25 December 1926
Jehlum, Punjab, British India
|Died||9 December 2008 (aged 81)|
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|Years active||1944–1956, 2007|
|Children||3, including Ayub Khan|
|Relatives||Dilip Kumar (brother-in-law)|
Rukhsana Sultana (niece)
Amrita Singh (grandniece)
Begum Para (née Para Haq; 25 December 1926 – 9 December 2008) was an Indian Hindi film actress who was active mostly in the 1940s and 1950s. After 50 years, she returned to films with her last role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya (2007) as Sonam Kapoor's grandmother. In her times in 1950s, she was considered a glamour girl of Bollywood, so much so, that Life magazine had a special session with her devoted to her fine sensuous photographs.
Begum Para was born as Para Haq in Jehlum. Her family was from Aligarh. Her father, Mian Ehsanul-Haq, was a judge who at some point in his life went into the judicial service of the princely state of Bikaner, now northern Rajasthan, where he became chief justice of its highest court. He was a fine cricketer of his time. She was brought up very disciplined yet liberal. She spent her childhood in Bikaner. She was educated at the Aligarh University. Her elder brother Masrurul Haq, had gone off to Bombay in the late 1930s to become an actor. There he had met and fell in love with the Bengali actress Protima Dasgupta, and married her.
Whenever she visited them in Bombay, she was quite taken up with the glitzy world of her sister-in-law. She used to accompany her on many occasions and get-togethers. People would get quite impressed with her looks and offer her a lot of roles. One such offer came from Sashadhar Mukherjee and Devika Rani. Her father consented to her wishes reluctantly, and requested her to never work in Lahore.
Begum Para's first break turned out to be 1944 film Chand, from Prabhat Studios in Poona. Prem Adib was the hero, and Sitara Devi was the vamp in the film. It did extremely well and Para started getting paid about Rs. 1500 a month. Soon after, she and her sister-in-law Protima made a film called Chamia (1945) based on the novel ‘Pygmalion’, which again was a huge success. Para signed a lot of films after Chamia, but she couldn’t quite establish herself as an actress. Because she had a highly scandalous image, people always gave her the role of glamour doll in most films. She didn't mind it because she always played herself on screen.
She did Sohni Mahiwal (1946) and Zanjeer (1947) with Ishwarlal and Dikshit; Neel Kamal (1947) with Raj Kapoor; Mehendi (1947) with Nargis; Suhaag Raat (1948) with Bharat Bhushan and Geeta Bali; Jhalka (1948); and Meherbani (1950) with Ajit Khan. She also worked in Ustad Pedro (1951), produced and directed by the then well-known actor, Sheikh Mukhtar. It was a fun film, and was packed with action, romance, and stunts.
In 1951 she posed for photographer James Burke for a Life magazine photo shoot. Para's last role was in the movie Kar Bhala in 1956. She was also offered to play Nigar Sultana’s role 'Bahar' in Mughal-e-Azam (1960). However, she refused to play the role because she considered it against her image.
She married actor Nasir Khan, the younger brother of Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar. They had three children, including the actor Ayub Khan. Begum Para's father Mian Ehsan-ul-Haq of Jalandhar, was a judge who joined the princely state of Bikaner, now northern Rajasthan, where he became chief justice of its highest court. Her husband died in 1974. Following her husband's death, she briefly migrated to Pakistan in 1975. Two years later, she relocated back to India.
She died in her sleep on 9 December 2008 at the age of 81.
- Saawariya (2007) - Sakina's grandmother
- Kar Bala
- Kismet Ka Khel (1956)
- Pehli Janak (1955)
- Shahzada (1955)
- Laila Majnu (1953)
- Naya Ghar (1953)
- Baghdad (1952)
- Pagle (1950)
- Meharbani (1950)
- Jharna (1948)
- Shahnaz (1948)
- Suhaag Raat (1948) - Paro
- Mehandi (1947)
- Neel Kamal (1947)
- Zanjeer (1947)
- The Chain (1947)
- Sohni Mahiwal (1946)
- Chand (1944)
- "5 noted personalities who left Pakistan for India".
- "Ms Oomph: V Gangadhar meets Begum Para, the original pin-up girl". Rediff.com. 29 November 1997.
- Begum Para: The last glamour girl
- Begum Para - Memories on Cineplot
- 6 Facts About Begum Para, One Of Bollywood's Most Legendary Actresses Ever
- Ms Oomph - V Gangadhar meets Begum Para, the original pin-ip girl.
- Begum Para (1951)
- Gangadhar, V. (17 September 2006). "The return of Begum Para". The Hindu.
- "Begum Para | Begum Para". Outlookindia.com. 1997-05-28. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
- Courtesy: Bollywood Hungama (2008-12-12). "Begum Para passed away - Oneindia Entertainment". Entertainment.oneindia.in. Retrieved 2014-02-22.