LAHORE: Celebrated TV, radio and film personality Talat Siddiqui passed away here after a protracted illness. She was 82.

She was the mother of actor Arifa Siddiqui and veteran dancer Nahid Siddiqui, and an aunt of noted singer Fariha Pervaiz. She was laid to rest on Sunday in a graveyard near her residence near Canal View Society.

She was considered one of the most renowned actresses of the country. Most popular among her films were hits such as Dilnasheen, Kaliya and Haider Sultan. She had bid the industry goodbye around three decades ago.

Talat Siddiqui was a gifted character actor who ruled the silver screen in the 1960s when such actors won equal, and sometimes more, praise as the leading stars. Besides her, the legendary Talish is another example of such a character actor.

Born Adeeba Nazeer in Shimla, India in 1939, the actor completed her FA in her hometown, but life soon threw a curve ball at her. Her father Nazir Ahmad, who was a government servant, was a chronic asthma patient and being unable to take her responsibility any further, married her off at the age of 15 to Bashir Ahmed Siddiqui.

In the mid ‘50s, the couple shifted to Karachi where a short while later her husband was imprisoned in a court case. A young Siddiqui was left solely responsible for raising her first-born Nahid and run the household. That was when she auditioned at Radio Pakistan and gradually became known as Talat Siddiqui.

Early in her career, Siddiqui sang songs as she was blessed with a melodious voice and also did some radio plays. She later stepped into the world of cinema. Her debut film was director A.H. Siddiqui’s Choti Begum wherein she played a minor role. Her 1965 film Ishq-i-Habib earned her great appreciation and is still remembered for its evergreen qawwali by the Sabri brothers, ‘Bhar Do Jholi’.

Her performance in Jamil Mirza’s Mere Bachche Meri Aankhein was also lauded. By the time this film was released, Siddiqui had moved to Lahore and was showered with film offers. The ones that projected her talent the best included Phir Subha Hogi, Ladka, Ik See Maa, Khoon Da Badla Khoon, Maa Baap, Hukumat, Umrao Jan Ada, Lori, Bandagi, Professor, Kon Kisi Ka, Jithe Vagdi Ae Ravi and Bhai Behen.

In some of her films, Siddiqui also sang a few songs. Her brilliant acting skills were acknowledged in films such as Bandagi and Kon Kisi Ka as well as Lori.

Her younger sister, Rehana Siddiqui, was also an actor. In Hamdam, Rehana was one of the lead actors, while Talat played an important role herself. Her daughter Arifa carried on the legacy and became a popular actor in the ‘80s and ‘90s, while Nahid is an internationally acclaimed kathak dancer.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2021

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