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Bibbo (actress)

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File:Bibbo (1940).jpg Bibbo_(1940).jpg
Bibbo in Sneh Bandhan (1940)
BornIshrat Sultana
1906 (1906)
Delhi, British India
💀DiedMay 25, 1972(1972-05-25) (aged 65–66)
Karachi, Sindh, PakistanMay 25, 1972(1972-05-25) (aged 65–66)
Burial placeKarachi
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
📆 Years active  1933–1947, 1950–1968
First female music director of Indian Cinema
👩 Spouse(s)Khalil Sardar

Bibbo (1906–1972)[1] was an Indian and Pakistani singer-actress working in Hindi/Urdu films. She acted in Indian cinema from 1933 to 1947 before moving to Pakistan, following Partition of India in 1947. She started her acting career with Ajanta Cinetone Ltd. in 1933, working with directors like M. D. Bhavnani and A. P. Kapoor. She was one of the top leading ladies of the 1930s along with actresses like Devika Rani, Durga Khote, Sulochana, Mehtab, Shanta Apte, Sabita Devi, Leela Desai and Naseem Banu.[2] She was referred to as "one of the most important female stars of the 1930s and 1940s".[3] Her fame had her featured in the lyrics of a popular song from the film Gharib Ke Lal (1939) sung by Mirza Musharraf and Kamla Karnataki, with music by Sagheer Asif and lyrics by Rafi Kashmiri. "Tujhe Bibbo Kahoon Ke Sulochana" (Should I call you Bibbo or Sulochana), where Sulochana referred to another popular actress of the time. This was the first time a song featuring famous actors was used in the lyrics of a film song.[4][5]

Bibbo became the first female music composer of Indian cinema, when she composed the music for Adal-e-Jahangir in 1934, a year before Jaddanbai, mother of actress Nargis, composed music for Talash-e-Haq (1935).[6] She was also the music director for a second film called Qazzak Ki Ladki (1937).[7][8]

She worked with actors like Master Nissar, Surendra and Kumar. She formed a popular working relationship with them. Her pairing with Surendra was especially well-liked with the pair giving several hits like Manmohan (1936), Jagirdar (1937), Gramaphone Singer (1938), Dynamite (1938) and Ladies Only (1939). Her first film was Rangila Rajput, followed by Mayajaal, both in 1933.[9] She worked in nearly thirty films as a lead actress in India from 1933 to 1947, shifting to character roles in later years, following her move to Pakistan. She won the Nigar Award for the best character actress for her role in the Pakistani film Zehr-e-Ishq (1958).[10]

Early life[edit]

Bibbo was born Ishrat to a famous singer and courtesan Hafeezan Bai of Delhi, and "belonged to the Ishratabad Chawari Bazar area of Delhi".[10] She was cited as being a famous singer from Delhi who came to Bombay to join films.[9][11] Bibbo was a trained singer with a "coarse husky quality" like Zohrabai Ambalewali and Shamshad Begum.[12]


In India[edit]

Bibbo's first recorded film was the successful Rangila Rajput (The Gay Cavalier) (1933),[13] directed by M. D. Bhavnani and starring Master Nissar, with popular music by B. S. Hoogan. Her second film that year for Ajanta was Mayajaal, a fantasy directed by Shanti L. Dave for Ajanta Cinetone Ltd., co-starring Master Nissar, P. Jairaj and Shahzadi, with music composed by B. S. Hoogan. Her acting was appreciated by the Hindi journalist Pitambar Jha, who predicted a bright future for her in his article in the Hindi magazine, Chitrapat 1934.[9]

In 1934, Bibbo acted in five films. Vasavdatta or the Shahi Gawaiya (The Royal Musician) was her third film. It was produced by Ajanta and directed by P. Y. Altekar, with B. Sohni and Jairaj as co-stars. The music was by B. S. Hoogan. The story revolved around King Udyan, who is obsessively in love with his wife, ignoring his kingdom in the process.[14] She was then cast in her fourth film, M. D. Bhavnani's Sair-E-Paristan, produced by Ajanta Cinetone Ltd. and co-starring P. Jairaj, Khalil Aftab, Master Nissar and W. M. Khan. A fantasy, the story was about three Princes falling in love with the same girl. The music was composed by B. S. Hoogan.[15]

It was in 1934, that Bibbo composed music for a film called Adal-e-Jehangir, thus becoming the first Indian female composer.[16] The Mill, also called Mazdoor was directed by M. D. Bhavnani (Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani), and starred Bibbo, who played the mill owner's daughter in the film with Motilal as the hero.[17] The film was controversial and was banned for a few years.

