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KARACHI: Shamim Ara, the actress on whom the famous Faiz Ahmed Faiz poem, Mujh se pehli si muhabbat, was filmed in the movie Qaidi, passed away after a long illness in London on Friday. She was 78.

She had been living with her son Salman Kareem Majeed in the UK capital since 2010 after suffering a brain hemorrhage and was in a coma for the past six years.

Shamim Ara was Putli Bai’s showbiz name. She was born in Aligarh in 1938. After partition she came to Karachi. By chance she got to meet filmmaker Najam Naqvi in the late 1950s while he was looking for a new, young actress to star in his film, Kunwari Bewa.

He cast her in the lead role. Although the film came a cropper at the box office, the actress won admiration for her acting skills, a clear diction and dusky good looks. It did not take long for her to become the heartthrob of the nation.

Saheli was the film in which Shamim Ara tasted her first success. After that, it was no looking back for her. She was now a celebrity. She went on to do more than six dozen films, notable among them being Saiqa, Salgirah, Doraha and Dil Mera Dharkan Teri. She and the chocolate hero of Pakistani cinema, Waheed Murad, starred in quite a few films and were considered one of the most popular on-screen pairs.

In the mid-1970s, Shamim Ara tried her hand at filmmaking. One of her critically acclaimed and commercially successful films of the ‘70s was Playboy. She also had a string of successes withMiss Singapore, Ms Hong Kong and Miss Colombo with Babra Sharif as the female protagonist.

Shamim Ara will be laid to rest in London on Saturday after Zuhr prayers.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2016