Shabnam: Untouched by time
By Anis Shakur
'Jharna' was a precocious young girl in the 1960s.
Born to Buddhist parents in Bangladesh, she took keen interest in acting as a teenager.
Director Ehtesham changed Jharna's name to Shabnam and offered her a side role in his first Urdu film 'Chanda'
Released in 1962 at Nishat cinema ,Karachi .Lead actress: Sultana Zaman).
'Chanda' a big hit at the box office, was Shabnam's first Urdu film.
Next, Ehtesham's brother, Mustafeez, selected Shabnam as the lead lady in his film 'Talaash'. (Released
in 1963 at Jubilee cinema, Karachi.Starring: Shabnam, Rehman, composer: Robin Ghosh).
Shabnam's immense acting potential attracted more directors and she was offered more lead roles in movies:
Director Ehtesham's film 'Paisay,' director Mustafeez's film 'Saagar', (starring: Shabnam, Azeem).
She also appeared in the films 'Preet na janay reet', 'Kajal', 'Aakhri station', Kaisay kahoon', 'Tum meray
ho', 'Darshan' and 'Karavan'.
('Karavan' was the first Urdu film whose location shooting was done outside Pakistan, in Nepal)
Relatively speaking, more films were released in the then west Pakistan in the 1960s, then in Bangladesh
(then East Pakistan).
Hence on Ilyas Rashdi's request, Shabnam and her husband-cum-composer, Robin Ghosh, migrated to Karachi.
Shabnam's first film in Karachi was 'Samandar' (Released in 1968 under the banner of film arts, producer:
Waheed Murad, director:
Rafiq Rizvi, composer: Deebu Bhata Chariya, starring: Shabnam, Waheed Murad).
By the late 1960s, Shabnam's competency and artistic skills were unmatched.
She worked in the films 'Shareek-e-Hayat' (1968, director: S.M. Yusuf, starring: Shabnam,Kamal, Sabira Sultana,
Iqbal Yusuf, composer: A.Hameed).
Later, she moved to Lahore .During her thirty- year movie career, Shabnam worked opposite all renowned Pakistani
However, Shabnam-Nadeem pair had been highly successful among the modern audiences.
For an actress like Shabnam, who had matched her special talents against her competitors, her roles in the
following movies are commendable:
'Darshan' ,(opposite Rehman), 'Chalo maan gaye', 'Chahat', and 'Do Saathi'.
The ever-amazing Shabnam had all the good qualities of an actress:
Director Dada Nazrul's film: 'Ehsaas', 'Sharafat', 'Aa'ena' and 'Bandish' (all opposite Nadeem.)
Also 'Nahi abhi nahi' (both actors Faisal and Ayaz's first film).
Speaking of the past, there were no miracles then. That was an on-going, day to day struggle.
The following movies directed by Jan Mohammed, speak for themselves: 'Aankhon aankhon mein' and 'Chaltay
chaltay'. Both opposite Shahid.)
Captivated by the process of creating reality from illusion and always striving for perfection, Shabnam
did a wonderful job in director Ali Sufyan Aafaqi's film 'Jageer' opposite Nadeem.
Shabnam's fans had much more faith in her performance with the passage of time. And we have plenty of movies
to back that up:
Director Pervez Malik's films 'Pehchaan', 'Talaash', 'Sachhai', 'Pakeeza', 'Hum dono', 'Rishta', 'Qurbani'
and 'Gumnaam'. (opposite Nadeem).
Much adorable Shabnam worked real hard in director Pervez Malik's movies: 'Jahan tum wahan hum'(opposite
'Intikhaab'(opposite Ghulam Mohyedin), 'Meray humsafar' (opposite Mohammad Ali).
The following Shabnam-Nadeem movies, directed by K.Khursheed brought exuberant fun for her admirers:
'Chiragh kahan roshni kahan', 'Farz aur mamta,' 'Umang' and 'Nazneen'.
Shabnam endeared herself to the people of Pakistan with the following movies: 'Gharana', 'Banu Rani', 'Nanha
farishta', (opposite Mohammad Ali).
The film 'Anokhi' (opposite Ghulam Mohyedin),
Movies like 'Benazir Qurbani' (opposite Javed Sheikh, 'Naya Andaaz' (opposite Shahid) are still popular
with the populace.
Inspired and overawed by her success in the films, she worked even harder in her next seven movies with
Nadeem: 'Society', 'Intezaar', 'Miss hippi', 'Bhool', 'Zeenat', 'Anari', 'Zanjeer', (director: S.Sulaiman).
