Happy birthday, Shakila!

What better way to launch a new year than with a post on one of my favourite actresses? That too on her birthday?

Yes, today, January 1, is the 78th birthday of the beautiful Shakila. Star of my all-time favourite ‘Bollywood noir’ suspense film, CID. Star of one of my favourite Shammi Kapoor films, China Town. Star of one of my favourite Muslim socials, Nakli Nawab. Luminously lovely. Friendly (as Edwina Lyons can probably testify). And a good actress.

Shakila in Nakli Nawab

And I’m lucky enough to have, for this occasion, a guest post, written by Shakila’s niece Tasneem Khan (daughter of Shakila’s sister Noor and the legendary Johnny Walker). Over to Tasneem:

Shakila, Noor and Nasreen are three beautiful sisters who were brought up by their Bua (aunt) as they had lost their parents at a very young age. Living in Mumbai proved to be difficult and led to a tough childhood growing up but, fate decides destiny as in 1950, Shakila Aunty got her first child artist role in the film Dastan. She portrayed actress Veena as a child.

Her debut role as an actress was in Guru Dutt’s film “Aar Paar” and I don’t need to say much about the film as her song “Babuji dheeray chalna” is ever so popular, even today. She worked with top notch directors like A.R. Kardar, Mehboob Khan and Guru Dutt. It was Mehboob Khan who first introduced her into movies.

Shakila in Ali Baba Aur Chaalees Chor

She has many melodious songs picturized on her which are enjoyed even today such as:

Shakila Aunty has over 50 films to her credit and was lucky to have worked with many fantastic top actors such as Chandrashekhar, Shammi Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Manoj Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt, Pradeep Kumar, Jairaj, Vijay Anand and last but not the least, her most favorite co-artist/brother-in-law, Johnny Walker!

In 1963 she walked away from the lime light to retire and settle down. She has faced turbulent ups & downs in her life and has bravely faced them. To this day, she is as beautiful and gracious as she ever was in her yesteryears. Shakila Aunty is extremely loving, stylish and elegant in her lifestyle. Today, when she is recognized, she is really happy and appreciates the fact that “aaj bhi log mujhe pehchantey hain”.

Shakila, now

Shakila Aunty has moved with the times but never lost touch with her friends – Nimmi, Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rehman, Jabeen, Nanda, Shyama, Azra, etc. She visits them and keeps in touch. Shakila Aunty for me is a sweetheart. She is ever so pretty, loving, caring and wins you with her beautiful smile. Love you Shakila Aunty!

Text and Shakila photograph ©Tasneem Khan

P.S. From Dustedoff, again: Happy birthday, Shakila, and happy New Year. I love you, too!

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64 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Shakila!

  1. The good thing about hosting a blog is that I can grab the privilege of being the first commenter on this post to wish Shakila a very, very happy birthday! Aap jiyein hazaaron saal, saal ke din hon pachaas hazaar. :-)

    As it so happens, my film ‘connection’ with Shakila is actually my oldest such connection – CID was the first Hindi film I remember having watched. Till now, I vividly recall that climactic hospital room scene. Over the years (till I rewatched CID as a teenager) I had forgotten all about the girl in the bed – all I remembered was the girl sitting beside her. In fact, I still recall that when the villain sneaked into the room, it was Shakila I was scared for, not Waheeda Rehman!

    • Dustedoff,

      Would you be kind enough to pass this message to our dear friends Shkila and her beautiful sister Nasrin that this is Khalil Nouri.
      I was in their house with my parents then Bombay now Mumbai in 1968.
      Indeed, I have fond memories of that few days we were in Bombay with them.
      We were on our way driving from Bombay to Kabul.
      We flew from Jakarta and made the trip with our car which was shipped to Bombay.

      My email is khalil.nouri@nwscinc.org

      Please tell them I am writing a book about my grandfather and I had to do an inquiry to mention our dear Shakila and Nasrin.

      Here is the link to my book.

      http://khalilnouri.com/Home_Page.html

  2. Madhu ji,

    Wish you,Tasneem and all our friends here A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR-2013.

    Thanks for inviting Tasneem ji to write about my fav actress SHAKILA ji.

    Shakila,even today,looks very gracious and enchanting.

