“We know that she was loved by so many people”
One of Pakistan’s well-known veteran actresses, Sabiha Khanum passed away at the age of 84 in the US on Saturday, 13 June 2020.
Sabiha Khanum was born as Mukhtar Begum in Gujrat, Punjab, British India on October 16, 1935.
Sabiha’s father Mohammad Ali came from Delhi, with her mother originally belonging to Amritsar, Punjab, British India.
Coming from a conservative rural background, she got her first acting break on stage in Lahore. This is after moving to the historic city and reuniting with her father.
Sabiha was a leading heroine of Pakistani films from the 50s and 60s. She went onto extend her acting career, playing award-winning roles in the 80s and 90s.
Being part of a cultural delegation, Sabiha sang the Punjabi track ‘Kithhay Gae Yoon Pardesia Way’ from Sassi Punoon.
After her praiseworthy performance in Sassi Punoon, Sabiha then had a rendezvous with eminent writer and poet Nafees Khalili.
Acknowledging her passion, Khaleel gave Sabiha a role in in the drama Buut Shikan. It was Khaleel who had suggested the screen name Sabiha Khanum.
She went onto feature in many popular films including Gumnaam (1954), Dulla Bhatti (1956), Sarfarosh (1956), Mukhra (1958), Devar Bhabhi (1967) and Ik Gunah Aur Sahi (1975).
The actress had a fantastic pairing with real-life husband, the late Santosh Kumar (Syed Musa Raza) in many of her movies.
Described as the “perfect couple”, the two had a huge fan following. Sabiha Khanum had received many accolades. These include over five Nigar Awards and the Presidential ‘Pride of Performance’ Award in 1986.
Reportedly, the actress was suffering from renal disease leading up to her demise.
Her granddaughter Sarish Khan confirmed the unfortunate news on Facebook. She wrote:
“It is with great sadness that we share the news of the demise of our beautiful and beloved Sabiha Raza (Sabiha Khanum).
“We know that she was loved by so many people and we have been receiving countless messages and calls.
“We ask you to be patient with us as we grieve her loss and respond to you all.”
Many fans have been paying their tributes to the late star on social media.
Taking to Twitter, Radio Pakistan wrote:
“#SabihaKhanum ruled the Pakistani #cinema in 1950s and ‘60s with superhit movies, including Kaneez, Mukhra, Anokha, Tehzeeb and many others.
“She gave award-winning performances in films during the 1980s and 1990s as well.”
Actor Ali Rehman Khan acknowledged the entertainment industry’s great loss saying:
“Our industry has lost one of its greatest. A true legend of the silver screen. The beautiful Sabiha Khanum. Sahiba passed away today. May her soul Rest in eternal Peace.”
Pakistani politician Sherry Rehman recalled the time she met the actress. She tweeted:
“Very sad to hear of Sabiha Khanum passing. Was privileged to meet her at a reception in Washington some years ago.
“She was the epitome of grace even then, and loved hearing that many of us had seen her movies.”
“She and husband Santosh were Pk’s full on matinee idols in the 60s.”
Ayesha is an English graduate with an aesthetic eye. Her fascination lies in sports, fashion and beauty. Also, she does not shy away from controversial subjects. Her motto is: “no two days are the same, that is what makes life worth living.”
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