A Homage to Actress Shyama

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 Shyama ( Khursheed Akhtar) was a born versatile Actress.

( A Short Homage  by Mohan Siroya )

As a child I was  besotted by a charming little girl who was briefly seen in a scene filmed on Noorjehan in  1945 film “Zeenat” .But little did I know that this girl while doing small roles in a few films as child artisrte will grow up as beautiful, charming and chirpy  Lass to make a magical impact with her first stellar role in the film “Aar Paar” in 1954. After that there was no looking back for Shyama and she made  a large number of B & W films between 1954 to 1960, mostly made in South by AVM productions like “Bhabhi””Do Behen”,”Bhai Bhai”  “MIlan “ and “Sharda” playing parallel roles . All were box office hits . The famous song “Aye Chand Jahan Wo Jayen” was filmed on her and the thespian Meena Kumari in “Sharda”.  The film also fetched her first award as best Supporting actress by FilmFare And none can forget her electrifying performance in “Barsaat Ki Raat” ,especially  the Qawwali song “Ye Ishq Ishq Hai Ishq”. She played all types of supporting roles till 1980 with last film “Payal ki Jhankar” taking her tally to almost  150 films in her career .  Her leading roles with Johny Walker in 5-6 r films were delightful.

As a film journalist, my first encounter with her in person was on the sets of Mohan Saigal’s film “Sawan Bhadon”  some time in 1969 at the then Roop Tara Studio in Dadar. She looked charming and charismatic as usual but that time I also noticed the “Perfectionist” in her. There was a word  “Yaqeenan” in a  Dialogue exchange  between her and Iftikhar Ahmed. To speak it with correct accent  action and emotions, she gave about 10 takes ,a few asked by the director and the rest on her own to improve to her satisfaction. My second and last encounter with her was in 2010 in a press meet at the residence of veteran artiste Chandrashekhar on the eve of “Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Award and   Jayanti Celbrations” in 2010. Another artiste and famous danseuse  veteran Sitara Devi was also present. They both were grilled by the scribes .But Shyama stole the show  with her witty and chirpy answers . Her persona remained dominating .In the Jayanti celebrations at Bhaidas Hall , both the artistes were felicitated for their contribution to the films and art.

  Sadly she breathed her  last  at the age of 82 due to ill health . May her soul REST IN PEACE .




Written by: 

Mohan Siroya


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