In 1936, she acted in Garib Parivar and Manmohan. She was cast by Mehboob Khan in Manmohan, a film made to compete with Calcutta's New Theatres Ltd famous film Devdas. Her co-star was Surendra and the film went on to become a commercial success with the songs becoming popular.

1937 saw her acting in four films, out of which Jagirdar, directed by Mehboob Khan and co-starring Surendra, was the most famous. The film was a "romantic melodrama", with Bibbo and Surendra playing actor Motilal's parents in the latter part.[18] Though made on a small budget, it went on to do big business commercially for Sagar Movietone.[19] She acted in, and once again composed music for the film Qazzak Ki Ladki, using the name Ishrat Sultana as composer. The film co-starred Surendra and was directed by Sultan Mirza and S. Varman for Rainbow Films.

1938 proved to be a successful year for her with all five films doing well at the box office. Watan, produced by Sagar Studios and directed by Mehboob Khan was a quasi-historical costume drama involving Tartars, with a nationalistic element. The film starred Kumar, Yakub and Maya Bannerjee with music by Anil Biswas.[20]

Gramaphone Singer (1938) and Dynamite (1938), had her pairing with Surendra again. Both films went on to become successful. Gramaphone Singer was a love triangle directed by V. C. Desai, which had Bibbo playing the other woman, with Prabha playing Surendra's wife.[21] Teen Sau Din Ke Baad, also called 300 Days And After, was a Sagar film directed by Sarvottam Badami. It had Motilal, Sabita Devi and Yakub starring with Bibbo. With music by Anil Biswas, the film went on to do well. Baburao Patel of Filmindia called it "easily the best picture to come out of Sagar".[22]

In 1939, Ladies Only co-starred Bibbo with Prabha, Sabita Devi and Surendra in a comedy film directed by Sarvottam Badami for Sagar Movietone. The music was composed by Anupam Ghatak. According to Filmindia editor Baburao Patel, Bibbo in her role "shines out with her vigorous performance".[23] Laxmi with Kumar, Maya, Gope, Jeevan and Indira was directed by Mohan Sinha, with music composed by Timir Baran. The Times Of India review quoted in Filmindia commented: "Bibbo is brilliant as the other woman and very nearly steals the picture with her wonderfully sympathetic role".[24]

Sneh Bandhan had Bibbo pairing with Navin Yagnik and E. Billimoria in a melodrama about love and sacrifice. Bibbo's acting was lauded with the reviewer commenting "Never before has she looked so charming and… never before has she acquitted herself so well in her work. She takes the complete burden of the drama and gives a beautiful performance throughout".[25]

Akela (1941) released in 1941, starred Bibbo with Mazhar Khan and E. Billimoria. The film was produced by Kikubhai Desai and directed by Pesi Karani. The film described as a sensible picture for the intelligentsia and the masses, was a big success commercially.[26]

In 1945 she acted in Zeenat, starring Noor Jehan, the film went on to become a big hit for Noor Jehan. It was directed by Shaukat Hussain Rizvi with music composed by Mir Saheb.[27] Pehli Nazar was another film in 1945 opposite Veena, Munawwar Sultana and Motilal. Directed by Mazhar Khan for Mazhar Art, it had music by Anil Biswas. Bibbo's last film in India was Pahela Pyar (First Love) (1947), directed by A. P. Kapoor for Sagar Movietone.

In Pakistan[edit]

Bibbo shifted to Pakistan following partition of India in 1947. She started working in films there as a character artist doing about twelve films from 1950 to 1966.

