Khursheed Begum – Her Last Interview

Posted September 18, 2010 10:09 pm by Interviews

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khursheed

Khursheed Begum – Her Last Interview

The year was 1992 the month was February; I entered a house in Karachi’s posh area. I was led inside by a servant who took me to the living room area of the neatly decorated compact house. A group of women sat in the room, all in their middle ages. They were startled to see a person holding a tape recorder in his hand, a sudden pin drop silence followed. Minds brimmed with questions but lips were sealed. Amidst all this was a lady reclined on a deewaan. She was much older than the rest of them; her eyes twinkled with certain verve and her snow white hair shined on the round scalp. This is the woman who was once the heartthrob of many. An actress of yore who gracefully ruled the silver screen for many years. Yes, I had landed there to interview Khursheed Bano; the leading star of the 30’s who gave up everything for her marriage. This interview was perhaps her last interview ever and according to her the only one she gave in Pakistan.

Ever since Khursheed Bano bid farewell to the movies, she kept a low profile. She chose to keep herself and her family away from the big bad world of show business. She refused to give interviews or speak about her professional life with anybody. Soon after partition she quit cinema and tied the knot and then shunned limelight for good. I was lucky that my maternal aunt knew her well as together they used to recite Na’at in Milads organized by their friends, not professionally. So I requested my aunt and she asked Khursheed who was kind enough to allow me to come and interview her.

Khursheed Bano was born as Irshad Begum in Lahore. As a child she resided in the Bhatti Gate area next to Allama Iqbal’s house. The two families were pretty close. Khursheed was a child then. There was no ambition of joining the showbiz bandwagon then and it was by chance that led her to this arena.

Khursheed was very still young when she became an actress in the early 30’s. The era of the silent movies had already ended with the release of Alam Ara in 1931 and the Indian film industry was going through a revolution. What set her apart from other heroines were her attractive face and certain flamboyance owing to which she made her presence felt. And then she was very good actress who could be melodramatic and happy-go-lucky with equal ease.

Each star then was required to playback for themselves and Khursheed was lucky to have a good voice. Hence started the brilliant era of some timeless classical and exemplary numbers like panchi banwara chaand sey preet lagaye.

The graceful and decent actress was luckier to secure some of the best films including Sitara, Shaadi, Musafir, Pardesi, Bhagat Surdas, Dekha Jaye Ga, Shehanshah-E-Babar and Tansen. Pardesi had a very famous soundtrack comprising of memorable numbers by the late actress. In Tansen she played the protagonist Tani with Kundan Lal Saigal as Tansen. Together they made indelible performances and the role took her to great heights. She even transcended Saigal with her strong performances and pretty looks and her fans started calling her Tani after that.

Her leading men in those days apart from Saigal where Motilal, Ishwar Lal, Nazeer and Sadiq Ali. She made a successful pair with Motilal the most. Her female contemporaries included actresses of caliber like Kanan Bala, Devika Rani, Leela Chitnis, Suraiya, Swaranlata and Noor Jehan. The last three were her juniors.

Khursheed said that there was no such thing as rivalry in those days and actresses worked in close coordination. Abusing, backbiting or gossiping was not amongst their traits. Even the male stars with whom she worked treated her with great respect and there were no scandals.

Though she was an accomplished singer, acting remained her forte and first love. “Singing was a requirement to be a heroine in those days”, she said, “and even heroines with not too good voices were forced to ding if they were to act. But the composers were so good that they managed to get the best out of them then. Each song was recorded after several rehearsals. But I was an actress before and singing was just to complement that.”

Khursheed was not too happy with the way films shaped up in the years to come. So much so that she never wanted to see films anymore. In the interview she expressed her displeasure, “In spite of the resources and much higher budget, there is not a single film maker in the entire sub continent who could make a film even half as good as the films made in my era. Ours were simple films but treated well and had strong content. Plus the hard work and honesty of each unit member reflected in the entire film. This thing is missing now. A film is not only about technique, rather the issue, sensitivity and sincere dedication too.”

Following partition in 1947, Khursheed opted to move to Pakistan. She worked in two Pakistani films too – Mandi and Fankar. But then she decided to quit and tied the knot with a Karachi – based business Yousaf Bhai Mian. They had one daughter who lived in the US when the interview was conducted. She then concentrated on her marriage alone and emerged equally successful on the home front as much as she was in films. She was happy that she quit films before their standards declined – Interview conducted in 1992 by Navaid Rashid. Khursheed Begum died on April 18th, 2001.

