Author Stumbles on a treasure trove of Vintage Bollywood photos in her aunt’s belongings

Tabassum fan mail: In the era of Instagram tags and Tweets, which has made celebrities extremely accessible, a woman discovered a treasure trove of handwritten fan-mails from the 60s and 70s.

Once upon a time, when trolling actors on the comment section wasn’t the norm, fans commonly penned fan mails to reach out to their favourites. Unknowingly, writer Sam Jawed unboxed a priceless collection of vintage photographs. 

The Twitter user has dusted off a rare collection of photographs and letters among the belongings of her deceased aunt. Ms Jawed spread the precious stack of mails and autographed pictures of yesteryear actors on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, for the world to view. 

Making her aunt’s years of collection public, she wrote, “My aunt passed away many years ago. Among her belongings was an old album that she was very fond of. The album remained lost for many years, buried somewhere in a storeroom in the basement. It was found again recently during a clean-up.”

Jawed’s aunt, who lived in a village was enamoured by film stars, and her collection of letters that has been salvaged is solid evidence of her admiration.

Ms Jawed’s aunt was identified as Mehralansa Najma, fondly known as Najma, by the BBC

“As a young girl growing up in a small town in 1950s and 60s, she was completely enamoured by movies. Much to the disapproval of her mother, she spent her free time writing fan mail to movie stars and over a time, built up quite a collection of autographed pictures and letters,” a tweet shared by Jawed read. 

Among the many letters that her aunt received as a response, she discovered a “personal” handwritten letter addressed to her aunt, penned by the veteran actor Tabassum. Although Ms Jawed unveiled a few mails, she kept this particular letter to herself and declared that she would only share it with the actor. 

Sharing a picture of Tabassum from 1962, she wrote in a tweet, “She must have been really young at the time. There is a personal hand-written letter from her as well which I’m not sharing here but will be happy to share with @tabassumgovil if she wants.”

And her wish reached the actor, who responded to the tweet and expressed her desire to read the fan letter she wrote when she was 16 or 17. 

“Lovely!! I think I was 16 or 17 please DM me the fan letter I send her,” Tabassum wrote in response to Jawed’s tweet. 

Tabassum made her Hindi film debut as a child actor in 1947 with Nargis. She made her Hindi film debut as a child actor in 1947 with Nargis. After featuring in films such as Badi Behen, Deedar and Baiju Bawra, she ventured into television. She hosted the first talk show of Indian television, Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan, which ran for 21 years which first aired in 1972.

Other than the Mughal-e-Azam actor, Jawed also autographed photos and mails from Saira Banu, Shammi Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Asha Parekh, Dharmendra, Sadhana and many more.


Actor Sunil Dutt penned quite a lengthy letter written in Urdu.

Photos show that Dharmendra also sent her a letter written in Hindi.

Among the letters, there was also a handwritten letter from actor Raaj Kumar.

Here are the photos shared on Twitter from the vintage collection: