The dreamy vision of the 1950s and the 1960s was something that truly inspired artistes to venture forth into the fold. They came from all walks of life, not just the bazaar, as is the case today. Nayyar Sultana, Jamila Razzaq, Shamim Bano and Najma all belonged to the middle-class and upper middle-class, respectable families; Mussarrat Nazir and Husna were well-educated women, while quite a few came from the usual circle of bazaar. Similarly, there were those who belonged to very poor families like Shammi and Shireen, who became famous after they entered the film foray. Amongst such girls, one can also name Nasima Khan, a relatively lesser-known entity now, but very welled received in the 1960s, in the Bengali and Urdu films. Not many can forget her performance in that evergreen light-hearted spectacle Nai Laila Naya Majnoon, where she presented such a fine combination with Kamal .Nasima was born near Khulna, in Bangladesh, somewhere around 1946. She belonged to a poor family, whose elderly members sang and presented street or rural theatre to earn their living. Nasima being good-looking with a darkish complexion, was noticed due to her beauty and dance prowess. She also sang well on occasions. A theatre agent, who used to frequent the theatre companies and provided them extra boys and girls for relief scenes, found her very impressive during the rehearsals of a stage show, and took her to meet the manager of dancing hall, in Dhaka, which presented musical theatre. Nasima’s dance enraptured the audiences. It was during one such performance that a Bengali film director, Salahuddin, noticed Nasima. Salahuddin experimented with Nasima in a rather permissive role; in a Bengali film Suraj Ashnan, opposite known actor, Anwer.
It was in 1963 when Nasima got a chance to act in an Urdu movie in Bengal, which was A. Jabbar Khan’s Nach Ghar. In this movie, she had the chance to work with her senior and most popular actress, Shabnam who was already working in Urdu films in Bengal. Shabnum had super hits like Chanda and Talash before that time. Nasima also worked in another Bengali film, titled Dharpat, which was largely concerned with the semi-classical music and dance. In 1964, Nasima did an Urdu film, titled Shadi, which was directed by Pasha. The film didn’t do to too well, but Nasima along with another girl Kabori, had become a sort of a sort a sex symbol in Bengal, with sizzling figure, though a short stature and her permissive performances in later movies like Maalen (1964), and Gori (1968). In Gori, Nasima did a fisherwoman’s role opposite Rehman. She soon became one of the earliest film actresses from Bengal, after Shabnam and Shabana, to work in the other wing of the country too.
In 1969, Nai Laila Naya Majnoon hit the cinemas, and became one of the biggest hits all over Pakistan. Director Munnawwar Rasheed wanted to make a light-hearted film, with Kamal doing the sort of role that Shammi Kapoor used to do in India, and selected Nasima Khan for the lead role, due to her oomph and appeal. The film also had Lehri and Aaliya in pivotal comic roles. Later, a film-maker called Mohsin paired Mohammad Ali and Nasima Khan in a film called Geet Kaheen Sangeet Kaheen, which he completed in record time and released the same year. The film did moderate business and it was thought that the cine-goers didn’t fancy the two together, but the notion was proved wrong the next year, when Mohammad Ali, Shamim Ara and Nasima Khan were brought together in M. A, Rasheed’s hit of 1970, Aansoo Ban Gaey Moti. Perhaps, a lot its success had to do with Master Inayat’s sterling music and Mohammad Ali’s superb acting. The same year, Nasima and Kamal did another film together, titled Road to Swat. It was also a light-hearted movie which was a box-office hit. It seemed as if a good pair of Kamal and Nasima was established, but bigger forces were in motion by then, which changed the whole scenario and we were faced at that sad chapter in our small history that is called the Fall of Dhaka. Nasima also departed for Bangladesh, as many did, including, Runa Laila, and much later Rehman, Muslehuddin and Naheed Niazi. The recent to leave these shores are Robin Ghosh and Shabnam. Unlike Shabnam and Babita, who worked in Lahore, but kept doing films in Bengal too, Nasima made the cardinal blunder of shifting to Punjab, which angered some of the nationalistic section of the Bengali industry. That was the reason that she wasn’t able to make any impact in the Bangladeshi film industry after the formation of the new republic.