiming that women of a certain age don’t get good roles. She also talks fondly of her husband Prem Nath who had died on 3 November 1992. In 2002, their son, Kailash (Monty) Nath released a tribute album, to his father on the occasion of his 10th death anniversary and 76th birth anniversary, titled Amar Premnath, released by Saregama. His grandson, Siddharth Malhotra directed the successful TV series on doctors, Sanjivani (2004)
Bina Rai died on 6 December 2009, following a cardiac arrest. She was survived by her two sons, Prem Kishen and Kailash (Monty), and grandchildren Sidharth and Akansha. Prem Kishen had a shot term career as a film actor before shifting to film and television production, Cinevistaas Limited. His grandson, Siddharth Malhotra is a film director, who made his debut with Dharma Productions’s We Are Family (2010)