1940s: It was the era of black and white but these ladies brought every shade of colour to their screen roles. Kanan Devi was among the early singing stars of Indian cinema. Hospital, Banphool and Rajlakshmi were some of her well-known films.
Renowned singer and actress Noorjehan's career spanned over seven decades. She debuted as the lead opposite Pran in Khandaan.
Legendary singer-actress Suraiya, who ruled the screen in the 1940s and 1950s with hits like Pyar Ki Jeet and Dillagi, chose Garbo-esque seclusion after years in the limelight. Rumour has it, she never got over her failed relationship with heartthrob Dev Anand.
Kamini Kaushal started out on stage and then made movies like Neecha Nagar and Biraj Bahu. She worked with the top heroes of her time including Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. She has also appeared on television, making her one of the most versatile actresses ever
The svelte and the sexy Begum Para was the most glamorous actress of her time. She came to Mumbai in 1945 from Jalandhar and starred in movies like Sohini Mahiwal, Mehendi, Shama, Pedro, Dada and Dara.
Durga Khote was the other bright star of the black and white generation. She worked in Hindi and Marathi cinema and also remained actively involved in theatre. She is famous for playing Jodhabai in K Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and as Kaikeyi in Bharat Milap (1942). She received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1983.