Neelo

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Neelo
Born
Cynthia Alexander Fernandes

(1941-06-30)30 June 1941[1]
Died30 January 2021(2021-01-30) (aged 80)
Other namesThe Queen of Romance[2]
The Princess of Romance[3]
Abida Riaz
OccupationFilm actress
Years active1955 – 2005
Spouse(s)
(m. 1965; died 1972)
[4]
ChildrenShaan Shahid (son)
AwardsSitara-i-Imtiaz (2022)[5]

Neelo Begum (born Cynthia Alexander Fernandes; née Abida Riaz; 30 June 1941 – 30 January 2021) was a Pakistani veteran film actress. She made her film debut in 1956 with Hollywood film Bhowani Junction. She was known as The Queen of Romance and The Princess of Romance for her portrayal of romantic roles.[2][3] She worked in more than one hundred and thirty-four Pakistani films including Urdu and Punjabi language films.[1][6]

She was the recipient of numerous awards, including Nigar Awards, she earned recognition after appearing in a song "Aaye Mausam Rangilay Suhanay" from the film Saat Lakh and after playing lead role in Zarqa.[7]

Early life and career[edit]

Born into a Catholic family, she adopted a Muslim name, Abida Riaz after marrying a Pakistani filmmaker, Riaz Shahid in 1965.[8] She is the mother of film actor Shaan Shahid.[9]

Neelo was born on 30 June 1940 in Bhera, British India.[10] She did her primary schooling from Kinnaird High School, Lahore.[9]

Controversies[edit]

In 1965, at the peak of her popularity, she was summoned by Nawab Malik Amir Mohammad Khan, then Governor of West Pakistan, to dance on stage for the Shah of Iran during his official visit to Pakistan; but she refused to do it for her own reasons. Harassed and threatened, Neelo faced dire consequences for refusing to obey official orders. She was allegedly gang molested and attempted suicide on the way to the Governor's house and was taken to a hospital instead, where the doctors saved her life.[11]

News of the incident generated widespread public backlash against the Nawab. The renowned leftist poet Habib Jalib, on hearing of the incident, expressed his anguish in his poem over her attempted suicide: "Tu kay nawaqif-e-aadab-e-ghulami hae abhi...raqs zanjeer pehan ker bhi kya jata hae" (meaning: "unaware art thou yet of the rites of enslavement...dance can be performed even while enchained".) Later this poem was used in the film Zarqa (1969) with slight changes in the words and ended up becoming a super-hit film song in Pakistan. The film song became much more relevant, effective and popular because it was picturised on Neelo herself and was based on similar real life events in Neelo's life. She also won the Best Actress Nigar Award for film Zarqa (1969). It had superb music by Wajahat Attre and was sung by Mehdi Hassan.[11] Film Zarqa (1969) was produced and directed by Riaz Shahid who also wrote its screenplay. Neelo helped her husband, Riaz Shahid, produce this film and it became the best known film of her career.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Neelo was born into a Catholic family. She adopted the name Abida Riaz after accepting Islam at the time of her marriage to film screenwriter and film director Riaz Shahid. Riaz Shahid suddenly died in 1972.[11][1]

Illness and death[edit]

She died from blood cancer on 30 January 2021 in Lahore.[4][12]

Filmography[edit]

