Deeba: Pakistani Mona Lisa
By Anis Shakur
Unki nazroan say mohabbat ka jo paigham mila
Dil ye samjha keh chalakta hua
ik jaam mila
Deeba, who was born in 1942, is the sister-in-law of director Baqar Rizvi. She is well known for her
tragic roles in Pakistani films.
Additionally, her ever-smiling face and her innocent looks, made her the Pakistani Mona Lisa.
Deeba made her presence felt as a chld star named Chutanki in the film 'Faisla.'
Deeba must have taken it as the voice of destiny, when she was informed that she was selected for a side
role in Fazal Ahmed Karim Fazli's movie, 'Chiragh jalta raha'.
Thus, she made her movie debut in a 1962 film called 'Chiragh jalta raha'.
That was a glorious moment in history, harbinger of more good films to come.
Moreover, in those days, almost every Pakistani city buzzed with popular film stories.
Following her role in 'Chiragh jalta raha', Deeba worked in the movie, 'Jabsay deikha hai tumhain'. It was
a huge hit.
Her co-workers applauded her strength. She felt she could accomplish a lot.
Her sustained efforts paid dividends in the film 'Phir subha hogee', in which she played the lead female
With the passage of time, her acting did sound better. Deeba achieved lofty heights in her next three movies:
She was the heroine in Rehman's film 'Milan', the film 'Meray bacchay meri Aankhein' and the film 'Dil diwanay'.
She paid a little extra attention to the way she faced the world each day and was able to slow down the
hands of time.
Further, there are enough success stories of Deeba to fuel the fever. Six are mentioned below:
The films 'Aashiq', director Aslam Dar's film 'Wada', director Shabab Kiranvi's super hit film 'Aa'ena',
director Nazrul Dada's film 'Haqeeqat', the film 'Sir Taj' and the film 'Bay Qusur'.
Casting Deeba in the films seemed a safe bet. Like other aspiring artists of her generation, she worked
zealously to prove her worth. As an actress, she had come completely into her own.
Jubilant fans greeted the release of these films:
'Koshish', 'Sajna door deyaan', 'Tum he ho mehboob meray', 'Dil day kay deikho', 'Zindigi aik safar hai',
director Zafar Shabab's film 'Sung dil'.
Many of her hugely successful films touched on the themes of romance in one way or another. Given the mood
of their times, the movie goers could hardly ignore those themes.
The stories of those films ring true even today:
The film 'Aansoo', director S. A. Bukhari's film 'Do Aansoo', the film 'Hum Dono' (director: Al- Hamid,
released in 1966, popular ghazal:
'Unki nazroan say mohabbat ka jo paigham mila', sung by Runa Laila, pictured on Deeba, starring: Deeba -
Kamal) the films 'Zameer', and 'Sajda'.
It is a signal of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation. Deeba is living proof of that
She increasingly found opportunities to show her abilities, notably in the films 'Khamosh raho', 'Dil diwana'
and the film 'Daagh'.
Better yet, was the film 'Insaan aur farishta'.
Director Dil Jeet Mirza had cast Deeba in the role of the mentally retarded girl in his film 'Riwaaj'. Watching
her role in 'Riwaaj' is an experience of a lifetime. Her character came precariously close to reality.
Her role in the film 'Seeta, Maryam, Margaret', was remarkable.
Beautiful, vivid and gracious, Deeba, by all accounts, completely captured the heart of Waheed Murad in
the film 'Ik Nagina'. He looked right at her and smiled. It was quite a smile!
Deeba, who passed most of her life in Karachi, is not a perfect actress, but she aimed to be a better one.
She is not egotistical-she just has confidence in her own abilities.
The following six films were an achievement that is still a worthy yardstick:
'Anila', 'Behan bhai', 'Doosri shadi', 'Pak Daman', 'Dil kay tukray', 'Aao pyar karain'.
As the years passed, she kept working in the films. Some of her films are also based on the grand theme
of love, as well.
The visionary film directors have so vividly recreated them. With a little extra effort, Deeba was able
to rekindle the passion in the following films:
'Neend hamari khwab tumharay', 'Maujiza', 'Zameen', director Luqman's film 'Pakeeza', director Qadeer Ghauri's
film 'Mehmaan', 'Doraha'.
The unifying power of the written word-the lyrics, played a decisive role in the success of her films. The
transporting power of love and gentility were successfully captured in these movies.
Her love of acting, which took her irresistibly to filmdom, has not diminished yet.
She scored big at the cinema, when the following films arrived in the theatres. Mega hit film 'Anjuman',
'Afsana', 'Madar-e-Watan', 'Jahan walay', 'Hum matwalay naujawan', 'Ruswaye'.
Over the years, she constantly improved her acting skills. Her performance was quite striking in her later
She did a world of good for herself and for her fans, as she kept a steady course.
Furthermore, the directors had the savvy to motivate the stars.
Deeba's convincing performances in the following films gripped the hearts of fans:
'Husn ka chore', 'Zinda laash', 'Ulfat', 'Dost dushman', 'Shehnai', 'Parosi'.
The past has its allure, so is her memory. A sense of quiet reverence pervades the past films, as one re-visits
them. This presence never leaves.
The movies are still fresh in the minds of cine-goers. They have stories to tell: The films 'C.I.D.', 'Ishara',
director Zafar Shabab's film 'Dard', 'Dooor ki Aawaz', 'Fasana-e-dil', 'Chaudween sadi'.
Staying resilient through the challenges of life, she worked even harder in another spate of films. Deeba,
whose life has been a long, exciting trip in the film world, came up with more interesting movies like the following:
'Phir chand niklay ga', 'Perdais', 'Kaun dilan diyan janay', 'Meri mohabbat teray hawalay', 'Aik raat',
'Bhola sajan', 'Nasha jawani da', 'Subha ka tara', 'Sajan rang rangeela'.
Deeba, who is 61 years of age, worked with the best people, who made her look good by helping her display
more of the full range of her acting talent.
In the final phase of her acting career, she appeared in more movies. Seven of them are listed below:
'Umar Mukhtar', 'Karam Daata', 'Deewanay teray pyar kay', 'Barsaat ki raat', 'Nikah', 'Saheb jee' and the
mega hit film 'Chooriyaan'.
She earned the Nigar Award for best actress in the film 'Sajna dooor deyan' in 1970.
Forty- one years after her first film appearance, her past images recall the brightest, happiest hours of
So long, Deeba!
Below is a wistful note:
One of the many reasons for writing these profiles is to record the history
of our filmdom for posterity, while there is still time, while there is still memory.