Salma Agha: Salma the
By Anis Ahmed Shakur
unka Aakhri ho ye sitam her sitam ye soach kar hum sehe gaye
Years after her first public appearance, Salma’s name continues to arouse excitement and
passion amongst her worldwide audience.
To write about actress-cum singer, Salma Agha, is to put applause on paper.
For years, the Pakistani and the Indian mass media has extolled her in glowing terms and rightly so.
Salma is the daughter of Zarina Agha and grand- daughter of singer-composer-actor, Rafiq Ghaznavi.
In her youth, Zarina Agha worked in the following two pre-partition Indian movies by the screen name of Nasreen:
The semi-historical movie, ‘Shah Jehan’, directed by A.R. Kardar and the film ‘Aik Roaz’,
directed by Dawood Chand.
Zarina Agha appeared as lead actress in both those movies, which were released before partition.
Salma also happens to be the niece of actress Shahina.
Salma, who is a British citizen, spent an extended period of time in England.
Nurtured in the lap of artistic culture and exposed in her teens to the showbiz atmosphere of Karachi and Bombay,
Salma soon mastered music and acting skills.
Technically speaking, Salma debuted in a little known Nadeem Shravan song in 1978.
Young and promising but little known Salma did her best in her first recorded song. Nobody imagined the star those
earlier days foretold.
In reality, director-producer, B.R. Chopra, orchestrated Salma’s destiny—her singing-acting career.
Hence, Salma debut in the film ‘Nikah’ in 1982. Director- producer, B.R. Chopra, cast included Salma-
Raj Babbar, songwriter, Hasan Kamal, composer, Ravi. Salma was smartly dubbed as ‘Nilofar’ in ‘Nikah’.
Further, in ‘Nikah’, Salma performed the role of a lifetime. The role that launched her as a mega star.
More films like ‘Nikah’ could hoist the banner higher for women’s films and sell more tickets.
There are scenes in ‘Nikah’ that exude an overwhelming melancholy.
Below are a few songs of ‘Nikah’.
One is overpowered by the strains of tragedy as one listens to ‘Dil kay Armaan Aansuoon mein beh gaye hum
wafa kar kay bhi tanha reh gaye’.
‘Dil kay Armaan’ by far, the lyrics were torn straight from Salma’s soul. When it comes to singing,
Salma has a flawless track record of success.
She also had a knack for doing the best in romantic numbers. The following song is a good example of her understanding
‘Faza bhi hai jawan jawan hawa bhi hai rawan rawan
suna raha hai ye sama suni suni see dastaan’.
She poured her heart out while recording this song. The outcome was simply superb:
‘Beetay huay lamhoan ki kasak saath to hogi.’
Salma is known for her nuance appreciation of music. The number below made her a glittering star on the horizon
‘Dil ki ye Aarzu hai koi dil ruba milay.’
The magnificence of her voice is all the more evident in the score below:
‘Ik baar milo hum say to sau baar milain gey hum jaisay kahan tum ko talab gaar milain gey.’
Being a singing star always gave Salma an edge over her competitors.
Her enormous success in ‘Nikah’, propelled her to sign in for more films like ‘Qasam paida karnay
walay ki,’ in 1984.
Salma’s controversial marriage to entrepreneur, Mehmud Sipra, ended in divorce. Salma never even recognized
the legality of her nuptials to Sipra.
In fact, Salma’s separation from Sipra left deep scars in its wake. Her popularity flagged for a while, until
the directors grew confidant that the marital storm had passed and again offered her the roles she deserved.
Salma is, indeed, very fortunate to have a strong mother figure in her corner. Their relationship has been most
distinctive and resonant with the passage of time.
Salma’s dedication was absolute in director B.R. Chopra’s film ‘Tawaif’, in 1985.
There is something in Salma’s face that transcends the ordinary.
Additionally, she possesses an extraordinary gift of audacity.
This explains in part, why so many dedicated people always have been so willing to further her singing-acting ambitions
then and now.
Coming back to films, she also worked in the 1988 movie, ‘Mahaveera’.
Salma’s first film in Pakistan was ‘Hum Aur Tum’. Salma-Javed Sheikh played the lead romantic
roles. Director, Hasan Askari, composer, Robin Ghosh.
Interestingly enough, Salma and Javed Sheikh paired together in quite a few films. In time, they developed so much
understanding, that it resulted in their marriage.
As luck would have it, their romance in real life did not last long.
Consequently, Salma’s marriage to Javed Sheikh, too, resulted in a divorce.
Reverting to the movies, Salma’s character in the film ‘Bazar-e-Husn’, came precariously close
to reality. She played her part with such emotional involvement that the public had rarely seen or heard anything quite like
it in years.
‘Bazar-e-Husn’, starring, Salma- Nadeem- Samina Peerzada, director, Javed Fazil. Salma and Nadeem appeared
in the lead romantic roles. While Samina Peerzada played the screen wife of Nadeem.
Salma was always ambitious and motivated. She owes much of her optimism, tenacity and admiral thoughts to her mother.
Furthermore, hardships came her way. She overcame them and excelled.
Hence, she holds a singular place in the hearts of her devoted fans.