    She would have got more opportunities with leading actors of her times,if she had not chosen to work more with actors like Mahipal and wasted her time with fantasy,costume and stunt films,which actually became watchable with her presence !

    -Arunkumar Deshmukh

    • Arunji, you are absolutely right about Shakila making even not-so-good films watchable by her mere presence! I began watching Ali Baba aur Chaalees Chor with some qualms because it starred Mahipal (not one of my favourites), and because most Hindi fantasy/historical films aren’t anything to write home about. And I was pleasantly surprised, because it was really quite watchable – and Shakila was absolutely wonderful in it.

  3. A very happy new year and a happy birthday to Shakilaji and her family. Thank you Madhu for providing the platform for this post.

    ‘Aankhon hi aankhon mein ishara ho gaya’ is of course part of my all time favorite list. Two other songs – not that famous – that I really like are ‘Kyun uda jata hai aanchal’ in which she looks stunning in a black sari, and ‘Raat chup hai chandni khamosh hai’ from ‘Ustadon ke ustaad.’ The second one has a beautiful ambience and I am surprised it is not better known.

    Best wishes once more.

  4. Happy birth day shakilaji. I still remember the way you walked for the tune ” lekhe pehela pehala pyar” Dev following you. Can some body write about ‘Sheila ramani ‘ contemporary of shakilaji .

    • Epstein, I remember watching one of the songs from Taxi Driver (I think it was Dil se milaake dil pyaar kijiye) some months back on Youtube. One of the people who’d commented had said that Sheila Ramani was his grandmother. Now if he’d be willing to write a guest post for me, I’d be more than happy to host it here!

      Want to do some investigating on my behalf? ;-)

  5. Madhulika, this is a very important blog post. Shakila was one of the most beautiful women on the Hindi screen and to have her niece write a piece on her on her birthday is such a lovely gesture on your part. My first memory of Shakila is seeing her in the film ‘Reshmi Rumaal’ opposite Manoj Kumar. I love that song “Gardish mein ho taare, na ghabrana pyaare”. Thank you for this post, Madhulika. Thanks to Tasneem for writing about her aunt. And happy new year.

    • Happy New Year to you too, Hansda!

      I watched Reshmi Roomaal too many years ago to remember much of it, though I do remember Gardish mein hon taare and another, much lovelier one (see my next post)…

  6. We all love you Shakilaji, Happy Birthday and New Year, and may you have many many more.

    DO, this is indeed a wonderful post to start the new year with. Thank you Tasneemji for writing this and for the beautiful latest photo. We all are so interested in knowing what the stars, of films from the era we love and talk about here, are doing and look like now.

    My image of Shakila is of her singing ai mere dile nadaan because as a child I remembered the scene from Tower House, where she swallows a piece of paper with important information which she didn’t want the villain to lay her hands on – and wondered what it tasted like (was tempted to try myself several times, but it looked so unappetizing)
    The other image (also from childhood) is of her singing aankhon hi aankhon mein from CID – because Dev Anand throws a pebble and sinks her paper boat just before the song, and I was very disappointed to see it sink – it looked so well sailing. :-D

    Thank you once again, Tasneemji, and DO for this lovely post and the memories it brought back.

    • I’m glad you liked this, pacifist. I simply love Shakila – always have – so I was very keen that Tasneem should write about her. I thought this was such a lovely little tribute to one of Hindi cinema’s most beautiful actresses. And, as that recent photo shows, she has aged really well. There’s a very fresh, natural-ness to her beauty.

      I love your memories of Shakila onscreen. My childhood memories of her are limited to the hospital scene in CID, and the song Aankhon hi aankhon mein. :-)

  7. SO wonderful to read about Shakila, especially when it is a write-up by her own family.

    I like Shakila a lot – I really need to see more movies of hers. I do remember her from CID, Shriman Satyawadi, China Town though. She had such striking features – and, looking at the picture posted here, still seems to be just as striking.

    Wish her a very happy birthday and a happy new year too.

    Thanks for this post, Tasneemji. And thanks for hosting this, Madhu.

    • You’re very welcome, Raja. We have Tasneem to thank for being kind enough to share this with us!

      Shakila is great fun in Ali Baba aur Chaalees Chor – she has a very strong, resourceful character in that – the film should have been called Marjina aur Chalees Chor as far as I’m concerned.

