Memorable moments in the life of an actress
Shabnam’s passion for acting started in her early teens. At the time she was taking dance lessons at the Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts and that was the only exposure she had to the world of performing arts. “When I joined films, it was indeed a turning point in my life, since very few women in the subcontinent were exposed to the silver screen then,” she says.
“When director Ehtesham christened me Shabnam, meaning dewdrops, (Shabnam’s original name is Jharna Boshak) and offered me the second lead in his first Urdu film Chanda, it was no doubt a memorable moment. Released in 1962, the film was a big hit at the box office. This was my first Urdu film as well,” says Shabnam. Shabnam’s immense acting potential fetched her powerful lead roles in films by ace directors of the time from then onwards.
“It was on the sets of Rajdhanir Bukey, Ehtesham’s debut film, that Robin (Ghosh) and I met for the first time. Ehtesham provided Robin with a break through his Urdu film Chanda, the lead roles in which were played by Rehman and myself.” From then on began Robin Ghosh’s illustrious career as a music composer. “Soon Chanda became the talk of the town and earned a super hit status. Bangalee folk tunes modified just enough to tantalize the ears, conquered the hearts of film enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the relationship between Robin and me developed fast and eventually we decided to get married in 1965. Thus began a new chapter in my life,” said Shabnam.
“While I played the lead role in Aakhri Station in 1965, I enacted the role of a girl who’s psychologically unbalanced. I had only one line in the whole film. The scene was like this: I meet the lead male character in the film, played by Akbar, and I tell him, ‘Babu ektho biri dey na.’ Before I signed on the film, my associates and well-wishers repeatedly asked me to think twice before accepting the offer. I was at the peak of my career at that point. According to them, such a role could ruin my career. But till date, I believe, it was one of the most powerful roles that I have portrayed and it satisfied me as an artiste. And I consider that a turning point in my career. Contrary to what my friends believed, that role got me rave reviews and also my second prestigious Nigar award the same year,” says a beaming Shabnam.
The day our only son Ronny was born definitely changed my life altogether. Nothing can be compared to the joy it brought to our lives from that day onwards.
-With The Daily Star input