7 Things You Didn’t Know About Pakistani Cinema Icon, Shamim Ara

7 Things You Didn't Know About Pakistani Cinema Icon, Shamim Ara

Pakistani cinema was introduced to the world in 1947. There were only four films made that year, but Pakistani cinema has grown exponentially since then. Pakistani filmmakers have tried to create a Pakistani identity for their films by including Urdu language dialogue, Islamic moral codes, and defining Pakistani culture through cinematic imagery.

There are still many directors who are trying to find the perfect balance between Pakistani culture and global standards. One of these directors is Shamim Ara, who has been called “the queen of Pakistani cinema” because she helped establish female power in film making during a time when women weren’t respected in society. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Shamim Ara and her work:.

Early Life

Shamim Ara was born on October 9, 1930 in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the daughter of a Parsi father and a Kashmiri mother. Her family moved to Mumbai, India when she was five years old and Ara studied at the Jai Hind College in Bombay (now Mumbai).

Ara’s father died when she was six years old and her mother remarried two years later.

She has two sisters named Parveen and Anisah.

Ara got married to producer-director Hameed Kashmiri in 1951 and had three children with him: Shama, Saba, and Sheema.

Her husband died of cancer in 1979 and Shamim did not remarry afterwards.

She did not receive any formal education after studying at the Jai Hind College because she wanted to work as soon as possible.


1) Shamim Ara is the first woman to direct a film in Pakistan.

2) She was born on April 12, 1934 and died on January 29, 2011.

3) She was a pioneer in Pakistani cinema who helped redefine the role of women by directing films with lead female characters.

4) Her first film as a director was “Dahleez” which came out in 1965. In this film, she demonstrated her ability as a director by creating feminist themes for women’s roles in society.

5) She directed many more films throughout her career, but her best known work is “Anjuman” from 1973 which won an award at Cannes Film Festival for Best Picture.

6) At the time of her death, Shamim Ara had over 70 films to her name and was Pakistan’s most prolific female director ever.

actress shamim ara

Later Career

As an actress, Shamim Ara’s roles were primarily comedic. She had more than 30 films to her credit and she was one of the most prolific actresses of her time. Few women in Pakistan had careers in cinema at that time, so Shamim Ara’s success is all the more significant.

Shamim Ara acted in her last film in 1978. Her later career was largely behind the scenes, where she worked as a producer, writer and director.

First Film

Shamim Ara’s first film was a Bollywood style musical called Hum Tum Aur Woh.

Best Known For

Shamim Ara is best known for her work on Pakistani television and in the Pakistani film industry. She was one of the first female directors in Pakistan and is often credited with the use of feminist themes in Pakistani cinema.

shamim ara pakistani actress

Final Films

Shamim Ara was known for her work in female-centric films, but she only made four films before she died. Her final film, Shabana (released in 1972) was about a woman who is forced to marry an older man. The film was released after her death and it won the Nigar Award for best film.

Legacy and Influence

Shamim Ara was born in 1943. Her family migrated to Pakistan from Bangladesh after Partition. She began her career as a child actress, but eventually transitioned to being a director and producer of films.

Despite her success in the film industry, Shamim Ara had to fight for respect from the public because of the low status of women in Pakistani society at the time.

She faced sexism in the workplace and was often blamed for financial losses in films that she produced. However, her influence on Pakistani cinema is undeniable. Shamim Ara helped establish female power in film making during a time when women weren’t respected in society.

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