Neelo Begum Passed Away

Pakistani Cinema’s Golden-era Legend Neelo Passes Away

The curtain fell on one of Pakistan’s leading luminary of its golden age of cinema as former star Neelo breathed her last on Saturday. Wife of late auteur Riaz Shahid and mother of current star Shaan Shahid, Neelo established herself as a powerhouse performer in the heydays of the Lahore film industry. She had been suffering from a protracted illness of late, and her passing away was announced by son Shaan Shahid in a tweet on Saturday evening.

Her departure left many in the entertainment industry feeling the void left behind. Messages of condolences poured in, with celebrities Farhan Saeed, Reema Khan, Faysal Qureishi, Atiqa Odho and Sanam Baloch tweeting their expressions of grief. Farhan Saeed tweeted: “Pakistan has undoubtedly lost one its finest! Rest in peace, Neelo ji. Heartfelt condolences to @mshaanshahid.” Meanwhile, Atiqa Odho stated in a tweet: “Sad news about our loved super star Neelo Jee passing on. She made history with her beauty, talent and bravery. RIP”

Reema shared a picture with the late star and in a heartfelt note stated: “I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the untimely demise of Madam #NeeloShahid– mother of our great movie star #Shan. May Allah rest her soul in peace. My heartfelt condolence to Shaan and his family. May you all have the patience and strength to bear this huge loss. Aameen”


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A post shared by Reema Khan (@iamreemakhan)

Even the Prime Minister pitched in, tweeting “My condolences and prayers go to @mshaanshahid on the passing of his mother.”

Born to a Christian family as Cynthia Fernandes Alexander, the late star stepped into tinsel town at the age of 12 in the Hollywood drama Bhowani Junction and later rose to stardom in the 60s with films like Azra, Miss and of course, the memorable Zarqa where she portrayed a Palestinian freedom fighter who wreaks destruction on the occupying forces. She married Riaz Shahid, the top director of the era, after conversion to Islam.

Needless to say, her departure leaves the film fraternity with a void that will be difficult to fill.

Written by Faisal Ali H

I work as an economist and maintain an active interest in Pakistani cinema.


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