Zeba Begum - Happy 73rd Birthday!

Whenever I think back to Zeba Begum’s best work, I am visited by highlights of beautiful films like Arman, Ehsan, Heera Aur Pat-thar, Insaniyat, and Kaneez! All Zeba-Waheed starrers! Kaneez by Hasan Tariq, released in 1965, had Zeba, Waheed, and Mohammad Ali. A top-drawer hit in those days. When I mention the hot pair of the Sixties, meaning Zeba and Waheed, that’s not to say that my mind doesn’t race to her superb movies with Mohammad Ali. These include Aag, Jaise Jante Naheen, Najma, Insan Aur Aadmi, Insaf Aur Qanoon etc.

Obviously, there were ups and downs in the lives of the famous pair, Ali-Zeb, like all on-screen, off-screen pairs. Zeba had married twice before she wed Ali. Shikwe shikayat to har jagah hotey hain, but adjudged all over, their pair must be considered the sada bahaar pair of the Pak film industry.

Pencil-thin beauty during her early b-&-w cinema days, Zeba maintained her figure all through her career. After Sabiha, Musarrat Nazir, and Shamim Ara, she was perhaps the most followed heroine of our silver screen. When our cinemas screened our early films during Junejo’s period, I saw one of her films called Sameera, which was based on the ancient Sumerian civilization. Another rare film of hers was Baalam, with Darpan, which was completely filmed at the West Wharf, Netty Jetty, and Keamari in early ’60s. Darpan played a street urchin of the area, and Zeba his begrudged love.