|Died||21 April 2000 (aged 67)|
|S. M. Yousuf|
Nigar Sultana (21 June 1932 - 21 April 2000) was an Indian actress. She appeared in Aag (1948), Patanga (1949), Sheesh Mahal (1950), Mirza Ghalib (1954), Yahudi (1958), Do Kaliyaan (1968), etc. but she is most notably remembered for playing the role of Bahar begum in historical epic film Mughal-e-Azam (1960). She was the wife of filmmaker K. Asif. She died in May 2000, in Mumbai, India.
Nigar Sultana was born on June 21, 1932 in Hyderabad, India. She was the youngest daughter of a family of five. She has two brothers and two sisters. She spent her childhood in Hyderabad where her father held the rank of a Major in the Nizam's State Army.
She went to school for a while and later studied at home. She took part in a school drama on one occasion and ever after was keen on acting.
The first film Nigar ever saw was Hum Tum Aur Woh (1938). She was so utterly thrilled by it that when Jagdish Sethi, a friend of her father's, offered her the lead in a film he was making with Mohan Bhavnani, she took it on the spot.
She entered the films with the 1946 film Rangbhoomi. Raj Kapoor's Aag (1948) was her first big break to Bollywood. She played the character role of 'Nirmala' which was equally appreciated by critics and audience. After that she played character roles in a number of films.
Her first big picture was Shikayat (1948), made in Poona; then came Bela (1947), a Ranjit production, and after that many more in which she played leading roles. She played the role of the court dancer 'Bahar' who is jealous of the love of Madhubala and Dilip Kumar in the magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam. The song 'Teri Mehfil Mein' sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum was picturised on her. Her other films included Dara (1953) and Khyber.
Patanga (1949), Dil ki Basti (1949), Sheesh Mahal (1950), Khel (1950), Daman (1951), Anand Bhavan (1953), Mirza Ghalib (1954), Tankhah (1956), Durgesh Nandini (1956), and Yahudi (1958) are among her noted movies. She was most active during the 1950s and appeared in only lesser number of movies later. Jumbish: A Movement - The Movie in 1986 was her last bollywood film.
Nigar Sultana married two times. Her first marriage was with producer/director S.M. Yousuf, who migrated to Pakistan in the late 1950s. No children were born of this marriage. In the early 1950s, she was linked with Pakistani actor Darpan Kumar, who was also a Hyderabadi like her. On 13 June 1954, Nigar Sultana held a press conference specifically to deny reports that she had married the Pakistani actor.
Later, Nigar Sultana married K. Asif, producer-director of Mughal-e-Azam (1960). She became his third wife, and one of his previous wives was concurrently married to him. It remains legal in India for a Muslim man to have up to four wives concurrently. Nigar Sultana had a frosty relationship with her senior co-wife, Akhtar Asif, who incidentally was a sister of superstar Dilip Kumar, Nigar's co-star in K. Asis's own magnum opus, Mughal-e-Azam. K. Asif's second wife had been Sitara Devi, but Asif had divorced her within a few months of marriage and therefore Nigar Sultana never shared her husband with Sitara. Sitara Devi had previously been married to the actor Nazir Ahmed Khan, who was both the first cousin and the brother-in-law of K. Asif. Nazir Ahmed Khan's first wife, Sikandar Begum, was his first cousin and she was the sister of K. Asif.
Nigar Sultana and K. Asif became the parents of one daughter, the small-time actress Heena Kausar. Heena Kausar, who appeared in bit roles in a large number of forgettable films, finally attained fame by marrying the dreaded underworld don Iqbal Mirchi, a close associate of India's most wanted criminal, Dawood Ibrahim. Among other crimes, Iqbal Mirchi is said to have laundered Dawood Ibrahim's ill-gotten wealth through his "successful business ventures."
Two forgotten bit-role actresses of the 1950s, namely Chitra (born Afsar-un-nisa) and Paras (born Yusuf-un-nisa) are Nigar Sultana's nieces.
She died on April 21, 2000 in Mumbai, India.