Shakila: the petite and pretty actress of Hindi cinema’s golden age

Her pretty and simple persona won many hearts during the 50s and 60s. She remained in the film industry for about ten years and left it all to have a happy domestic life

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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Pragati Saxena

Bollywood’s iconic actress of the 50s Shakila who was born as Badshah Beghum passed away recently after suffering from a massive heart attack. Her nephew and comedian Johny Walker’s son Nasirr Khan informed of her death in a facebook post.

Not much was known about Shakila after she quietly left the industry in 1962 to marry a UK citizen. She went to live in United Kingdom but kept visiting her Mumbai friends and residence. In her last interview to cineplot.com in 2012, she had expressed her unwillingness to be interviewed. “It’s years since I’ve left the industry, I don’t want to be written about now,” she had said. But once she began, she discussed everything right from her directors to actors and friends alike.

Content with her life in London, she unlike many actresses of the yesteryears, never missed the glamour world.

She started her career in 1953 with a small role in Alibaba, which went on to become a hit. But she really got the attention with her role in Guru Dutt’s Aar Paar. After that she enjoyed a great rapport with Guru Dutt who went on to cast her in CID too. Some of the greatest melodies of Hindi cinema were picturised on her. Who can forget ‘babu ji dheere chalna… ‘boojh mera kya naam re… ‘sau baar janam lenge..’

Shakila called Guru Dutt a wonderful person and a perfectionist. In her interview to cineplot.com, she recalled how Guru Dutt took 30-40 takes just to get one frame right in a song sequence in Aar Paar.

Shakila worked with Dev Anand too but for her Dev Anand was a reserved person. “there was no special rapport between us. He used to be very quiet. I was terribly shy those days.”

Because of her shyness, she admitted, she was considered a snob by most of her colleagues. But once the ice was broken between her and Waheeda Rehman, Shakila too made friends with some of her contemporaries. Waheeda, Nanda, Jabeen and Shakila formed a lifelong friendship during those days.

For Shakila, Nanda was the naughtiest among them and Ashok Kumar and Pran most intelligent ones.

Her pretty and simple persona won many hearts during the 50s and 60s. She remained in the film industry for about ten years and left it all to have a happy domestic life.

It is also worth praising how a talented and popular actress left a happening film career at the height of popularity and had no qualms about it. She did not even have life size portraits of her glamorous days in her house, she told in that interview and awards carried not much meaning to her.

Thus, living a simple content life, she passed away, but will remain in our hearts as the face of some of the most romantic tunes of Hindi cinema.

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