Her first film in Pakistan was Shammi (1950), a Punjabi picture directed by Munshi Dil. She co-starred with Shammi, Santosh and Ajmal. It had music composed by Master Inayat Hussain.

Dopatta (1952), was an Urdu film directed by Sibtain Fazli and produced by Aslam Lodhi. It starred Noor Jehan, Sudhir, Ajay Kumar and Yasmin along with Bibbo. The film was acclaimed as a big hit commercially and had music composed by Firoz Nizami, with songs sung by Noor Jehan.[28]

Zahr-e-Ishq was released in April 1958. Produced by Khurshid Anwar and Sultan Jilani under the banner of Select Pictures, it starred Musarrat Nazir, Habib, Yasmin, Neelo and Bibbo. The music was by Khurshid Anwar, with lyrics by Qateel Shifai. Hailed as an "excellent film" by the reviewer, it won Bibbo the Nigar Award for best character actress.[29]

Jhoomar is a 1959 film directed by Masud Pervez, with music composed Khurshid Anwar. Produced by Anwar for Noor Minar Pictures banner, it starred Musarrat Nazir, Sudhir and Laila.[30]

Ghunghat (1962), a suspense-thriller drama, was directed by Khurshid Anwar, who also wrote the story and composed the music. The cast included Nayyar Sultana, Santosh, Neelo, Laila and Bibbo.[31]

Bibbo acted in a few more films, with Fanoos (1963) and Ghalib being commendable from her acting point of view, though the films did not do well commercially. Her last cited film is Armaan (1966), directed by Parvez Malik, with music by Sohail Rana.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Bibbo was married by the end of the 1930s to Khalil Sardar, who directed her in Adal-e-Jahangir, for which she gave music. Following the marriage, they left Bombay and moved to Lahore, where they produced a film under the banner of Rainbow films, Qazzak Ki Ladki (1937), where she was also the music director. The film was a commercial failure and Bibbo finally returned to Bombay. Following Partition in 1947, Bibbo moved to Pakistan, where she worked as a character artiste.[10][32] According to Zulqarnain Shahid (The Weekly MAG, Pakistan) re-published in Cineplot, it was stated that Bibbo was married to Shahnawaz Bhutto, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's father.[10] In the June 1943 issue of Filmindia, Baburao Patel answered a query about Bibbo claiming she was "indeed married to Bhutto".[10][33]

The last days of Bibbo's life are claimed to have been lonely, with her life described as being "miserable and poverty stricken". She died on 25 May 1972.[10]


In India[edit]

Her films list:[34][35]

Year Film Director Co-stars Composer Studio
1933 Rangila Rajput a.k.a. The Gay Cavalier M. D. Bhavnani Master Nissar B. S. Hoogan Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1933 Mayajaal M. D. Bhavnani Master Nissar, P. Jairaj, Shahzadi B. S. Hoogan Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1934 Vasavdatta or the Shahi Gawaiya a.k.a. The Royal Musician P. Y. Altekar B. Sohni and Jairaj B. S. Hoogan Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1934 Sair-e-Paristan a.k.a. Shan-e-Khuda a.k.a. Journey Through the Land Of Fairies M. D. Bhavnani Master Nissar, Khalil, P. Jairaj B. S. Hoogan Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1934 The Mill a.k.a. Mazdoor M. D. Bhavnani Khalil, Navin Yagnik, Jairaj B. S. Hoogan Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1934 Dukhtare-Hind A. P. Kapoor Master Nissar, Tara, Navin Yagnik Jhande Khan Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1935 Pyar Ki Maar a.k.a. The Onslaught Of Love a.k.a. Queen's Wrath A. P. Kapoor Navin Yagnik, Gohar Karnataki, A. P. Kapoor B. S. Hoogan Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1936 Garib Parivar M. D. Bhavnani Khali, Ameena, Jairaj Ajanta Cinetone Ltd.
1936 Manmohan Mehboob Khan Surendra, Yakub, Ashalata Ashok Ghosh Sagar Movietone
1937 Jagirdar Mehboob Khan Surendra, Motilal, Yakub Anil Biswas Sagar
1937 Sagar Ka Sher a.k.a. Lion Of Sagar Yakub Yakub, David, Kayamali Pransukh M. Nayak Sagar
1937 Captain Kirti Kumar C. M. Luhar (Chimanlal Muljhibhoy Luhar) Motilal, Krishna Kumari, Yakub Bhaskar Rao Sagar Movietone
1937 Qazzak Ki Ladki Sultan Mirza, S. Varman Surendra, Sushila, Sarla Ishrat Sultana (Bibbo) Rainbow Films
1938 Watan Mehboob Khan Kumar, Yakub, Maya Bannerjee Anil Biswas Sagar Movietone, Bombay
1938 Teen Sau Din Ke Baad Sarvottam Badami Sabita Devi, Motilal, Yakub Anil Biswas Sagar Movietone, Bombay
1938 Gramaphone Singer V. C. Desai (Virendra Chimanlal Desai) Surendra, Prabha, Kanhaiyalal Anil Biswas Sagar
1938 Dynamite C. M. Luhar Surendra, Yakub, Maya Bannerjee Anil Biswas Sagar
1938 Abhilasha a.k.a. Postman Zia Sarhadi, Mahendra Thakore Kumar, Yakub, Maya Bannerjee Anil Biswas Sagar Movietone, Bombay
1939 Seva Samaj a.k.a. Service Ltd. or Service Limited C. M. Luhar Surendra, Yakub, Maya Bannerjee Anupam Ghatak Sagar
1939 Bhole Bhale Zia Sarhadi Maya Bannerjee, Prem Adib, Arun Anupam Ghatak Sagar
1939 Ladies Only Sarvottam Badami Surendra, Prabha, Sabita Devi Anupam Ghatak Sagar Movietone
1939 Sadhana V. C. Desai
1940 Lakshmi Mohan Sinha
1940 Sohag a.k.a. Suhag a.k.a. Sign Of Marriage Balwant Bhatt Kumar, Mazhar Khan, Ashalata Timir Baran Circo Productions
1940 Sneh Bandhan J. P. Advani (Jagatrai Pesumal Advani) E. Billimoria, Navin Yagnik Pannalal Ghosh Great India Pictures
1941 Mere Raja T. M. Mani E. Billimoria, Mazhar Khan, Miss Moti Damodar Sharma Paramount Pictures
1941 Akela ak.a. Alone Pesi Karani Mazhar Khan, E. Billimoria Khan Mastana Kikubhai Desai
1944 Bade Nawab Saheb Vedi Chandra Mohan, Pahari Sanyal, Kumar Bashir Dehlvi Silver Films
1945 Pehli Nazar Mazhar Khan Motilal, Veena, Munawwar Sultana Anil Biswas Mazhar Art
1946 Sassi Punnu J. P. Advani E. Billimoria, Geeta Nizami, Jairaj, Gope Gobindram Vaswani Art
1947 Pahela Pyar A. P. Kapoor Vanmala, K. N. Singh, Agha Premnath (composer) Sagar Movietone

In Pakistan[edit]

Her films list:[36]

Year Film Director Co-stars Composer Producer
1950 Shammi (Punjabi) Munshi Dil Shammi, Santosh Kumar, Ghulam Mohammad, Ajmal, Bibbo Master Inayat Hussain
1952 Dopatta (Urdu) Sibtain Fazli Noor Jehan, Ajay Kumar, Sudhir, Yasmin, Bibbo Feroz Nizami Aslam Lodhi
1953 Gulnar (Urdu) Imtiaz Ali Taj Noor Jehan, Santosh, Zarif, Shah Nawaz, Bibbo Ghulam Haider Mian Rafiq
1956 Kaarnama Iqbal Hussain Laddan, Kalawati, Sawan, Bibbo Nathoo Khan M. M. Hussain
1958 Zehr-e-Ishq (Urdu) Masood Parvez Musarrat Nazir, Habib, Neelo, Bibbo, Maya Devi Khawaja Khurshid Anwar (assisted by Manzoor) Select Pictures, Sultan Gilani
1959 Jhoomar Khurshid Anwar Musarrat Nazir, Sudhir, Laila, Bibbo Khurshid Anwar Noor-e-Minar Pictures
1962 Ghunghat Khurshid Anwar Nayyar Sultana, Santosh Kumar, Neelo, Bibbo Khurshid Anwar Select Pictures
1963 Baji (Urdu) S. Suleman Nayyar Sultana, Darpan, Zeba, Bibbo Saleem Iqbal
1963 Ishq par Zor Nahin (Urdu) Sharif Nayyar Neelo, Aslam Pervaiz, Jameela Razzaq, Ilyas Kashmiri, Bibbo Master Inayat Hussain
1963 Marvi Sheikh Hasan Nighat Sultana, Noor Mohammed Charlie, Bibbo G. Nabi Fazlani
1966 Armaan (Urdu) Pervez Malik Zeba, Waheed Murad, Nirala, Bibbo Sohail Rana