  8. I must say Shakila is every bit as beautiful still. She looks elegant and at peace with herself.

    Tasneem, thank you so much for writing about her. I am going to listen to all those songs you have listed and think about this beautiful actress. Happy Birthday to Shakila!

    Madhu, what a beautiful post to start the year with. :)

  9. Wooooo! Oh my gosh I loved her in C.I.D. Shakila was so so so cute and funny when Dev followed her all the way to her house. I still remember the dialogue, when Dev says, “Can I get a glass of water?”
    And she goes, “Wait for my father to come, let alone water, you’ll get sherbet too!” Sherrrrbetttttt! :D

  10. Happy Birthday, Shakila. Count me in as another person who really enjoyed watching her films. Loved her in China Town and CID obviously, but also quite enjoyed seeing her in Ustadon ke Ustad and Shriman Satyawadi.

    Thank you, Tasneem, for sharing your reminiscences of your aunt with us, and for that photograph. A big thanks to you too, Madhu, for providing her with the platform to do so.

    Happy New Year to all of you! Hope you have a wonderful, wonderful year.

    • And a very, very happy 2013 to you too, Anu!

      I must see Ustaadon ke Ustaad – haven’t got around to even trying to find the VCD or DVD yet. She looks so lovely in a windswept way in Sau baar janam lenge that I’d watch the film just for that song.

  11. Happy New Year, Madhu! What a lovely note and artist to start off the year with. Thank you, Tasneemji for sharing your aunt with us.

    Shakila is a great favorite of my husband so I’ve had the pleasure of watching her in a number of movies from “Aaghosh” to “Ustadon ke Ustad.” And now I’m off to listen to “zulfon ki ghata lekar sawan ki pari aayi…”

  12. What a pleasure to see Shakila’s present day photo. Haven’t really seen any before. She was my father’s favourite heroine, and so I always watched with curiosity, whenever I caught a glimpse of her.

    • Yes, the recent photo of Shakila’s was a real bonus for me. I haven’t seen any photos of her since her days as a film heroine, so it was a pleasure to see that she still looks so lovely.

  13. I was a Dancer in the Films from round about 1957 to 1967 before I left India for permanent settlement in the UK I had the pleasure of meeting & speaking with the Star that will never ever be forgotten because of Her Acting but more so because of Her Fantastic Personality! I had got closer to Shakila especially in Shriman Satyawadi when I danced with Mehmood in a Song with a Group of Dancers & again with Abe (Dance Partner) in a Song of Raj Kapoors’ & consider Myself one of the luckiest ones ever! Loved Her to bits & Love Her to this day Not one that can be ever forgotten easily A real Sweetheart!!!

    • She gave you a signed photograph of hers too, didn’t she, Edwina? I remembered that from the guest post Tom had done for you. It had touched me then, because it sounded like such a pleasant change from the starry airs of most others. Shakila must be a truly sweet person, beautiful on the inside (where it really matters!)

      Here’s the song from Shriman Satyawadi where you’re there, along with Abe Cohen, Shakila, and Raj Kapoor:

      Two very lovely ladies. :-)

      • Actually I was thinking of that post by Tom, where Edwina spoke of Shakila in such glowing terms. That’s when my appreciation of Shakila grew even more by leaps and bounds.

        • Same here, pacifist! Reading that made me like Shakila much more than I already did (which was in any case a lot). Anyobdy so unassuming and sweet, despite being a star, totally gets my vote.

          • Thanks Madhu! Found it hard to get into this but have seen it humpteen times before now so know what it is all about To be sitting beside Shakila as Her Companion here is more than I could have wished for & to let Her now see just what I mean by it Never thought over 50yrs later We would be discussing it or watching it here all because You made that possible for us! Your a Gem!
            Shakila I sincerely hope that You remember Me as much as I remember You Dear! Take care of Yourself Sweetness!

  14. A sincere Thanks & Happy New Year to Madhu & to everyone for their great comments & good wishes for Shakila Aunty. She was really touched & it made her birthday & New Year extra special after reading all the comments!! Thanks Edwina ,you brought back fond memories—said Shakila Aunty.
    Shukriya,

    • Thank you so much for writing this post, Tasneem! I’m really grateful to you that you gave so many of Shakila’s fans an opportunity to tell her how much we appreciate her.

