Zubeida – Actress – 1916 - 1936

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Zubeida (1911-90)

The princess who became a star - Zubeida was the daughter of the Nawab of Sachin and Fatma Begum, actress and India's first lady director! One of Zubeida's sisters, Sultana, was a star while the other, Shahzadi, appeared in films as a teenager.

She commenced her acting career at Kohinoor Studios, at the age of 12. Her finest work was for Kohinoor and Laxmi studios, although she did freelance with other studios.

She honed the role of the `pure' courtesan to perfection. Her limpid posture and soft uncertain voice were traditions continued by Meena Kumari in Pakeezah (1971). Veer Abhimanyu (1922), Gul-e-Bakavali (1924), Indrasabha (1925) and the films directed by her mother - Bulbul-e-Paristan (1926), Heer Ranjha (1928) and Milan Dinar -- are her finest performances. Zubeida played the lead in India's first sound film Alam Ara (1931).

In 1934 Zubeida, together with Nanubhai Vakil, launched Mahalakshmi Cinetone.

By the late 30s, at the height of her stardom, she had retired, appearing in the rare film thereafter

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