Sabiha Khanum, the first lady of Pakistani cinema.


Sabiha Khanum the first lady of Pakistani Cinema:
Born to famous pre-partition Punjabi actress Balo, Sabiha reigned supreme in the hearts of the film-goers. Her innocence, her coy smiles and entrancing personality earned her the title of First Lady of Pakistani Cinema. Whereas most actors have one definitive forte, Sabiha won over audiences and critics with strikingly versatile characterizations

Sabiha khanum’s career:
Nafees Khaleeli offered her a role in the drama 'Buth shikan'. She enthusiastically accepted the offer. Additionally, Nafees Khaleeli changed the name of Mukhtar Begum to Sabiha Khanum.
On Nafees Khaleeli's request, the film director Masood Pervez offered Sabiha a role in the film 'Beli' and Sabiha Khanum made her debut as a dancer in Masud Pervaiz’s Beli (1950), based on Saadat Hasan Manto’s story about the perils of the 1947 exodus, with Shahina Ghaznavi and Santosh Kumar in the lead.

Her second film:
Her next film Do Ansoo in which she played the role of Noori, was Pakistan’s first silver jubilee Urdu film. 'Do Aansoo' takes a realistic approach to the tragedy both in scenery and characterization. After that Sabiha never looked back.
The secret of Sabiha's success in the Pakistani cinema includes flexibility, rooted in love and understanding.
Next to all of that is the fact that Sabiha is an embodiment of courage, kindness and decency.
In the annals of Pakistani film industry, Sabiha stands out. Sabiha dazzled cine-goers in the 1950s.

Sabiha’s memorable films:
Sabiha gained immense prominence after her challenging role of a mentally retarded girl in the film Gumnaam (1954), which she executed with rare pathos.
She embarked on the road to fame and stardom in a big way with the release of Sassi (1954). Sassi was a big budget movie and was filmed around the most picturesque areas of the country. Sabiha was cast in the title role, as the daughter of the chief of the washerman’s clan of Sindh. The remaining cast included Sudhir who played Punhu, Shahnawaz, Ghulam Mohammed, Bibbo, Nazar, and Asha Posley. Sassi was a great commercial hit by J.C. Anand and created an all time record for being the first golden jubilee film of Pakistan.
Dulla Bhatti:
Sabiha played the role of 'Nooran' in the romantic Punjabi film 'Dula Bhatti', directed by M.S. Daar. Sabiha's character in the film 'Dula Bhatti' is, indeed, an achievement of a life time.
Sabiha with her coquettish Madhubala-like charm won the hearts of film-goers and can be reckoned as the first leading lady of Pakistani cinema. G.A. Chishtis’ composition Wasta e Rab da, too javain de kabootra picturized on Sabiha remained on the top of the popularity list for months. It is said that the film netted so much profit that it enabled Agha Gul to build his own well-equipped New Evernew Studios at Multan Road, Lahore.

Her heroes:
Although she was cast opposite all famous heroes of her time including Yosuf Khan, Habib, Masud, and Aslam Pervaiz, her pairing with Santosh Kumar generated sparks both on and off screen

Sabiha’s relation with Santosh Kumar:
Sabiha was cast opposite all renowned actors of her time. However, she will be remembered most for her films with Santosh Kumar. Along the way, she found the love of her life-Santosh Kumar. It is said that during the making of the film Hasrat (1958), Sabiha and Santosh got married. Once married, they had a great future together. Their screen pair remained popular for almost a decade.
Sabiha's achievement along with Santosh Kumar in the following films is still a worthy yardstick:

'Saat lakh', 'Darbar', 'Sardar', 'Saltanat', 'Mukhra', 'Muskurahat', 'Rishta', 'Hasrat', 'Ishrat', 'Shikwa', 'Teray baghair', 'Mauseeqar', 'Dulhan', 'Kaneez', 'Dewar bhabi', 'Shaam Dhalay', 'Shahen Shah Jehangir', 'Pak Daman', 'Anjuman', 'Sarfarosh', 'Inteqaam', 'Qatil', 'Sawaal', 'Commander', and 'Mohabbat'.

Sabiha’s Awards:
She received the encomiums from her admirers whenever she won the Nigar awards:

Sabiha won the Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Saat Lakh' in 1957.

Sabiha won the Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Shikwa' in 1963.

Sabiha won the Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Dewar bhabi' in 1967.

Sabiha won the Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Aik gunah aur sahi' in 1975.

Sabiha won the special Nigar award for her thirty years of acting career in 1981.

Sabiha won the Nigar award for best supporting actress in director Hasan Tariq's film 'Sungdil' in 1982.