  1. 6 years ago  

    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALIYA

    i HAVE SEEN MANY GOOD nOS OF INDIAN FILMS DURING MY SCHOOL AND COLLEGE LIFE UP TO 1962.i think that Have seen only one film of khurshid begum but I dont rememeber the name of the film. However I used to listen the filmi songs of khurshid begum on Radio at that time.She was a great singer with a charming voice.I have seen her most of the TV Dramas on PTV in which she3 performed most excellent roles and I appreciate that she was really a great artist andevery body like to see her old PTV Dramas and old filmi songs.She should be rewarded a civil award on account of performing most excellent acting in the films and PTV dramas
    (RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALIYA
    MA ( Political Science)
    MSc Pakistan Studies)
    BA (Mass Comm & Library Science)
    PRESS ESSAY WRITER & SOCIAL Worker
    RAWALPINDI

    • 6 years ago  

      admin

      Raja,

      You are mixing 3 Khurshids together. This Khurshid [Begum] was a singing-star in Indian Films and acted in only 2 Pakistani films – Fankar and Mandi (.1956). The Khurshid who used to appear in Pakistani Dramas was Begum Khurshid Mirza. Her film name was Renuka Devi and appeared in few Indian films including Bhabhi and Samrat Chandragupta. Khurshid Begum who used to sing for Pakistani Radio was completely different entity altogether.

      • 6 years ago  

        Arunkumar Deshmukh

        Admin.,
        You are missing 2 mor Khurseeds.
        1.Khursheed Jr. sister of Meenakumari,who married Altaf and went to pakistan.
        2.Khursheed,who changed her name to Bimla kumari,as there were too many khursheeds around.
        She was an actress and a singer too.
        If my info is not right,I am open for correction.
        -AD

        • 6 years ago  

          admin

          AD,

          Thanks for pointing that out. My post was referring to Raja Ghazanfar’s post, where he was mixing 3 Khursheed’s with each other. I know about Khursheed Jr. and I posted her profile few months ago here :-

          http://cineplot.com/khursheed-junior/

          Khursheed changing her name to Bimla Kumari is new information for me. Thanks for sharing that. I am assuming you are talking about Bimla Kumari (senior) here and not about Bimla Kumari (junior) – the Lal Dupatta girl of Barsaat (1949).

          Another Khursheed was Shyama (Khursheed Akhtar).

          • 6 years ago  

            Arunkumar Deshmukh

            Sir,
            Thanks for your reply.
            Yes I refer to the senior Bimala kumari.
            Incidently,there were few more Khursheeds.I will get back on this later.
            -AD

  2. 6 years ago  

    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALIYA

    MANAWAR SULTANA FILM ACTRESS
    ===============================

    I had sween many Nos of Movies Of Manawar Sultana but I was much impressed to see the good performance of Manawar Sultana in the Film DARD.
    I had seen this film during my school life in 1955 at TAJ Mahal Cinema Karachi/It was a Family Hit story reflexing the muslim social life.It was a time when most of the ladies rarely come to see any film at cinema Hall because the male members did not allow their home ladies to see any film but DARD was such a film that most ladies had seen this picture on getting proper permission from their husbands,fathers and fathers in law because it was a good film in which no any objectionable scene was existed in this film.The story is started from an orphan boy who recited a good NAAT in the annual function of the film in which a great Nawab was invited as achief guest and he was much impressed to listen the NAAT of that orphan boy. HUM DARD KA AFSNA DUNIYA KOO SUNA DN GEY.Nawab brought that boy in his own Palace and educate him and he become a great doctor,the daughter of Nawab Manawar Sultana love him and the end of this film was very good.However I will appreciate the Good acting of the Manawar Sultana in the islamic dress SHALWAR AND SHIRT and speaking of most beautiful dialouges in most impressive ways.It was really a good film and the songs of this film are still popular even today after elapsing of 60 years.It is depended on film director to made most impressive type3s family hit films on a good topic.
    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALIYAI
    MA(Political Science)
    PRESS ESSAY WRITER AND SOCIAL WORKER .RAWALPINDI

  3. 6 years ago  

    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALLIYA.

