Remembering yesteryear actress, the gorgeous Shyama on her 81st birthday.
Shyama was one of the most beautiful actresses to have graced the screen. She was charming, gorgeous, lively, expressive and there was something very refreshing about her.
Shyama, born Khurshid Akhtar, began her career as an actress starting out as a 9 or 10-year-old in the chorus of the first all-female qawali in Indian cinema, “Aahen Na Bhari, Shikwe Na Kiye”, in the Noor Jehan starrer, ‘Zeenat’ (1945).
By 1949 she began getting lead roles while still in her early teens. Some of her important films include Bimal Roy’s Maa (1952), Shrimatiji (1952), Guru Dutt’s Aar Paar (1954), Chhoomantar (1956), Bhai Bhai (1956), Sharada (1957), for which she received the Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actress, Chandan (1958), Duniya Jhukti Hai (1960) and Barsaat ki Raat (1960) amongst others.
She particularly made a great pairing with Johnny Walker and her exuberance and liveliness made her the perfect actress to give lip sync to Geeta Dutt’s unique style of singing; perhaps maximum Geeta Dutt songs have been picturized on her. Post mid-1960s, following marriage to ace cinematographer Fali Mistry and 3 children later, as she grew older and gained weight, she switched over to character roles often being cast as the sinister brothel madam or kothewali with her last film being JP Dutta’s Hathyar (1989).
She was easily the busiest of all actresses in the 1950s. She acted in all types of films in all sorts of roles — heroine, second lead and vamp, doing close to 200 films.