  • 1956 Bhowani Junction[1]
  • 1956: Sabira[1]
  • 1957: Anjaam[13]
  • 1957: Bholey Khan
  • 1957: Pasban
  • 1957: Sehti
  • 1957: Saat Lakh[1]
  • 1957: Yakke Wali
  • 1957: Aankh Ka Nashah
  • 1958: Akhri Nishan[1]
  • 1958: Changez Khan
  • 1958: Darbar
  • 1958: Jan-e-Bahar
  • 1958: Jatti
  • 1958: Kachian Kaliyan
  • 1958: Mumtaz
  • 1958: Nayi Larki[14]
  • 1958: Neya Daur
  • 1958: Sheikh Chilli
  • 1958: Zehr-e-Ishq[1]
  • 1959: Koel
  • 1959: Lalkaar
  • 1959: Lukkan Mitti
  • 1959: Neend[1]
  • 1959: Shama
  • 1959: Shera
  • 1959: Sola Aanay
  • 1959: Suchhey Moti
  • 1959: Saathi[1]
  • 1959: Yaar Beli
  • 1960: Alladin Ka Beta
  • 1960: Ayaz
  • 1960: Insaaf
  • 1960: Khyber Mail
  • 1960: Manzil
  • 1960: Neelofar
  • 1960: Shehzadi
  • 1960: Street 77
  • 1961: Bara Bajje[15]
  • 1961: Do Raste[16]
  • 1961: Subha Kahin Sham Kahin[16]
  • 1962: Azra
  • 1962: Banjaran
  • 1962: Barsaat mein
  • 1962: Darwaza
  • 1962: Dosheeza
  • 1962: Ghunghat
  • 1962: Husn-o-Ishq
  • 1962: Unche Mahal
  • 1963: Barat
  • 1963: Daaman
  • 1963: Ishq par zor nahin
  • 1963: Kala Aadmi
  • 1963: Mouj Mela
  • 1963: Qatal ke baad
  • 1963: Shikwa
  • 1963: Aman
  • 1964: Beti
  • 1964: Daachi
  • 1964: Gehra Daagh
  • 1964: Jugni
  • 1964: Khyber Pass
  • 1964: Mera Mahi
  • 1964: Nehle peh Dehla
  • 1964: Sher di Bachi
  • 1965: Fareb
  • 1965: Jeedar
  • 1965: Raqqasa
  • 1966: Abba Jee
  • 1966: Ann Parh
  • 1966: Badnaam
  • 1966: Chughalkhor
  • 1966: Laado
  • 1966: Mr. Allah Ditta
  • 1966: Naghma.e-Sehra
  • 1966: Nizam Lohar
  • 1966: Payal Ki Jhankar
  • 1967: Chattan
  • 1967: Dil Da Jani
  • 1967: Neeli Baar
  • 1967: Ravi Paar
  • 1967: Sham Savera
  • 1967: Yaar Maar
  • 1968: Jag Beeti
  • 1968: Lala Rukh
  • 1968: Paristan
  • 1968: Wohti
  • 1969: Aukha Jatt
  • 1969: Zarqa[1]
  • 1971: Karishma
  • 1974: Khatarnaak
  • 1975: Athra
  • 1975: Balwant Kaur
  • 1975: Dhan Jigra Maa Da
  • 1975: Heera Phumman
  • 1975: Izzat
  • 1975: Jailor te Qaidi
  • 1975: Mera Naa Patey Khan
  • 1975: Rajjo
  • 1975: Sir Da Badla
  • 1975: Sultana Daku
  • 1975: Watan Iman
  • 1976: Ayyash
  • 1976: Gangu Puttar Maa Da
  • 1976: Jatt Kurrian Taun Darda
  • 1976: Khaufnaak
  • 1976: Kil Kil Mera Naa
  • 1976: Pindiwal
  • 1976: Wardat
  • 1977: Ajj Dian Kurrian
  • 1977: Akhri Goli
  • 1977: Danka
  • 1977: Jurm main keeta si
  • 1977: Malikzada
  • 1977: Mere Badshah
  • 1977: Sadqay Teri Mout Tun
  • 1977: Tera vi jawab nahin
  • 1978: Chamman Khan
  • 1978: Gharib da baal
  • 1978: Ghunda
  • 1978: Haidar Daler
  • 1978: Inqalab
  • 1978: Mazi, haal aur mustaqbil
  • 1978: Nazrana
  • 1978: Sharif Shehri
  • 1978: Tax
  • 1979: General Bakht Khan
  • 1979: Mout meri zindagi
  • 1979: Order
  • 1980: Chhotay Nawab
  • 1980: Heera Puttar
  • 1982: Khatra 440
  • 1989: Barood ki Chhaon
  • 1990: Bulandi
  • 1990: Jur'at
  • 2013: Waar

Tribute and honour[edit]

Actress and model Iqra Aziz held a tribute in her memory on International Women's Day and described her a very fine actress, successful individual, an amazing wife, and a wonderful mother.[17] The Government of Pakistan named a street and intersection after her in Lahore on August 16th, 2021.[18]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Award Category Result Title Ref.
1959 Nigar Award Best Supporting Actress Won Koel [1][19]
1963 Nigar Award Best Supporting Actress Won Aman [19]
1969 Nigar Award Best Actress Won Zarqa [19]
1999 Nigar Award Special Millennium Award Won Herself [19]
2022 Sitara-i-Imtiaz Award by the President of Pakistan Won Herself [20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Profile of actress Neelo". Cineplot.com website. 27 September 2009. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Neelo: The Defiant Screen Starlet". Youlin Magazine. 2 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Shaan shares adorable pictures with mother Neelo". Daily Times. 12 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Legendary film star Neelo passes away". Images. 30 January 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Rohail Hyatt receives Hilal-e-Imtiaz, thanks partners in Vital Signs, Coke Studio journey". The Express Tribune. 25 March 2022.
  6. ^ "Famous Pakistani actor Neelo dies, 'happiest moment' says Bilawal Bhutto on sister's marriage". ThePrint. 1 February 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Veteran film star Neelo passes away". The Nation. 31 January 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Neelo - the iconic filmstar of yesteryears". Daily Times. 29 May 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Veteran actress Neelo Begum dies of cancer". Pakistan Today. 30 January 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  10. ^ "IN MEMORIAM: NEELO'S UNCHAINED SPIRIT". Dawn Newspaper. 27 February 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Socialist cinema: Habib Jalib and Riaz Shahid in Neelo's film Zarqa (1969) on Dawn (newspaper) Published 5 November 2014, Retrieved 18 July 2018
  12. ^ "Vetreran Pakistani actress Neelo Begum passes away". ARY News. 30 January 2021.
  13. ^ Gazdar, Mushtaq (1997). Pakistan Cinema, 1947-1997. Oxford University Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-19-577817-0.
  14. ^ Gazdar, Mushtaq (1997). Pakistan Cinema, 1947-1997. Oxford University Press. p. 247. ISBN 0-19-577817-0.
  15. ^ Gazdar, Mushtaq (1997). Pakistan Cinema, 1947-1997. Oxford University Press. p. 250. ISBN 0-19-577817-0.
  16. ^ a b Gazdar, Mushtaq (1997). Pakistan Cinema, 1947-1997. Oxford University Press. p. 249. ISBN 0-19-577817-0.
  17. ^ "Iqra Aziz pays tribute to Neelo Begum on Women's Day". Daily Times. 17 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Lahore streets, intersections to be named after famous personalities". Dawn News. 21 September 2021.
  19. ^ a b c d "Pakistan's "Oscars": The Nigar Awards". The Hot Spot Film Reviews website. 24 November 2017. Archived from the original on 13 June 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  20. ^ "126 people to get civil awards for their distinguished work". Dawn Newspaper. 2 January 2022.

External links[edit]