    MUHAMMAD RAFI
    (MY BEST SINGER)
    ==============
    MUHAMMAD RAFI was a great singer because of his attractive voice in good tune and in most sadly ways
    I always like to listen his most best songs of his old indian films because of good tune,music and performing of best acting while picturising the songs of the film but most distinct things of these songs are that their poetic words are most beautiful and even passing of 70 years,these songs are still most popular even today.The some songs are described here along with back ground of the songs and a good lesson teaching of moral characters

    1)= jab jaey ga yahan sey
    tuo kuch bhi pass nah hoo gaa
    do gaz kafin ka tukra tera libas hoo gaa.
    ( this song sang by the M.RAFIH for the film MOLTI MAHAL and he described a real fact about the life of a man.It is most excellent and good song of M.RAFI
    ==============================
    2)- YEH ZINDIGI KEY DUNIYA MEN KUM NAH HOON GEY .MUGAR AFSOOS HUM NAH HOON GEY
    It is a song of Film MELA.It is a fact that a real fact was also described in this filmi song
    =========================
    3)-GHARIOON KA PASINA BEH RAHA HEY.
    It was a good song of Film NAYA AADMI
    ================================
    4)-HUWEY HUM JIS KEY LIYE BARBAD
    It was a good song of Film DEEDAR
    =================================
    5)- EK DIL KEY TUKREY HAZAR HUWEY
    It was a good song of Film PIYAR KI JEET
    ——————————–
    6)-WAQT SEY HEY DIN AWR RAAT
    It was a good song of WAQT.
    ==============================
    7)-DUNIYA EIK KAHANI HEY BHAIYA
    8)-KISMAT BIGRI DUNIYA BADLI
    IS DUNIYA MEN KOON KISI KA HOOTA HEY
    These bothy songs of M.RAFI were sung for the Film AFSANAt
    ===============================
    9-YAHI YAHI AASMAN AWR YEH HEY WOH ZAMIN MUGAR MIRI TQDIR KA AB WOH ZAMANA NAHIN
    It is a good song of M.RAFI
    ==============================
    10)-MUJHEY DUNIYA WALOON SHARABI NA SAMJHOO MEN PITA NAHIN HOON BLKO PILAUI GAYI HEY. It ia a good song of Film LEADER

    ========================= RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALLIYA
    MA(Political Science)
    BA(Journalism), BA(Library Science)DAE(Electrical
    PRESS ESSAY WRITER & Social Worker.

    IQBAL TOWN, RAWALPINDI

  4. 6 years ago  

    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

    BEST SINGERS OF INDIA & PAKISTAN
    ===========
    It is a fact that to sing a song in most sensible and effective way is a great quality of the singer.ALTHOUGH, THERE ARE and also were remained there in the past many nos of singers in india and Pakistan But I think that the following singers are most good in my own opinion.

    1-Sehgal. 2-Rafi 3)-Mukesh 4)-Lata
    5)-Shamshad, 6)-Surriya 7)-Oma
    Devi, 8)-Mehdi hasan, 9)-Ahmed Rushdi 10) Inayat bhatti, 11)Zubedah.12)- Noor Jehan, 13)-Saira Nasim, 14)-Naseem Begumm
    Naseem Begum,

    evi
    I would write a complete detail o9ne by one on turn by turn next time. My purpose of writing such filmi types articles is to provide most useful informations about all actors and actress who had performed their acting in most excellent old indian and pakistani films up to 1962so that our new generation should compare new and old film and they themselves should decide whether old films were the best or new films.However i want to tell all the filmfans that what are the different between old and new films ?

    The Different is as under.

    If any body offer me to see a new film one hundred time without purchasing tickets,I would not accept such offer because the present films are most bored type film that can not see such films even for one second whild 50 years ago, old films were so best that i was used to see such films many times by purchasing tickets to see such best films

    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALIYA
    MA(Political Science), BA (Mass Comunication),BLIS, DAE (Elect Eng )
    PRESS ESSAY WRITER,
    H.No-5,St-10, Iqbal Town, RAWALPINDI-46300