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  4. Singh, Surjit. "A Year in Hindi Movies 1939". hindi-movies-songs.com. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
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  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 Shahid, Zulqarnain. "Bibbo". cineplot.com. Cineplot. Retrieved 8 Nov 2016.
  11. Osian's (Firm) (2005). Osian's Cinemaya. 1. Osian's. Retrieved 26 July 2015. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  12. Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (1 February 2013). The Concise Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Routledge. pp. 1002–. ISBN 978-1-136-09594-8. Retrieved 26 July 2015. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  13. "Mayajaal". idb.ub.uni-tuebingen.de (in Hindi). Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen. Retrieved 27 July 2015.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  14. "Vasavdatta". idb.ub.uni-tuebingen.de (in Hindi). Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen. Retrieved 27 July 2015.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  15. "Sair-e-Paristan". idb.ub.uni-tuebingen.de (in Hindi). Eberhard Karls Universitat Tubingen. Retrieved 27 July 2015.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  16. Singh, Surjit. "Sound and Music in Hindi Talkies". hindi-movies-songs.com/. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  17. Habib Tanvir (15 May 2014). Memoirs. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 216–. ISBN 978-93-5118-202-3. Retrieved 26 July 2015. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  18. Crow, Jonathan. "Jagirdar 1937 Overview". Movies. The New York Times Company. New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  19. Baburao, Patel (February 1938). "India Has No Stars". Filmindia. 3 (8): 5. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  20. Baburao, Patel (February 1938). "Bombay Calling". Filmindia. 3 (10): 29. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  21. Ashish Rajadhyaksha; Paul Willemen (10 July 2014). "Gramaphone Singer". Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Taylor & Francis. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-1-135-94325-7. Retrieved 28 July 2015. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  22. Baburao, Patel (March 1938). "300 Days & After". Filmindia. 3 (11): 44. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  23. Baburao, Patel (April 1939). "Review-Ladies Only". Filmindia. 5 (4): 54. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  24. Baburao, Patel (May 1940). "Bombay Calling". Filmindia. 6 (5): 28. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  25. Baburao, Patel (January 1941). "Our Review-Sneha Bandhan". Filmindia. 8 (1): 50. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  26. Baburao, Patel (September 1941). "Our Review-Akela". Filmindia. 8 (1): 50. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  27. Baburao, Patel (February 1945). "Zeenat". Filmindia. 11 (2). Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  28. http://www.citwf.com/film92590.htm, Film 'Dopatta' (1952) on Complete Index To World Film website, Retrieved 8 Nov 2016
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  31. Malik, Q. Z. "Ghunghat (1962) Review". hindi-movies-songs.com. Surjit Singh. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  32. Baburao, Patel (January 1939). "The Editor's Mail". Filmindia. 5 (1): 20. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  33. Baburao, Patel (June 1943). "The Editor's Mail". Filmindia. 9 (6): 31. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
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  35. "Bibbo-film list". citwf.com. Alan Goble. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  36. http://www.citwf.com/person97352.htm, Filmography of actress Bibbo on Complete Index To World Film website, Retrieved 9 Nov 2016

External links[edit]

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