She was one of the Pakistani film industry’s earliest heroines, building her career during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Although she made a slew of commercially successful films including Aadmi and Baaghi she never rose to any great heights of a heroine. Perhaps this was because her films roles were mostly very coy and demure eastern damsels who did not have much inner strength or impetus in life except to be pretty, obedient and willing: the perfect foil and ideal for the Pakistani male chauvinist who unfortunately still exists today.
This still is taken from director T.H.Riaz’s Awaz De Kahan Hai (1962) which was inspired by the then Indian melody queen Noor Jehan’s song of the same name. Akmal was the hero in this tale of a childhood affiancing and missing person’s saga. As adults, childhood sweethearts Akmal and Yasmin reunite through pure coincidence as they traverse through scenic Punjabi cities. Although the film had an idyllic fairytale ending, it bombed without a trace, despite its auditory title.
Yasmin popularized the choli, ghagra and sari, two ensembles that were indigenous to her homeland India. In this clip, where her resemblance to Indian movie star Madhubala is eerie, replete with slick penciled-in eyebrows, 60’s elongated kohled eyes, and glossy lips, a voluptuous Yasmin wears an oversized daisy spangled choli blouse, lengha, and a dupatta, tucked sari style at the back. The outfit, typically worn by Hindu women, is an apt styling choice, given Yasmin’s Indian origins. Notice also the Hindu temple style chameli ka ghajra and the mangalsutar type necklace: bold styling for a Pakistani movie.
Although previously married, Yasmin shared a happy married life, until his death in late 1997, with Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, former husband of Madame Noor Jehan, an irony not missed by film aficionados who were also tickled by the fact that both former actresses coexisted in Lahore.