Real Name – Tajour Sultana
Profession – Actress (Supporting)
Most Active/Popular Decades – 1940s / 1950s
Religion – Muslim
Ethnicity – Punjabi
Date of Birth – July 4th, 1926 (Quetta, Balochistan – Now in Pakistan)
Year of Death – 2004 (India)
Debut Film – Gawandhi (Punjabi) – 1942
Last Film – N/A
Significant others in the Film Industry – Al-Nasir (Husband, Actor)
Miscellaneous Info – Veena was a famous character actress. She was born as Tajour Sultana on July 4, 1926 in Quetta, Balochistan (present day Pakistan). At some point in time, her family shifted to Lahore’s Chuna Mandi. She made her debut in Punjabi film made in Lahore – Gawandhi (1942) – opposite Shyam. The film was a hit because of its popular songs including Pagdi sambhal jatta, and she started to get more offers.
Later she shifted to the film capital of India – Bombay and started to play supporting roles in many films of which Mehboob Khan’s Najma (1943), Humayun (1945) and K. Asif’s Phool (1945) are notable. During the early phase of her career, one of her best performances was as a sexually repressed woman in Dastaan (1950) who ends up causing grief to all who knew her. She was also cast as a heroine in Afsana (1951) opposite Ashok Kumar. The movie was a box-office hit telling the story of the adultrous wife (Kuldip Kaur) having an affair with his husband’s friend, played by Pran. However, it was the vamp Kuldip who easily stole the show with her strong performance as the adulterous wife and Veena was reduced to playing character roles again. She was cast in many films in supporting roles including Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959). In Kaagaz Ke Phool, she was snobbish upper-class wife of Guru Dutt looking down on his work in the film industry.
In the latter part of her career, her most memorable role was as Meena Kumar’s sister and aunt (Meena Kumari in double role) in Pakeezah (1971). The way she yelled “Shahabuddin!” during the climax of the film showed what a fine actress she was and her full control over her dialogue delivery. She retired in 1983 after the release of Razia Sultan (1983) in which she played Empress Shah Turkhan. She died in Bombay in 2004 after 21 years of retirement when she was 78 years old after suffering from a protracted illness.
Related Youtube Video – Lata Mangeshkar singing for Veena in Afsana (1951), music by Husnlal-Bhagatram.