Husna: Paragon of beauty
By Anis Ahmed Shakur
In the year 1957, a very decent lady,
Surraiya, her twelve year old very pretty daughter and actress Babbu Begum met with film maker, Syed Shaukat Husain Rizvi,
at a tea break in the guest room of Shah Noor studios, Lahore.
Surraiya’s outstanding demeanor and her Lucknow-style accent meant that she hailed from a Nawab
family of pre-partition days.
Long story short, Surraiya explained Rizvi, nicknamed Mian jee, that her daughter, who was then in
her early teens, had a strong desire to work in films.
Mian jee interviewed the teenager, who was well versed in Urdu and English.
Mian jee had seen a sparkle in her eyes. There was evidently something in her face that transcends
Mian jee momentarily informed Surraiya that he had decided to cast the gorgeous girl in his film ‘Jaan-e-Bahar’
The little girl did not find appropriate words to thank the film- maker.
After all, no one ever mistakes the message of a grateful heart.
Thus, the exceptionally beautiful girl, who looked more like a fairy, and whom the Pakistani movie
goers round the globe know as Husna, debuted from the film ‘Jaan-e-Bahar’ in 1958.
Noor Jehan also endorsed Husna to the films.
Husna was dubbed as the daughter of Musarrat Nazeer and Lala Sudhir in ‘Jaan-e-Bahar’.
Her life is a glorious tale of warmth and gratitude. Cine-goers and critics alike agree that Husna
resembles the Indian actress Nimmi.
Truth be told, none other actress of her time came even close to Husna’s beauty, much less beating
To this day, Husna is Husna. She has no parallel in beauty.
Surraiya and her husband, who was a high ranking official at Radio Pakistan at the time, wanted Husna to complete her education and then continue her journey to the movies.
However, Husna decided to forsake education for the acting that was her lifelong love.
We are the architects of our own fortunes and that our happiness depends, in the end, on ourselves.
Moreover, glamour was in Husna’s blood. She had a flair for parties, picnics and outings, as
Her immense appeal and her absolute belief to move on took her to the forefront of the rising Pakistani
cinema in the 1960s.
She associated herself to films for two decades. During that time, she worked in sixty- three movies.
She appeared in the films as supporting actress, lead actress and even as vamp.
Behind the gaze that had put a generation of young males under her spell, was an ultra sensitive woman
whose presence always heightened the sweetness of living.
She made her mark with her next movie, ‘Ajab Khan’, which proved to be a mega hit. It
launched her into the cinema. She played the lead actress, dubbed as ‘Noor’, opposite Sudhir, who played the title
role, ‘Ajab Khan’.
The real Husna and the reel Husna were very much alike: Vivid, vivacious and friend of friends.
After more than four decades, her well- wishers could not get her off their minds.
Her dressing expressed her aspirations toward taste and sophistication. Husna ia arguably the best
dressed actress in the annals of the Pakistani cinema.
Her memory had been, is, and hopefully will be so sharp that she remembers precisely the location
of every single dress in her wardrobes.
Movies like ‘Society’, ‘Sathi’ and ‘Nagan’, in which she appeared
in romantic lead roles, added to her popularity and bought her instant fame. Husna, by far, is one of the most romantic heroine
Pakistanis have ever seen.
She lives like her best memories have not happened yet. Unfortunately, her marriages were not as successful
as her movies. Husna married more than once in her fabulous movie career. Relatively speaking, she was not quite complacent
with her married life.
She graced the Pakistani silver screen with her wistful appearance and to this day, the movie buffs
remember her as an icon of beauty and glamour.
The enormously talented Husna received more opportunities to evince her acting. Below are three examples:
The films ‘Saltanat’ (Husna was the supporting actress), the film ‘Lagan’,
starring, Husna- Aslam-Yusuf, the film ‘Son of Ali Baba’.
The following three films show what a well-balanced and modulated performance she could render if
given the right opportunity:
The films ‘Ghazi Bin Abbas’, ‘Teen Phool’ and ‘Farishta’ (Husna
worked opposite late Afzal Nazeer in ‘Farishta’)
Who else could have combined her beauty and her tragedy with such finesse and dignity. An actress
of many projects, Husna was also behind such movies:
‘Habu’, ‘Rani Khan’(‘Rani Khan’ was released on November 4, 1960,
starring, Husna-Akmal-Laila-Zarif), ‘Bhai chara’.
She felt betrayed, when people took more interest in her glamour than her intelligence. That left
her emotional and desperate.