  15. Actually I did complete a comment here but it just vanished so I will repeat You are right Madhu about the signed Photograph & the Photograph was also given to Me by My Shakila & is safely in an Album for keeps! Happy New Year to You too Tasneem & Shakila & Your Loved Ones Give Shakila on My Behalf a Big Kiss & Hug & tell Her that those days were the best & will never return but the Beautiful Memories will never fade away I will always Love Her!
    Shukriya
    Edwina

  16. A belated Happy New Year to all of you, and a belated happy birthday to Shakila. When I think of ‘impish’, I think of Shakila. Thank you Madhu and Tasneem for a great post. All songs mentioned here are my great favourites, especially Lagi chhute na ab to sanam (I love Chitragupta!). And I must add, Edwina’s dance in the two clippings you have aded are fabulous.

  17. Shakila ji used to be one of my favourite heroines.She was pretty and her acting was super. She never indulged in overacting . One can safely go on watch a film which was a Shakila starrer and he was never disappointed. I have seen most of her films,C.I.D,Aar Paar,Ustadon ke Ustad etc.It’s nice to know that she is around and is in U.K . Please convey my regards to her and my belated birth day wishes. By the way which part of the U.K she lives in?

  18. you have missed most beautiful song from film ” Deihi junction” zalim zamane ne kitna
    satayaa hai rone lagi zindagi gam muskuraya hai picturised on shakila jee my childhood favourite. Thank you!

    • This post was, in any case, not a ‘Shakila songs’ one – that was the next post. But since the song isn’t listed there either, I’ll add the link here:

      Thank you. Beautiful song.

  19. i have dvd of cid. i dont know how many times have seen the movie. the scene i like most is shakilaji acting in the song of lekhe pehle pyar sad version. i pray god give her best of health & peaceful life

  20. Today I was suddenly searching about Shakilaji and find this blog. I am very very pleased to read about her well being and also seen her latest picture. What a lovely lady she is. I have very fond childhood memories of watching songs of China Town ‘Bar bar Dekho Hazar bar dekho’ her annoyed and angry look in this song still mesmerised me and coincidentally another very popular song of her in CID ‘leke pehla pehla pyar’ which has similar face expression. Too Good !! Thanks for writing about Shakilaji.

  21. She is a beauty par excellence coupled with matching grace. I agree she is by far the most beautiful heroine on Indian screen. She is very sweet & soothing to look at even in black & white. I can’t really take my eyes off when she is on screen. She is divine, eternal, natural beauty who mesmerizes me no end. ‘Bar bar dekho, hazar bar dekho’ (I follow suit; I can’t help either) is yet another fitting tribute to her rare beauty featuring with my all time favourite hero Shammi Kapoor – performing as usual with her subtle graceful moments. She wins my heart outright & for that matter millions of other’s as well. The scenes linger on & on & on in my memory. I always give myself a treat by switching on ‘bar bar dekho, hazar bar dekho’ – why not.
    I always wanted to know her whereabouts, her wellbeing. And day before yesterday I decided to search her on the net & was thankful to God once again to have discovered her here right on ‘Dustedoff’, hale & hearty, still charming notwithstanding her advanced age. I wish if I had any powers the first thing I would do would be to bring her back in her hey-days. She is the kind which reaffirms your faith in God. Thanks to Tanseem & Madhu for giving me exactly what I wanted to know about Shakila.
    I don’t know her exact birthday in January but Wish her many many many Happy Returns of the day, in Jan 2014. I pray to God from the bottom of my heart to fulfill all her wishes.
    I may not be lucky enough to meet her ever in person however strong my wishes are, but I do take solace in humming most of the time as also countless people like me must be doing… …”sau baar janam lenge, sau baar fana honge…”
    Swatantra Kumar
    p.s. I don’t know if Tanseem is following this blog any more or in case if anyone has established a link to Shakila or her family members please pass on my sentiments about her. I shall be grateful. Shakila, there is yet another fan in queue for you.

    • I echo your sentiments completely! Shakila was so luminously lovely, she was always a pleasure to watch – and it’s good to see that she’s aged so gracefully.

