Pakistani film industry legend Sabiha Khanum, who showed the essence of everlasting acting in films, has passed away at the age of 84 in the United States. She had kidney disease.
Sabiha Khanum’s Career:
Sabiha Khanum’s birth name was Mukhtar Begum and she was born on October 16, 1935 in Gujarat, Punjab. Her husband Santosh Kumar’s real name was Syed Musa Raza. After the formation of Pakistan, the duo of Sabiha Khanum and Santosh Kumar was considered a guarantee of success in the film world.
Sabiha Khanum dominated Pakistani cinema in the 50’s and 60’s. She also acted in popular Pakistani television dramas in the 1980s and 1990s.
Sabiha Khanum has acted brilliantly in films like ‘Tahzeeb’, ‘Anokha’, ‘Kaneez’, ‘Mukhra’, ‘Shikwah’, ‘Dewar Bhabhi’, ‘Ek Gunah’ and ‘Sangdal’. He was also awarded Pakistan’s largest Film Award (Nigar Award) for Best Performer and Medal of Merit for his outstanding performances in films.
Mukhtar Begum or Sabiha Khanum is the daughter of Mohammad Ali (Maahia) from Delhi and Iqbal Begum (Baalo) from Amritsar, Punjab, British India. She was raised in a conservative rural environment by her grandparents, but got her first acting opportunity on stage in Lahore, after moving there to be with her father.
A cultural delegation visited a cinema house in Sialkot, Pakistan in 1948. Mukhtar Begum (then a young girl in 1948), who was part of the delegation, sang the Punjabi song “Kithhay gae yoon pardesia way” from the film Sassi Punnoon (which starred Baalu and Aslam). Her performance was praised, and soon Mohammad Ali introduced his daughter to a noted stage drama writer and poet, Nafees Khaleeli. Noting her determination, Khaleeli offered her a role in the drama Buut Shikan, which she accepted. Nafees Khaleeli gave her the screen name of Sabiha Khanum.
She lived with her daughter in Leesburg, Virginia until her death on 13 June 2020 at the age of 84.
Awards and Performances:
Sabiha Khanum has won several Nigar awards during her lifetime:
Nigar Award for Best Actress in film Saat Lakh (1957)
Nigar Award for Best Actress for film Shikwa (1963)
Nigar Award Special award for film Dewar Bhabi (1967)
Nigar Award Special award for film Ik Gunah Aur Sahi (1975)
Nigar Award Special award for her thirty years of acting career (1981)