Aahoo Chasham…… Ragni
Eyes are the utmost significant part in a face as these are the first most part to be looked upon once addressing or seeing someone in a picture. And if the eyes have some exceptional features it becomes it becomes the recognition for that personality. Somewhat exactly happened with actress Ragni who’s eyes were her appreciation and recognition for her popularity that’s why she as addressed as Aahoo Chasham just after the release of her first ever film released in 1940. Even she was not in films and advertisement was made about her eyes with a coming storm, a caption given to picture of eyes closed girl. The statement of the news advertisement was subsequently proved when film was released. Indeed the overturned curves of her eyes had dreamlike attraction.
Way back in 1921, a girl of Gujranwala dancing bazar fell in love with a rich man named Seth Deewan Parmanand who used to come to their house for song enjoyment. Since the girl was Muslim and fellow belonged to a Hindu community so initially they had a problem but after some time they were so involved that they got married. In 1923, they were blessed with a girl and on the demand of mother baby girl was named as Shamshad which was Muslim name. Unfortunately the Shamshad who was then known as Shado was still a little girl when her mother died and Deewan Parmanand shifted from Gujranwala to Lahore with his two daughters including Shaado. In Lahore Deewan Seth settled at Nicolson road, where he tried to provide all possible facilities to his daughters. But after the death of her mother, shifting to Lahore and due to non-attentative attitute of her father Ragni was unable to attend any school for education so throughout her life she remained uneducated.
Ragni right from the outset had very perceptible and attractive eyes and these sparkling eyes also impressed director and producer Roop K. Shori who also used to live there at Nicolson Road in the close vicinity of residence of Ragni’s house. Roop K. Shori was friend of Seth Deewan and used to visit his house very frequently so he offered a role of heroine to Shamshad for his upcoming film which was accepted by both father and daughter. Rook K. Shori was planning a new film under the banner of his film production house named Kamla Movietone. Shamshad was changed into Ragni by Shori and she became the lead heroine with hero M. D. Kanwar of her first film Dulla Bhatti. During the completion of film a lot of advertisement was ensured prior to its release. In one of the advertisement a picture of Ragni with her closed eyes was published and caption was given that “ See what will happen when she would open her eyes”. Dulla Bhatti which was released in Crown cinema Lahore on March 26, 1941. After the release of film it hit the box office business but most importantly it gave a very strong platform to Ragni’s film career.
Career as Actress
After the success of Dulla Bhatti Ragni’s next film was Sehti Murad, but on release it was not been able to earn the same repute of her fist film. But failure of this film did not affect her popularity graph and she established herself as progressing actress and kept on getting new film projects including Himmat and Nishani directed by Roop K. Shori, Shankar Mehta’s Mera Mahi, Ravi Par, Poonji, Moti B Gudwani’s Kaisey Kahon, Haran Bosh’s Daasi, Patwari of B. S. Rajan, Haladat’s Shiren Farhad in which character of Farhad was played by Junait (Zakria Khan father of renowned Indian actor Amjad Khan), Devaindar Dev’s Dhamki and A. R. Kardar’s Shahjahan in this film Ragni played the role of Mumtaz Mahal and M. D. Kanwar played the role of Shahjahan and did very well. Keeping in view her popularity she was hired on a contractual basis on two hundred and fifty rupees per month. During the shooting of this film he fell in love with Ragni in real life and the role of Shahjahan he had requested from A. R. Kardar for this film just because of Ragni. But once she never replied him in the same emotions M. D. Kanwar started heavy drinking and finally suffered Tuberculosis and died because of this disease and failure in his love for Ragni.
After the success of Dulla Bhatti Ragni’s next film was Sehti Murad, but on release it was not been able to earn the same repute of her fist film. But failure of this film did not affect her popularity graph and she established herself as progressing actress and kept on getting new film projects including Himmat and Nishani directed by Roop K. Shori, Shankar Mehta’s Mera Mahi, Ravi Par, Poonji, Moti B Gudwani’s Kaisey Kahon, Haran Bosh’s Daasi, Patwari of B. S. Rajan, Haladat’s Shiren Farhad in which character of Farhad was played by Junait (Zakria Khan father of renowned Indian actor Amjad Khan), Devaindar Dev’s Dhamki and A. R. Kardar’s Shahjahan in this film Ragni played the role of Mumtaz Mahal and M. D. Kanwar played the role of Shahjahan and did very well. During the shooting of this film he fell in love with Ragni in real life and the role of Shahjahan he had requested from A. R. Kardar for this film just because of Ragni. But once she never replied him in the same emotions M. D. Kanwar started heavy drinking and finally suffered Tuberculosis and died because of this disease and failure in his love for Ragni.