Further, all her life, she yearned for a man who could have looked more deeply into her tortured artistic
Her ex-husbands hardly noticed the sincere woman inside her, fraught with unrequited love. Passions
ran deep than.
Husna, an amicable actress, a devoted friend, a patriot and an optimist, did appeal to the audiences
in the following three films:
‘Al-Hilal’, ‘Neela Parbat’ and ‘Kaun kisi ka’.
Being there for her associates gave her a phenomenal edge. It was a sublime moment in her life. She
maintained warm and sincere relationships with her colleagues.
In a way so subtle, so gentle, so loving—like the budding and falling of the leaves on the pecan
trees in the backyard.
As impressionable as ever, Husna was the dashing heart- throb in the following three films:
‘Jadu gar’, ‘Jaal’, ‘Piya Milan ki Aas’.
More than any other actress of her time, she listened to the heart- beat of her fans. It strengthened
her faith in her own resourcefulness.
Her acting talent was considerable. It is all the more evident in the following three movies:
‘Honey moon’, ‘Oonchay Mehal’ and ‘Shaheed’(popular song of ‘Shaheed’:
‘Kahay dil ki umang, uroon badal kay sung’, singer, Zubeida Khanum, picturised on Husna).
Her regal elegance made public snap to attention. Such uncommon dazzle is a rarity.
Good movies can edify the mind. Husna played her roles with great effect in the following three movies:
‘Beta’, ‘Majboor’ and ‘Doosri shadi.’
Every one noticed Husna’s beauty. But it is also her heart that made her stand out. So great
is her intelligence and charm that those who know her adore her.
Most definitely, she took pride in truly living with a clear conscience.
Some of her movies exemplifies twentieth century Pakistani life. Husna, an adept actress, worked zealously
in the following three films:
‘Dosti’, ‘Sarhad’ and ‘Aarzu’.
Perhaps, no other Pakistani film actress, other than Husna, became so synonymous with ethereal beauty,
with perfection of grace and with excellence.
She is that one artist, who excels in all attributes.
She poured her heart out in the following three movies:
‘Khamosh nigahain’, ‘Sajan milday kadi kadi’ and ‘Aar paar’.
Her fans have tremendous respect and open admiration for her zero tolerance for lies and hypocrisy.
They salute the legendary Husna, on-camera and off.
In her two decades there, she influenced scores of budding artists. When an average Husna admirer
is asked, what is so special in that actress, this is how they usually reply: ‘I just like her a lot’!
She proved as popular as ever with the release of the following three movies, which brought her distinctive,
cinematically likely persona honed over the years:
‘Jawab do’, ‘Raja’ and ‘Surraiya Bhopali’.
Furthermore, she was also the heroine in director Yunus Rahi’s film ‘Aurat aik kahani’.
She won the Nigar Award’ for best supporting actress in director S.Sulaiman’s film ‘Sabaq’
in 1972. (Popular song of ‘Sabaq’: ‘Khilti kali ko deikh kar’, singer, Runa Laila, picturised on Husna)
With every leap of grace and form, her adorers were watching the future of that gorgeous actress take
Husna, who is all radiant, used the vantage that came from experience in the following three movies:
‘Aawaz’, ‘Maan, bahu, beta’ and ‘Sabaq’.
She is known to transform simple gatherings into impressively sumptuous celebration by her mere presence.
She never forgot that playing up to the audience is the most vital element of movies.
Through hard work and perseverance, she attained success in the following three movies:
‘Karishma’, ‘Tamasha’ and ‘Gunah gaar’.
This deity of popular entertainment and a courageous actress, became a favorite to millions because
she seemed to be a straight talker.
Those who worked with her knew another side. They knew that she was a woman of strong will and determination.
The films flood- lights caught her clean good looks.
At the height of her acting career, she worked in the following three movies:
‘Taqdeer’, ‘Aurat aur zamana’ and ‘Baazi jeet laye.’
To her friends and fans, she personified the ideal actress. This actress of individualism still makes
her presence felt years after she stepped off the industry.
She continues to exert a peculiar fascination.
After retiring from the films, she stayed in Lahore for a while. Later she moved to the U.S.A.
One feels nostalgic as one encompass all those great memories about her.
To think of Husna after all these years, is like sitting in a little boat and sailing through time.
She suffered at the hands of those who lied and the hypocrites but never compromised her unimpeachable
that, Husna, we thank you!