“Her very fine and strong sense of culture and finesse was always reflective in her acting, something which became highly popular later on with private TV channels. She would not readily accept a negative role as she believed she could not do justice to it. It was through sheer hard work, her cultural background and high intelligence that she created a style all her own.” — Qasim Jalali, director and producer

“No television channel acknowledged her for proving her mettle as an actress par excellence over the years. She demonstrated her acting prowess early on in Khuda Ki Basti, in which she enacted a young, poor single mum with little kids. Her acting was a benchmark. Her performance in the play Haj-i-Akbar was another stellar performance. In spite of her professional engagements, she actively participated in all spheres of life: as a mum, wife, friend and co-worker, and was forever generous and always charitable. Zaheen Tahira was a woman of values. She upheld the etiquettes of a culture which is congenial and where there is mutual respect. We don’t get to see these traits in the industry anymore.” — Shakeel, actor

“I remember when I joined PTV in 1973, Zaheen Tahira had become a popular artist through Khuda Ki Basti. I can never forget her very affectionate smile whenever we met. We sometimes used to chat during breaks from our projects on PTV, discussing various characters and how they should be portrayed and enacted. She once invited us to dinner at her place. After dinner, we watched a movie, teasing each other and laughing together. Those were the good old days: no commercialisation of media, just very simple people and a cordial environment.” — Haseena Moin, television playwright

“In [the 1974 version of] Khuda Ki Basti, I played her son. In 2019, I was playing her son again in the drama serial Barfi Ladoo. She was like a motherly figure to me as well in real life. I just cannot forget her affection and love towards me. She left behind a daughter who is suffering from a terminal illness. She used to look after her, yet she would work hard in plays and still wear that very affectionate smile on her face. You can imagine how much pain she must have borne inside her, yet she was a strong and hardworking woman, reaching out to all those who sought her help.” — Behroze Sabzwari, actor

Compiled by Sumera Naqvi

Published in Dawn, ICON, July 21st, 2019