How Did Shyama Become A ‘Leading Lady’ In Hindi Films From Just Being A Side Actress?

The star actress also took some acting lessons from the legendary tragedy king - Dilip Kumar while working with him in Tarana.

Shyama is considered to be amongst the top female veteran stars of our Hindi Film Industry. Born as Khurshid Akhtar, the dynamic actress got her stage name Shyama, by filmmaker Vijay Bhatt. Known for her outstanding performances in critically acclaimed & super-hit films like Tarana, Aar Paar, Barsaat Ki Raat & many more, the talented artist has starred in more than 150 films of which she played the lead in 80. Shyama was honoured with a Filmfare Award For The Best Supporting Actress Category, for her Raj Kapoor & Meena Kumari co-starrer movie, Sharada.

In an exclusive throwback interview with Lehren, Shyama opened up about her arrival in the film industry, how she became a main lead star from a side-actress, acting, cinema & much more.

On being asked about her entry in the Hindi Film Industry, Shyama revealed that at the age of 9, while she was studying in the 5th standard, she along with her friends planned to visit actress Noor Jahan’s film set, where the producer of the movie, Shaukat Hussain offered the girls to work in his venture. Shyama got extremely excited and immediately agreed to collaborate as new faces were required for the film’s Qawwali sequence, which in turn was the first time ever moment in the industry, when female artists were featured in a Qawwali oriented scene. The then 9 years old girl was appreciated by star actress Noor Jahan on the same film set, which resulted in Shyama’s debut as a child artist.

Shyama stated that initially she started off with tiny roles in films which gradually transformed into side-roles. She worked in many acclaimed movies like Humlog, Tarana, Sazaa & others in her early phase as an actress. In 1950, the Punjabi Beauty was once called for a screen test by film producer S. Mukherjee, in which Shyama got selected with flying colours and earned herself a 3 – year contract and a monthly salary package. After her stellar success, the actress then transformed her duty as a side artist to a main lead actress and starred in big banner movies of which the major break was Shrimati ji. The star lady also mentioned about taking some acting lessons from the legendary tragedy king, Dilip Kumar, while working with him in Tarana.

Shyama expressed that she was never ever jealous of any of her co-actors & was always confident about her acting & performance. She also shared a funny incident relating to fame and stardom, as many a times, the actress was unable to go out for shopping because the fans used to gather around her car, in order to take a single glimpse of their favourite actress and once they even broke the glass of her car, the star revealed in a sarcastic manner…

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