Who was Khursheed Shahid? The veteran Pakistani actor passed away June 27 in Lahore owing to health complications related to old age. A pioneering television figure in the country with PTV, she was 95 years old when she died peacefully in her sleep. Her son, actor Salman Shahid confirmed the news.
Among Begum Khursheed Shahid’s best-known works are Uncle Urfi, Sona Chandi and Parchaiyan. Her death has elicited an outpouring of grief and tributes as fans and industry colleagues mourn the loss of an acting giant.
Shahid’s skill range was expansive, covering bases from radio to television to theatre. Her upright personality and powerful character defined her, cementing her place as one of the Pakistan entertainment industry’s most dependable figures. Much too late in her career, she was honoured with the Pride of Performance award, the country’s highest literary recognition.
Tributes pour in for Begum Khursheed Shahid:
May ALLAH rest Salman Shahid's mother Veteran actress Begum Khursheed Shahid sehba's soul in peace and give her family enough strength to cope with this loss. Ameen #SonaChandi #UncleUrfi #ZairZabarPesh #Parchaiyan pic.twitter.com/72MGfD5tdr
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) June 28, 2021
RIP Begum Khursheed Shahid. One of our finest. Powerhouse of talent. A grand Lady we all admired n loved. She will be remembered n missed forever for all her great roles onTV n theatre and her grace n unique style
— Samina Peerzada (@SaminaSays) June 27, 2021
پاکستان کے ڈراموں کے سنہری دور کی نمائندہ بیگم خورشید شاہد نوے سال کی عمر میں وفات پاگئیں انا للہ و انا الیہ راجعون۔
مرحومہ معروف صداکار اور اداکارہ تھیں اور ان سے شادی کرنے کے لیے آل انڈیا ریڈیو کے ڈائریکٹر جگل کشور مہرا مسلمان ہوگئے تھے اللہ تعالی جوار رحمت میں جگہ دے آمین ۔ pic.twitter.com/fj3WwG9DuA
— Dr. Meraj Siddiqui (@DrMerajS) June 27, 2021
Looking At Who Was Khursheed Shahid And Her Trailblazing Life
Born in undivided India, Begum Khursheed Shahid took an early interest in theatre and the arts. She began performing in Delhi with her siblings, inspired by Ram Leela events and the city’s thriving cultural scene.
“Unlike others, my father was a liberal man and he believed education for girls was a must. He always supported me. We were four sisters and one brother. I think I was the only Muslim girl singing at that time,” she said in an interview, as quoted in Dawn.
Under the guidance of Aruna Asif Ali, Shahid found a spot with All India Radio. After Partition, the family shifted to Lahore where Shahid continued her broadcast singing stint with Radio Pakistan. From Roshan Ara Begam to Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Saadat Hasan Manto, Shahid knew and moved about in the most elite Pakistani social circles.
As PTV (Pakistan Television Corporation), took shape in Lahore, Shahid emerged as one of the earliest faces to be featured, with the comedy Rus Malai. “To this day, I believe I gave my best years to PTV, entering as a youth and leaving it as an aged woman,” she added in her interview.
She married Saleem Shahid, a producer from Sialkot. He moved to London for the BBC in the 1960s and never returned. Begum Khursheed Shahid, undivorced but separated, didn’t marry again.
Image: Naya Daur