  5. 6 years ago  

    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALIYA

    NIROPA ROY, A SMILY FACE ACTRESS
    ================================

    I was a student of sixth class in NJV GOVT HIGH SCHOOL in 1956 and i was living in Raghoo Street Ramswami Karachi. The JUBILEE Cinema was existed on the way of my school.In those days,a new indian film BHAI BHAI was being running at this cinema Wsaw the when ever I go to school I daily
    saw the big posters of this film in which painter had painted one most beautiful photo of niropa roy in which she was looking most decent with her smiling face with brightestt eyes. this film was celebrating golden jubilee week but in spite of this,it every show is going house full which means that it was a good film and so I had also decided to see this film.Next weekI was in Cinema Hall and saw the. good acting of NIROPA ROY I was much impress

  6. 5 years ago  

    AJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

    2nd portion of my article about Niropa Roy
    ================================
    So I was much impressed to see the wonderful acting of Niropa Roy in this family hit film BHAI BHAI.First of all, her face was a smile face and her eyes were also most attractive.her body was very slimmed but her front cleavge was most beautiful and well errected in her beautiful sari.Her natural hair plait was very long and densely upto 33 inches of length because of getting a regular head and face massaging twice in a week for one hour by her male barber as per report of weekly screen delhi and she was looking just like an eastern cultured women.It is not seened that she was actually doing an acting in this film but it seemed that her acting was a most natural and real in this film just like in a home.Her picturized song MERA CHOOTA SA DEKHOO YEH SANSAR HEY seemed that she was doing a real natural acting in this film.her voice was also very soft and decent but it was a one sided position of her life but there existed one another side of her lidomestic life that she was actually a sad ( DUKHI) women but in public she appeared in most happy mood.I also saw her another film TEEN BATI CHAR RASTA in which she performed a normal acting with smiling face but her acting in BHAI BHAI was most appreciated.In concisely way, I would say that she was a good film actress after MadhuBala in film NIRALA.

    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN ADOWALLIYA
    MA( Political Science)
    PRESS ESSAY WRITER & Social Worker
    RAWALPINDI

  7. 5 years ago  

    AJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

    MOTI LAL , A GOOD COMMEDIAN & HERO
    ==================================
    During my college life, I have seen many Nos og good indian films upto 1962 and I mostly used to like to see the commedian types films hence there were existed many Nos of indian commedians ie Gope, Yaqub, Anwar hussain, JOHNY WALKER, Moti Lal, Jeewan etc But i was much impressed to see the acting of Moti Lal in film Ek Thi Ladki, Mastana, Ek Do Teen . pehli Nazar etc because he was only the actor of indian film who was performing two jobs at a time in film role ie both hero and commedian at a time. Johney Walker was the other good commedian in CHUDWEEN KA CHAND and Taci Driver but he was a commedian but not a Hero. As regard of other commedians,they all were doing the over acting just likr RANGILA, an pakistani commedian. Now I will discuss about these commedians in the next episodes
    RAJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN
    PRESS ESSAY WRITER & SOCIAL WORKER
    RAWALPINDI

  8. 5 years ago  

    AJA GHAZANFAR ALI KHAN

    EXCUSE ME
    ———-
    1)- There are existed my many Nos of Comments on this website . The readers will be wondered to note that why there are existed so many nos of spelling errors/mistakes in my all articles.The actual reason is that my laptop is not functioning well because it curser always upsetted and
    slip to other places during composing.

    you have also noted that taci is typed in stead of TAXI but why it is happened.when i press X , my finger slipped on adjacent letter C by chance. Someoften, i press one button but two letters is printed there but why it isa happened so ?
    The reason is that when I press one button for example (T) then adjacent letters R (T) Y, is type there because of touching my fingure on adjacent letters.

    I shall be remained most thankfull if ANY BODY INFORM ME ABOUT SUCH SPELLING MISTAKES IN MY ARTICLES BY SENDING THROUGH MY EMAIL ADDRESS IE
    (rajaghazanfaralikhan.1942@gmail.com).
    ================================
    RAJA GHAZANFARALI KHAN ADOWALIYA

  9. 4 years ago  

    sudarshan talwar

    came to know there was one more, actress, whether she was indian or pakistani, actress, thats i dont no, can some friends about any informations, her name was,KHURSHID SULTANA…1939…..

  10. 4 years ago  

    M. Ahmad Khan

    Khursheed was undoubtedly the best singer of her time, and among the top bracket of singers of all times. She was a good actress, too. I watched her film TANSEN when I was at college , in 1950-55. Even today her songs are liked by every one, especially by my generation.

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