During the period of 1950s, Begum Para was one of the most daring and glamorous actresses in the Bollywood film industry. Along with being great, she was also an outstanding actress who acted, among others, in movies like Neel Kamal (1947), Jharna (1948), and Kar Bhala (1956). Also at that period, her beauty was so incomparable that she would make men kneel on their knees. Her fashion and fervour made her a significant representation of style and also gave her a cult image for that time.
Though it’s quite common today to shoot a bold photoshoot, it was during the 1950s. In that period, when hot scenes or wearing any showing too much of your skin were not even known to actresses, Begum Para surprised everyone. In the year 1951, she took part in an alluring photoshoot for Life Magazine and that altered lot of conservative Indians’ mindsets.
Additionally, except for her bold photographs and photoshoots, we’ll even tell you slightly about her. To begin with, Bollywood was her family, quite literally.
Begum Para was the wife of Dilip Kumar’s brother, named Nasir Khan. Her niece, Rukhsana Sultana, is the mother of Amrita Singh, who is the ex-wife of Saif Ali Khan and also the niece of Khushwant Singh.
She hated tobacco but preferred whiskey, instead. This is quite ironic because she could be witnessed puffing away in her popular photoshoot. Have a look at the swag and fag!
Begum Para was quite ahead of her period and was popular for photographs portraying her boldness and her cleavage.
“I used to keep a glass of whisky proudly, unlike other actresses who mixed colas of whisky and pretended they were teetotallers,” she said once.
Nargis, Geeta Bali, Nadira, Shyama, and Nilofer were good friends with Para. At different events, these actresses used to hang out together.
She provided the Life Magazine photoshoot with a few of the most glamorous and sultry poses and also decked up in a white sari and puffed cigarettes.
She came to be regarded as the first Bollywood bomb and pin-up girl post this magazine shoot.
This photo shoot was done by a popular photographer named James Burke, of that period. He was behind that queen’s glamorous, intimate, bold and sensuous photos.
In the year 1956, she appeared in her very last movie named Kar Bhala.
But the glamorous actress made come back to the big screen for the last time as Sonam Kapoor’s grandmother in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie Saawariya in the year 2007. Para worked with Salman Khan in Saawariya with whom she shared a special bond. She said,
“I’ve known him since childhood. I’m very friendly with his father Salim Saab. I was apprehensive about how today’s generation behaves. When I expressed my misgivings to Sanjay Bhansali he assured me. ‘Just come and see how we work.’ And he was right. They all gave me so much love and respect. They were so sweet. Of course, technically cinema has advanced. But people are still the same. Jab insaan door rehta hai to pataa nahin kya-kya sochta hai. But after my return before the camera I felt I had never gone away.”
The bold actress left the world on 9 December 2008 at the age of 81.
We will leave you here with few pictures of the boldest photoshoot in India in the 1950s, and we desire that every woman was as audacious, as well as mesmerizing as she was!