Pramila Devi

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Pramila Devi
Pramila (Esther Victoria Abraham).jpg File:Pramila (Esther Victoria Abraham).jpg
BornEsther Victoria Abraham
30 December 1916
Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
💀Died6 August 2006(2006-08-06) (aged 89)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India6 August 2006(2006-08-06) (aged 89)
🏳️ NationalityIndian
💼 Occupation
  • Model
  • Actress
👶 ChildrenHaidar Ali
Pramila in the 1936 film Hamari Betiya.

Esther Victoria Abraham (30 December 1916 – 6 August 2006), better known by her stage name Pramila, was an Indian model, actress and first woman film producer in the Hindi film industry. She is also well known for winning the first Miss India pageant in 1947.

Personal life[edit]

Pramila was born in 1916 in Kolkata, to a Baghdadi Jewish family.[1][2] She was the daughter of Reuben Abraham, a businessman from Kolkata, and Matilda Isaac, from Karachi. She had three siblings from her father's first marriage to Liya, and six siblings from her own parents' marriage.

Esther Victoria Abraham married twice. She had a child from her first marriage. After she married again, to fellow actor Syed Hasan Ali Zaidi, better known as Kumar, they had four children together. A practicing Shia Muslim, Zaidi appeared in Mughal-e-Azam and Shri 420). Esther Victoria Abraham was his second wife.[3] After Kumar emigrated to Pakistan in 1963, Esther Victoria Abraham decided to stay in India, where she acted and produced films.

Her youngest son, Haidar Ali, has also pursued a career in films and television. Her daughter Naqi Jahan, was crowned Eve's Weekly Miss India in 1967, representing India at the Queen of the Pacific Quest beauty pageant in Australia.[4] They are the only mother and daughter to have both won the Miss India title.

Esther Victoria Abraham died on 6 August 2006.[5]


Pramila was the winner of the first Miss India pageant, in 1947 and at the age of 31.[6][7][8] Her first job in the entertainment industry was as a dancer for a Parsi theatre company, dancing during the 15 minutes pause while the reel projector was changed.[9] Pramila acted as a fearless stunt star in 30 films, including Ulti Ganga, Bijli, Basant (film) and Jungle King. She also became the first major woman film producer in India, with 16 films under her banner Silver Productions. Morarji Desai, the then Chief Minister of Bombay, had her arrested because she was suspected of spying for Pakistan, due to her constant travels to that country. However, it was later proven she travelled to promote her films.[10]

Pramila was a multi talented person. Not only was she a fine actor and film producer, she was also a graduate of the University of Cambridge, became a skilled teacher,[11] often designed her own film costumes and jewelry too.


  • Return of the Toofan Mail, directed by R.S. Chaudhary (1935)
  • Bhikaran, directed by P.K. Atharti (1935)
  • Mahamaya, directed by Gunjal (1936)
  • Hamari Betiya / Our Darling Daughters, directed by R.S. Chaudhary (1936)
  • Saria, directed by Shanti Dave (1936)
  • Mere Lai, directed by Gunjal (1937)
  • Mother India, directed by Gunjal (1938)
  • Bijlee, directed by Balwant Bhatt (1939)
  • Hukum Ka Ekka, directed by Shanti Dave (1939)
  • Jungle King, directed by Nari Ghadialli (1939)
  • Kahan Hai Manzil Ten, directed by S.M. Yussuf (1939)
  • Sardar, directed by Dwarka Khosla (1940)
  • Kanchan, directed by Leela Chitnis (1941)
  • Shahzaadi, directed by J.P. Advani (1941)
  • Basant, directed by Amiya Chakrabarty (1942)
  • Jhankar, directed by S. Khalil (1942)
  • Saheli, directed by S.M. Yussuf (1942)
  • Ulti Ganga, directed by K. Dhaiber (1942)
  • Bade Nawab Saheb, directed by B.D. Vedi (1944)
  • Naseeb, directed by B.D. Vedi (1945)
  • Devar, directed by S.M. Yussuf (1946)
  • Nehle Pe Dehla, directed by S.M. Yussuf (1946)
  • Sal Gira, directed by K.S. Dariani (1946)
  • Shalimar, directed by Roop K. Shorey (1946)
  • Doosri Shaadi, directed by Ram Dariani (1947)
  • Aap Beeti, directed by M. Kumar (1948)
  • Beqasoor, directed by K. Amamath (1950)
  • Hamari Beti, directed by Shobhna Samarth (1950)
  • Dhoon, directed by M. Kumar (1953)
  • Majboori / Choti Bahen, directed by Ram Dariani (1954)
  • Badal Aur Bijlee, directed by Maurice Abraham (1956)
  • Fighting Queen, directed by Nari Ghadiali (1956)
  • Jungle King, directed by Masud (1959)
  • Bahana, directed by M. Kumar (1960)
  • Murad, directed by Nari Ghadiali (1961)
  • Thaang, directed by Amol Palekar (2006)


  1. "Jewish stars of Bollywood". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  2. "Meet Pramila, the first Miss India". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  3. Pramila: Esther Victoria Abraham – A Star Studded Bollywood and Glamour Family in India. Jewish Calcutta
  4. "History of India's Jewish beauty queens". YNet
  5. Pramila – The first Miss India
  6. "Pramila - Esther Victoria Abraham - PramilaFirst Miss India 1947 - A Tribute - Pictures". Zimbio. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  7. "Mama Hindustani". Outlook. 20 Oct 1997.
  8. Pramila, Esther Victoria Abraham-A biography. Search this book on Logo.png
  9. Esther Abraham Was 31 & Pregnant When She Was Crowned The 1st Miss India In 1947. Here’s Her Story
  10. Meet Pramila, the first Miss India. Rediff News
  11. [1]

External links[edit]

Esther Victoria Abraham on IMDb