Suraiya (Suraiya Suraiya)


Legendary Indian Actress. Born Suraiya Jamal Sheikh , she debuted as a child star with Taj Mahal (1941). She was effectively launched as a singing star in Bombay Talkies “Humaari Baat” (1943). She made her presence felt in perhaps India’s first multi-starrer K.Asif’s “Phool” (1944) and played strong supporting roles in Mehboob Khan’s Anmol “Ghadi (1946) and Munawar Sultana in “Dard” (1947). She was fortunate to star opposite the legendary K.L. Saigal in three of his later films. 1948-49 saw her rise to her peak. With “Pyar ki Jeet” (1948), “Badi Bahen” (1949) and “Dillagi” (1949) she became the highest paid female star of her time. Suraiya generated hysteria comparable only to Rajesh Khanna in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Shop owners would down their shutters to see her starrers on the first day itself, crowds would flow outside her residence just to get a glimpse of her and actor Dharmendra recalls going to see “Dillagi” 40 times. Her songs from her films were hummed in every nook and corner of the country. However Suraiya’s reign at the top was brief. She suffered both professionally and personally. Her films started flopping one after another in the 1950s. She had got involved with Dev Anand and the two of them did six films together (1948-51) but her strict grandmother put her foot down and the affair and their partnership ended. The made a short-lived comeback with “Waaris” (1954) and “Mirza Ghalib” (1954). Which saw her finest dramatic performance as she made alive and vivid the role of the married Ghalib’s lover, a courtesan. Her singing is till date regarded as the definitive Ghalib. In fact India’s then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru paid her the ultimate compliment by telling her she had brought Mirza Ghalib to life. Unfortunately her work thereafter remained largely undistinguished. “Shama” (1961) was a musical hit and her last film was “Rustom Sohrab” (1963). After that Suraiya preferred to stay away from the spotlight and was rarely seen except at select film functions, leading her to be known as the Garbo of India. She died on January 31, 2004 following a brief illness. (bio by: Noni)


  • June, 15, 1929


  • January, 01, 2004


  • Badakabarastan
  • Maharashtra
  • India

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