Moreover, director S.Sulaiman's film 'Aaj aur kal' (Shabnam-Rahat Kazmi) lend her a position all her own.
Where ever she went, the limelight flooded her. She could look towards new and vaster horizons: Director
S.Sulaiman's film 'Maum ki gurya,' (Shabnam-Ghulam Mohyedin), 'Tallaq', 'Uf ye beweyaan', 'Meray huzoor', 'Abhi to mein jawan
hoon' and 'Nazar-e- karam' (opposite Shahid).
Shabnam went from proverbial success to success, from glory to glory. Her career prospered, as she appeared
in director shabab Kiranvi's 'Aa'ena aur soorat' and 'Bay mesaal' (Shabnam-Mohammad Ali).
The films 'Shama-e-Mohabbat' (Shabnam, Ghulam Mohyedin, Shahid), 'Anmol mohabbat' (Shabnam-Nadeem).
The magnificence of her acting-hard work, is quite evident in the film 'Aasra' (Director: Raza Mir, starring:
Shabnam, Mohammad Ali).
Shabnam gathered luster by her significant performance in the films 'Milan', 'Naseeb', (Director: M.A.Rasheed,
starring: Shabnam, Mohammad Ali).
Director Hasan Tariq's film 'Shama aur perwana', director Munawwar Rasheed's film 'Rootha na karo' (Shabnam-Kamal).
Director S.A. Bukhari's film 'Mein bani dulhan' (Shabnam-Shahid) and 'Do Aansoo' (Shabnam-Nadeem).
Shabnam's fans marvel at her comprehension of words, despite her shortcomings (Her strong Bengali background).
As time passed by, Shabnam's delivery of dialogue became remarkably fluent.
The following movies directed by sharif Nayyar exemplify this point:
'Naaz'(Shabnam-Mohammad Ali), 'Dosti' (Shabnam- Aijaz), 'Jhoomar chore' (Shabnam-Javed Sheikh).
Shabnam, sure of her ground, gave an excellent performance in director Wazeer Ali's film 'Love in Nepal'
(opposite Ismail Shah), 'Sahara' (opposite Mohammad Ali).
Director Shamim Ara's film 'lady commando'(Shabnam-Ghulam Mohyedin), director zafar Shabab's film 'Naya
raasta', 'Qismat', 'Aawaz', 'Aazmaish', 'Faasala', 'Deewangi', 'Shadi magar Aadhi', 'Teray ghar kay samnay', 'Saas meri saheli',
'Daman ki Aag'.
In the aforementioned movies, the vibrancy of Shabnam's profound presentation is commendable.
In the endless list of hits are films, directed by Nazar Shabab, like 'Badaltay mausum', 'Khoobsurat', 'Zara
see baat 'and 'Kabhi Alwida na kehna'.
Most definitely, Shabnam's unparalled performance in the film 'Zeenat' opposite Nadeem and Shahid shall
never be forgotten by her adorers. Particularly her acting prowess in the scene in which she buries her baby is
flawless and unique in the annals of the Pakistani cinema.
Shabnam also worked in the following Punjabi films: 'Kaalu', 'Maalka' and 'Rani beti raaj karay gi'.
Shabnam dominated the Pakistani cinema for three glorious decades and received the prestigious Nigar awad
for the following twelve movies:
1. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Chanda' in 1962.
2. Nigar award for best side role for the film 'Aakhri station' in 1965.
3. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Dosti' in 1971.
4. Nigar award for best actress for the film ' Anmol' in 1973.
5. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Dil lagi' in 1974.
6. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Zeenat' in 1975.
7. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Aa'ena' in 1977.
8. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Pakeeza' in 1979.
9. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Hum dono' in 1980.
10. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Qurbani' in 1981.
11. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Kabhi alwida na kehna' in 1983.
12. Nigar award for best actress for the film 'Naraaz' in 1985.
Silver-screen icon, Shabnam, a glittering star in the horizon of movies, achieved legendary status in her
Shabnam and her better half, Robin Ghosh, called it quits, while both were still at the apex of popularity.
Both of them have settled in their native country of Bangladesh.
Further, they are proud of their only child, Rufi, who grew up and fulfilled a lot of their expectations.
Though Shabnam worked in the film industry for three decades, her beautiful face showed little if any signs
of aging over time.
Shabnam is no longer in the spotlight, her innumerable fans will make
certain that she will never be forgotten.