      (By the way, her birthday is on the 1st of January. I will pass on the link to this comment of yours to Tasneem, and ask her if she can to share it with her aunt. I’m sure they’ll be very happy. :-))

  22. Shakila Aunty sends her best wishes & many thanks to Swatantra Kumar Sethiji for his sincere & poetic taareef ! She was extremely touched & happy.I would also like to thank Madhulika & many other “chahnewaley” of Shakila Aunty for their comments.
    Regards-Tasneem

    • Hi Tanseem,
      You have really made my day conveying the precious sentiments expressed by Shakilaji for me. I knew my communications was passed on to you courtesy Madhu & as conveyed back by you Shakilaji was ‘ecstatic’ about it. I thought that was all I could hope for & the matter ended here; though I never wanted it to be. I have returned here after many days because I had hardly any hope that I will be able to establish a direct contact and or receive further response at all. It was more or less a final just in case type that I peeped in again. And it turned out to be unbelievable. Many many thanks to you Tanseem and Shakilaji for caring about my sentiments & last but not the least Madhu once again.
      I had always believed in miracles and this is nothing short of it. Suddenly out of blue I find a response and a beautiful one at that from none other than the beauty queen herself I adore, I cherish from the bottom of my heart. I hardly believed that my ‘paighaam’ will reach the destination in the first place & a response too will be delivered out of hundreds of fan mails must have been received by Shakilaji. Again, imagine this happens to be my first ever fan mail and that too not at a young age, when I was unable to contain my emotions and I simply let it out. This poetic ‘taareef’ is actually my heart speaking out loud. As a matter of fact I had cut down my ‘paighaam’ by more than half for the fear it was becoming a lengthy one. The response was like a cool breeze caressing me in hot summer. Oh, so far so sweet so fragrant.
      Incidentally, I would like to mention that I originally hail from Khandwa in MP the home town of legendary Kishore Kumar & Bros, while my parents/uncle from North West Pakistan initially settled there after partition. My elder brother (my paternal uncle’s eldest son) late Chiman Lal Sethi had told me once long time back that he knew Kishore Kumar & Johnny Walkerji well. Your father Johhny Walkerji my another favourite was really a great comedian, with his inimitable style, he was once inseparable part of formula films. His best ever ‘sir jo tera chakraye’ is one of my most favourite. Once when I asked my brother had he ever stayed with Kishore Kumar in Bombay on his occasional visits he said no but he added that he did stay with Johnny Walkerji once when he had visited Bombay. I am not sure whether you or your mother remembers it or not. I have a feeling Johnny Walkerji must have visited Khandwa on some occasion. Well that validates the popular adage “duniya bahut choti hai”. Look here there is another coincidence in the birthday of Shakilaji; the date of birth & the month (1st of Jan) too both coincide with the position she held on screen once i.e. # 1 & of course holds in my heart as well.
      I’m equally elated & touched receiving this communication & indebted to Shakilaji for her good wishes. I can’t stop myself now from dreaming about meeting Shakilaji at least once in my life “insha allah”. As I said I believe in miracles – who knows.
      Are you listening Shakilaji?
      My warmest regards & best ever wishes to Shakilaji & you.
      Swatantra kumar
      sksethi5@rediffmail.com

  23. joyeux et heureux anniversaire Mme shakila et que ton chemin soit parsemé de bonheur et de joie . J’ai toujours adoré shakila ,elle avait cette grâce et cette beauté qu’on ne voit plus de nos jours . Merci dustedoff pour ce forum que tu as créer pour notre charmante et grande actrice shakila.

    • You’re welcome! (I wish I could’ve replied in French, but my French is just too limited to allow that). Yes, Shakila is in a class by herself. Such a lovely, graceful, and very watchable actress.

  24. July 02, 2014

    A heartfelt appreciation for Shakila

    In my view, Shakila has been one of the most beautiful, graceful, charming and talented actress of her times in Indian cinema. Time has come when all those black and white films of fifties and sixties will be transformed into brilliant rich colors to see the real charm, glamor and beauty of Shakila.

    Shakila, may God continue to bestow upon you the very best of health, peace and everything good in life.
    Love.
    Dr Vinod Sharma
    (United Kingdom)
    e-mail: drvcsharma@hotmail.com

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