Begum Khurshid Mirza

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Begum Khurshid Mirza
بیگم خورشید مرزا
Khurshid Jehan

(1918-03-04)March 4, 1918
Died(1989-02-08)February 8, 1989
Other namesRenuka Devi
EducationAligarh Muslim University
  • Actress
  • Singer
Years active1937 - 1985
Akbar Mirza
(m. 1934⁠–⁠1989)
Parent(s)Waheed Jahan Begum (mother)
Sheikh Abdullah (father)
RelativesRashid Jahan (sister)
AwardsPride of Performance (1984)

Begum Khurshid Mirza (Urdu: بیگم خورشید مرزا ), also known by her screen name as Renuka Devi (1918 – 1989), was a Pakistani television actress and a film actress in the pre-partition era.[1]

Early life, Family and Education[edit]

Begum Khurshid Mirza was born as Khurshid Jehan on 4th March 1918 in Aligarh to Sheikh Abdullah and Waheed Jahan Begum, the founders of Women's College, Aligarh.[2] Her father was a practising lawyer and philanthropist who was keen to bring education and enlightenment to Muslim women. Her elder sister Rashid Jahan was a prominent Urdu language writer and one of the founding members of the Progressive Writers' Movement. Mirza married in 1934 to a police officer Akbar Mirza and migrated to Pakistan in the wake of partition of India in 1947.[1][3] Mirza completed her education with a Master's degree in English in 1963.[4][5]

Film career[edit]

Khurshid Mirza was introduced to Indian cinema by Devika Rani of Bombay Talkies under the screen name Renuka Devi. In her interview given to Lutfullah Khan, Mirza recalled Rani named after her deceased sister.[2]

She acted in Jeevan Prabhat (1937), Bhabhi (1938), Bhakti (1939), Badi Didi (1939) and Naya Sansar (1941), and performed as a leading lady in box-office hits Sahara (1943), Ghulami (1945) and Samrat Chandragupta (1945). She also sang for some of her movies.[5]

She announced her retirement from the film industry in February 1944.[5]

Television career[edit]

When Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) began its broadcast transmission in 1964 and its TV drama serials started earning household fame, there was a need for professionals to train the young media crew.[1] It was a Haseena Moin's serial, entitled Kiran Kahani (1972), which rediscovered Khurshid Mirza as a senior actress. Her performance gained her rave reviews, even though she said in a later interview that it was slightly off-key. The next serial she worked in was Zer Zabar Pesh, also written by Haseena Moin. Her performance was regarded by many as one of the finest acting performances in that role, and this set the tone for the rest of her acting career.

She remained a character actress for PTV, Karachi television centre and had nearly a dozen of popular drama series to her credit, including Uncle Urfi (1972), Parchhaiyan (1976) and a special play Massi Sherbate written by Fatima Surayya Bajia. She retired in 1985, with her last performance coming in PTV drama series Ana (1985).[1]

PTV drama series[edit]

  • Kiran Kahani (1972)
  • Zer Zabar Pesh (1973)
  • Uncle Urfi (1972)[6]
  • Parchhaiyan (1976)
  • Rumi
  • Dhund
  • Choti Choti Baatein
  • Shama
  • Afshan
  • Ana (1985)
  • Aagahi
  • Massi Sherbate
  • Show Shaa
  • Panah
  • Agar Nama Bar Milay

Literary and Art Works[edit]

Begum Khurshid Mirza penned her autobiography The Uprooted Sappling,[7] which appeared in the Pakistani monthly Herald as a nine-part serial, from August 1982 to April 1983. Later, the collection was compiled in 2005 as a book by her daughter, Lubna Kazim[4]

  • A Woman of Substance: The Memoirs Of Begum Khurshid Mirza (an autobiography, edited by Lubna Kazim. Delhi: Zubaan 2005)[1][5]

From 1960 onwards, she was involved in several literary activities, writing short stories for prestigious Urdu magazines Saqi published by Shahid Ahmad Dehlvi.[5] Later, she compiled all her short stories with the cover title Mehru ki Bachee.[5]

During her days in Quetta, Mirza ran the women's programme and wrote plays for Radio Pakistan.[4] She also composed religious verses under the pseudonym Shola and sermons for Milad meetings.

Social works[edit]

After migration to Pakistan, Khurshid Mirza worked for the All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA) as a volunteer helping destitute women.[1][8] When her husband was transferred to Quetta, she took charge of the APWA centre in a rural area called Ismail Killi.[1] She had also aired programmes on women's issues on radio.[1]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Mirza was awarded the Pride of Performance by the President of Pakistan in 1984.[1] She got PTV Best Actress Award in the PTV play Afshan in 1982.[5]

In 2004, an event was arranged to pay tributes to Begum Khurshid Mirza in Lahore, where many Pakistani dignitaries gathered to recall her efforts for the tribal women during her stay in Quetta in the 1950s where she also used to hold events to raise funds for All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA).[8]


After her retirement, Mirza moved to Lahore, where she died on 8th February 1989.[2] She was buried in Mian Mir graveyard.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Breaking the mould: Bold & Beautiful: Begum Khurshid Mirza in her prime". The Telegraph (Indian newspaper). Calcutta, India. 8 May 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Jaffiri, Aqeel Abbas. "'رینوکا دیوی: بیگم خورشید مرزا پاکستان ٹیلی ویژن کی 'اِکا بُوا". BBC Urdu. BBC. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  3. ^ Slides of Begum Khurshid Mirza's bio-data on YouTube Uploaded 10 October 2010, Retrieved 24 December 2019
  4. ^ a b c Swapna, Majumdar. "Woman Extraordinaire". boloji. Retrieved 3 April 2005.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Woman Of Substance: The Memoirs Of Begum Khurshid Mirza on website Retrieved 24 December 2019
  6. ^ Uncle Urfi: A PTV Blockbuster All Things Pakistan website, Published 15 January 2011, Retrieved 24 December 2019
  7. ^ Aleaz, Bonita (2005). "A Transformation of a Begum". Economic and Political Weekly. 40 (51): 5397–5399. JSTOR 4417552. Retrieved 24 December 2019
  8. ^ a b LAHORE: A tribute to late artiste (Begum Khurshid Mirza) Dawn (newspaper), Published 26 March 2004, Retrieved 24 December 2019

External links[edit]