After her commendable role in ‘Bazar-e-Husn’, Salma produced the film ‘Pati, Patni Aur Tawaif’,
in India, which was based on the story of ‘Bazar-e- Husn’.
Time passed by, and Salma started taking interest in Rehmat Khan, coach of world squash champion, Jehangir Khan.
She accompanied Rehmat on a show business tour.
The sightseeing inspired Rehmat so much that both Salma and Rehmat tied the knot.
Together they stayed in India for quite a while after their marriage. Salma also had a daughter with Rehmat Khan.
Talking of movies, reward cannot be separated from risk.
She was absolutely, unequivocally, as successful as an actress could be in the Indo- Pak cinema of the 1980s and
Below are more movies in which Salma acted:
‘Aag He Aag’, 1988, directed by Javed Fazil.
‘Taqat Ka Tufaan’, 1989, directed by Sangeeta, stars included Salma- Nadeem, Ghulam Mohyedin.
Salma may have understood better than most of us that great achievement always takes a toll.
Despite the toll she paid along the way, her singular appearance and etiquettes persists to this day.
Her visit to Pakistan serves as a cultural re-awakening for moviegoers.
Below are more success stories of Salma:
The films ‘Number One’, 1990, director, Saeed Ali Khan, Salma and Izhar Qazi played the lead roles.
‘Hum Aik Hain’, Director, Iqbal Kashmiri, Salma- Javed Sheikh played the lead roles.
‘Bhabhi Dee Chooriyaan’, director, Iqbal Kashmiri, Salma- Javed Sheikh appeared in lead roles.
Salma’s blue eyes sparkle when she talks about her life accomplishments.
She said that the admiration and gratitude of her adorers are endless. They have always counted on this time- honored
symbol of success.
More movies of Salma are listed below:
‘Damoar Intiqam’, Pushto film, director, Iqbal Kashmiri, Salma- Javed Sheikh played the lead roles.
‘Aik say barh kar aik’, director, Nazar Shabab.
‘Daagh’, director, Aslam Daar.
At the pinnacle of her fame, Salma worked in the film ‘Gehra Raaz’, in 1996.
Salma the star also served as an ecumenical bridge between the east and the west.
Below are movies, which did exude much hope:
The films ‘Ghareeboan Ka Badshah’, director, Pervez Malik.
‘Sheirni’, directed by Dawood Butt.
‘Da Bhabhi Bangri’ directed by Saeed Ali Khan. Pushto version of director Iqbal Kashmiri’s film
‘Bhabhi Dee Chooriyan’.
‘Qatiloan kay Qaatil’, director, M.A. Rasheed, Salma- Javed Sheikh played the lead roles.
Salma won the Nigar Award for best actress in the film ‘Bazar-e- Husn’, in 1988.
She has flashed moments of strength, defiance and passion both on and off- screen.
She keeps that trinity of emotions running all the time.
Pursuing tragedy or romance, she is equally bold and beautiful.
She moved boldly in matters of style as well.
Salma was more than up to the challenge for the movie- shoot of the films below:
‘Phoolan Devi’, director, Masood Butt, cast included Salma- Javed Sheikh.
‘Aakhri Shikaar’ director, Dawood Butt, stars included, Salma- Javed Sheikh.
‘Cobra’, director, Shahid Rana, Salma- Ghulam Mohyedin in the lead roles
Nasal voiced Salma produced her first music album ‘Abba and Agha’ along with her sister, Sabina.
Likewise, her new album, ‘Mein Nay Kholi Dil Ki Kitaab’ is worth mentioning.
Through long hours of practice, Salma made her mark in the music world.
Those who perform it best, like Salma, can be heard joyously.
In case of Salma, the melodies were easily learnt and applied.
From the poignancy of ‘Jalwa-e- gul ko bulbul bohut hai shama ko giryaye shaam’ to the grandeur of
Qateel Shifai’s ‘Ghunguru toot gaye’, Salma was successful in all instances.
Salma’s superior quality songs found their way to our brains by way of our hearts.
The following two examples will elaborate this point:
‘Chehra chupa liya hai kisi nay hijab may’.
‘Jahan Aaj hum milay hain.’
After a lapse in her singing career, she performed in the U.S.A. in the year 2003. It looked as if she had been
tested, she came out strong.
Salma sings what people want to hear. Where ever Salma set her foot, she earned plaudits from the public.
Salma’s three past live shows are mentioned below:
Musical-show-live-in-concert, Sunday, October 14, 2001, at Regal Constellation Hotel, Toronto.
Salma- Ghulam Abbas musical program was held at the Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento on Friday, July 25,
Salma’s musical concert was held at Chandni Restaurant, Fremont, Newark, San Francisco Bay Area, on Saturday,
August 9, 2003.
It seems that Salma’s career might have stood in the way of her personal happiness.
The trouble was that she was a victim of image.
Because she was promoted as a sort of siren and played all those romantic roles, people made the mistake of thinking
she was like that off the screen.
Such gross misconceptions disheartened Salma. She is reported to have said, ‘No one ever wanted to know the
real me at all’.
She also shared her notions regarding human values, relationship and passion.
Most of all, she talked about longings—persistent yearning or desire that cannot be fulfilled.
Salma Agha: Let
us not lose sight of our longings, for what are we without our longings.