Shamim Ara

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Shamim Ara
Shamim Ara.jpg
Putli Bai

22 March 1938
Died5 August 2016 (aged 78)
London, England
OccupationActress, film producer, film director in Pakistan
Years active1956–2010
Spouse(s)Sardar Rind
Abdul Majid Karim
Fareed Ahmed
(until 2016)
ChildrenSalman Majid Carim

Shamim Ara (22 March 1938 – 5 August 2016)[2][3] was a Pakistani film actress, director and producer.[4] She was one of the most popular actresses of her time and was one of the most successful actresses of the 1960s and 1970s.[5] She is regarded as one of the most influential actresses of all time in Pakistani cinema.[4]

Early life[edit]

She was born Putli Bai in Aligarh, British India in 1938 but later adopted the film name Shamim Ara.[6] Her acting career spans from the late 1950s till the early 1970s. She is best known for her leading role in the then West Pakistan's first color motion picture Naila (1965), released on 29 October 1965, whereas the first full length color motion picture was Sangam (1964) which was produced in the then East Pakistan and released on 23 April 1964.[2][6]


In 1956, Putli Bai's family were visiting some relatives in Lahore, Pakistan, when after a chance meeting with the well-known film director, Najam Naqvi, she was signed for his next movie.[6] He was searching for a new face for his film Kanwari Bewah (1956) and was impressed by her cute face, sweet voice, approachable personality and innocent yet inviting smile. It was Najam Naqvi who introduced her under the stage name Shamim Ara, because her previous name was similar to the infamous dacoit Putli Bai. Though the film did not attract many viewers, a noticeable new female star had appeared on the horizon of the Pakistan film industry.[6]

Later, Shamim Ara was given a minor role in the film Anarkali (1958) starring Noor Jehan as Anarkali and Shamim Ara as Surayya, Anarkali's younger sister.[6] For the next two years, Shamim Ara went on to star in a few films, but none were a major success at the box office. However, in 1960, a major role in the film Saheli (1960)[7] is what truly advanced her career. After this film, Shamim Ara had become a household name. The filming of the song Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat Mere Mehboob Na Maang (a poem written by renowned Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and sung by Madam Noor Jehan) with Rasheed Attre's music in the film Qaidi (1962), had everyone talking about her. Women had begun mimicking her speech, her make-up and her hairstyle.[6] She had become a household name. Her fame and impeccable acting skills landed her the title character in the film Naila (1965), the first color film produced in the then West Pakistan. Her portrayal of the tragic Naila won her further critical acclaim. She went on to star in many hit films including Devdas, Doraha, Humraz. However, Qaidi (1962), Chingari (1964), Farangi (1964), Naila (1965), Aag Ka Darya (1966), Lakhon Mein Eik (1967), Saiqa (1968) and Salgirah (1968) were landmarks in her career securing her a position as the top actress of the 1960s in Lollywood. Her acting career came to a halt when she retired as a leading lady in the early 1970s. But that did not stop her from being a part of the Pakistani film industry as she pioneered to produce and direct films on her own. However, none of those films reached the level of success Shamim Ara had at the height of her acting career. Jaidaad (1959) and Tees Maar Khan (1989) were the only two Punjabi movies in which she performed.[2]

As a film producer[edit]

In 1968, she produced her first film Saiqa (1968) which was based on the novel by Razia Butt. The film attracted a large number of viewers especially females.[6][7]

As a film director[edit]

In 1976, for the first time, she directed film Jeo Aur Jeenay Do (1976). Later she also directed the Diamond Jubilee film Munda Bigra Jaye (1995). Other films she directed include Playboy (1978), Miss Hong Kong (1979), Miss Singapore (1985), Miss Colombo (1984), Lady Smuggler (1987), Lady Commando (1989), Aakhri Mujra (1994), Baita (1994), Haathi Mere Saathi, Munda Bigra Jaye (1995), Hum To Chaley Susral (1996), Miss Istanbul (1996), Hum Kisi Say Kum Nahin (1997), Love 95 (1996) and Pal Do Pal (1999).[2][6][7]

Personal life and death[edit]

Shamim Ara was married four times. Her first husband (and perhaps patron) was Sardar Rind, a landlord of Balochistan, who died in a car accident. She then married Abdul Majid Carim, the scion of the family that runs Agfa Color Film Company. They had a son, Salman Majid Carim (who was to be her only child), but the marriage ended in divorce. Her third marriage was to Fareed Ahmed, a film director and the son of the film director W.Z. Ahmed. That marriage, too, ended in divorce. Shamim Ara later married Pakistani film director and writer Dabeer-ul-Hassan. They lived in Lahore until 2005, when she and Salman Majeed Carim (her son by a previous marriage) moved to London, while her husband remained in Pakistan.[4]

During a visit to Pakistan, she suffered a brain haemorrhage on 19 October 2010,[5][7] and was taken back to London for treatment. She remained in and out of hospital for six years, and was cared for by her only son, Salman Majid Carim, who has not inherited anything from his father and is self made working in IT industry and also property development. Shamim Ara died on 5 August 2016 in a hospital in London after a very long illness.[3][4][6][7]

Her only son led the funeral arrangements and she was buried in the UK.[7]

On receiving the news of her death, film actress Resham stated that she only worked with Shamim Ara in a few films but that she left a lasting impression of a soft-spoken and humble person.[4]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1956 Kanwari Bewah [4][6][7]
Miss 56
1958 Anarkali [2]
Wah Re Zamaney
1959 Alam Ara
Apna Paraya
1960 Bhabi [7]
Do Ustad
Raat Ke Rahi
Roop matti baaz bahadur
1961 Insaan badalta hai [6]
Zamana kya kahe ga
Zamin ka chaand
1962 Aanchal [6]
Mera kya qasoor
Qaidi Actor
1963 Dulhan
Ek tera sahara
Kala pani
Tange wala
1964 Baap ka baap
Pyaar ki sazaa
1965 Devdas [4]
Dil ke tukde
Naila [2][6]
1966 Aag ka darya
Mere mehboob
1967 Doraha [4]
Lakhon Mein Aik [6][7]
1968 Saiqa Saiqa Also Producer
Dil Mera Dharkan Teri
1969 Salgirah [2]
Dil-e-betaab [6][7]
1970 Aansoo Ban Gaey Moti
Eik Zalim Eik Hasina
1971 Parai Aag
Khak Aur Khoon
1972 Angarey
1973 Khwaab Aur Zindagi
1974 Bhool Producer
1978 Playboy Producer and Director
1981 Mere Apne Also Director and Producer
1993 Haathi Mere Saathi Director
1994 Aakhri Mujra Producer and Director
1999 Pal Do Pal Director [2]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Nigar Awards


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alavi, Omair (14 August 2016). "10 things you need to know about Shamim Ara". Images. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Faizan Ali Warraich (6 August 2016). "Legendary actress Shamim Ara dies". The Nation (newspaper). Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Humaima Malick tweets tribute to Shamim Ara". The Times of India. Times News Network. 7 August 2016. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Khan, Sher (11 June 2014). "Wishing for Shamim Ara's speedy recovery". The Express Tribune (newspaper). Pakistan: Lakson Group. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  5. ^ a b Arshad Bhatti (11 November 2010). "Ailing Shamim Ara needs help". The Nation (newspaper). Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Karan Bali (2016). "Profile of Shamim Ara". website. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Salman, Peerzada (6 August 2016). "Yesteryear's heartthrob Shamim Ara dies in UK". Dawn newspaper. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  8. ^ Nigar Awards - Complete History on website Retrieved 20 August 2020

External links[edit]