Aahoo Chasham Ragni with her versatile acting was not only captivating and fascinating the film lovers in this part of sub-continent rather it was crossing all the boundaries as she as popular in Bombay and Calcutta as in Lahore, so keeping in view her popularity, A. R. Kardar suggested her to move to Bombay and act in the films of Bombay film industry. In mid 40s, Ragni not only accepted his suggestion, rather she along with her father immediately moved to Bombay, India where she was welcomed by the producers and directors as anticipated. Ragni was paired with M. D. Kanwar and Kundan Lal Sehgal A. R. Kardar’s film in Shahjahan. On release Shahjahan hit the box office and after the success of Shahjahan, Ragni increased her acting salary up to fifty thousand which was further enhanced to one lakh rupees after a couple of her films.
There in Bombay Noor Jahan was on the peak of her film acting career too so Ragni and Noor Jahan became good friends and that continued even both of them returned back to Pakistan and appeared in films like Anar Kali. On the other hand, the increased in her salary had no effect on the growing popularity of Ragni as she was hired for other films one after the other like S. M. Yousaf’s Naik Parveen, C. M. Sorma’s Bindiya, Insan, Naringin’s Farz which was debut film of Lala Sudhir, and then S. Badami’s Manmani.
After partition in 1947, she returned to Lahore and resumed her film career with Mundri with Ilyas Kashmiri. Meantime she started her own production house named Ragni Arts and produced Kundan which was released on November 4, 1950. In other films she appeared in Mundri, Akeli, Nazrana, Be-qarar, Noukar, Be-dari, Kundan, Shararay, Mumtaz, Zanjeer etc. Meantime, dancing heroines were introduced in films so she restricted herself to character actor or secondary roles and did films which include Gumnam, Husan o Ishq, Ghulam, Anar Kali, Sher Di Bachi, Ilteja, Jori, Noreen, Duniya Na Maney, Khalish, Ucha Naa Piyar Da, Mirza Jat, Naila, Aab e Hayat etc and many more. For Ragni’s filmography please go here.
During her last months once she was spending a retired life and living alone, she was offered some character actor roles in films by the film directors including Syed Noor. As she was very old and weak so she was offered to act on wheel chair but she refused to act any more in the films.
M. D. Kanwar was first hero who appeared in Ragni’s debut film Dulla Bhatti so along with hundreds of film gores he also fell in love with Ragni but it was one sided affair. Kanwar was basically a rich man and owned huge property in Anarkali bazar of Lahore. So he requested A. R. Kardar for a lead role in Shahjahan with Ragni which was accepted and during the shooting of the film he tried his level best to obtain the attention and affection of Ragni but all went in vain. So disappointedly as looser he sunk himself into heavy drunkenness which resulted into his verse health and afterward converted into tuberculosis and that became the main cause of his death. So like M. D. Kanwar there were so many who wanted Ragni as their spouse. So visualizing this increasing tendency her father Seth Deewan arranged her marriage with a man from Mian family of Baghwanpura who was nephew of Begum Shahnawaz. Ragni started a happily married life and till the release of Shahjahan she was also blessed with one son and a daughter.
After she was returned to Pakistan Ragni was once again busy in her professional obligation which was not taken positively by her husband and he declared it ignorance to his family and slowly this little thought reached on very serious point when both Ragni and her husband separated themselves forever and divorced each other.
Subsequently Ragni remarried with actor S. Gul like her previous matrimonial life in the start their life was smooth but with the passage of time it also landed in such a situation that their marriage again ended up in a complete turmoil and she was divorced.
In her lateral life she had setback of her life when Ragni’s son Abid died of blood cancer who was shifted to USA, presently his widow and grandchildren of Ragni are still there. Ragni’s daughter Saira is also married and living there in Karachi with her family.
Demise of the Artist
After the death of her young son Abid Ragni was almost half died and was living alone confined into one room of a house situated in street of Model Colony near Firdous market Lahore. Although she had her daughter and wife of his deceased son but she straight way refused to live with her daughter in law in USA and own daughter in Karachi with the plea that she was almost eighty four years old wanted that after her death her funeral and burial should be held at Muslim’s community and graveyard of her own city and people.
So in the same condition of isolation she died on February 27, 2007.
Latest News / Events
NC so far…….
This feature (article) need additional input so if you have some details about it, you may assist by sharing the information. Please support us in compiling the first ever directory of Pakistani cinematic and its related artifacts.