The face of a baby, the figure of a Barbie doll and the nerves of steel make this damsel one of the timeless queens of Lollywood. A talented actress who has performed several memorable roles on both the mini and silver screens. Babra is one of the most versatile actresses that Lollywood has ever produced and she has a knack of coming back on the top every now and then when people thought of her as down and out.
She’s never been into the catty wars like the present babes of Lollywood and that is what makes Babra so unique and timeless,
she knows she can act well, but she leaves it for the audience to decide, after all you can be at the numero uno position without boasting about it yourself.
The famous jaw line and all is presently set. The head nods ever so slightly. You notice that furrows are beginning to appear on the unblemished forehead. She bites her lower lip as if to contain the bitter monster of her temper and then…
Babra Sharif Has Memerized Millions Malleable to the point of genius she has done all conceivable characters in the sub continental sense of film heroine. She has played the village belle to perfection (Gorian Diyan Jhanjran) but you would also remember the Jewish show-stopper (International Gorrieley).
She was a prostitute Heera Mandi style (Shehzada) and also the very metropolitan call girl (Dushmanon key Dushman). The perfect mom (Zindagi) or the daughter in distress (Aag). She was street smart (Kundan) and the gullible distressed heires (Mehman). She was the girl next door (Barish).
She was love struck (Palkon Ki chaon Mein) or cancer struck (Mera Naam Hey Mohabbat)…rhythm struck (Mukhra)… she was an object of human desire (Zid) or object of super human desire (Miss Kilopetra). A jewel thief (Aasman) or dacoit (Kali). Above all she kicked some butt in East (Miss Hong Kong) not to mention, in all the PIA stopovers from there to Karachi (Miss Singapore, Miss Bangkok, Miss Colombo).
She has had suitors ranging from teenagers, to suave businessmen, to village bumpkins, to gang leaders, to aliens, to genies, to a headless corpse. Even the animal Kingdom was charmed.
Chimpanzees have wrapped their long hairy arms around the dainty neck; dogs have bee allies; horses proved faithful repeatedly and lambs have rested their heads in her lap. She has driven jazzy cars, ridden motor cycles, galloped horses, sped motors boats, and hovered over in a parachute. She has jump over steep ravines. She has danced with true abandon. One evolved Pakistani dame here.
What seems like a lot of years ago, Shamim Ara, who was in the process of bowing out recommended a robust pubescent girl to someone making a very forgettable film called “Bhool”. What followed were phenomena with the capital “P”. And Shabab Kiranvi, the producer/director with panache for new-faces was charmed. She had incredibly bright eyes in those days.
“Mera Naam hey Mohabbat” remembered by most for the havoc it played on their tear-ducts, is the point where Babra took off. What a flight! Next five years she gave Shabanam a headache to reckon with. The turning point arrived courtesy of Shamim Ara again. ‘Ms Hong Kong’ had that slick flavor that Shabnam could not provide even at her slickest moments.
Babra held the audience in her palm. People emerged from theatres with pleasure with in their dilated pupils. While in seventies Babra also accepted films without giving them much thought, it seemed that by eighties she had wizened to be her own worth as an actress. It also was notable that most heroines avoided working with Babra.
On the screen, when Babra was in the frame, all else would take backseat. With the few exceptions Babra has always starred at the singular enchantress in her films. Late eighties saw Babra become more rhythmic.
“Mukhara” opened to full and houses and all songs become the rage after the first show. Babra had developed a style that was athletic, energetic but not with the disorganized frenzy; Babra, it seems, was beginning to enjoy her dancing.
The final rhapsody of fame for Babra was curiously not a film but rather a publicity film. In those thirty seconds Babra came across as a woman resplendent in her glory, exuding glamour and sex-appeal. The Lux Ad campaign at the end of the eighties was the climatic zenith of Bab’s long year as a Superstar. Babra is better these days, they say
Babra’s stumble and dive from the pinnacle of superstardom is multifactorial. That Reema entered the scene is cited as the chief reason though by history it is known that a great star can with stand newcomers i.e. Shabnam with stood Babra. Zeba was able to compete Shabnam and Rani.
Shamin Ara was unmoved when Zeba sky rocketed to fame. Sabiha managed to carry and despite Shamim Ara and Noor Jehan elected to leave scene not because of Sabiha had entered the scene but to pursue other interests. Babra, if she really wanted it, she could give Neeli some true-blue professional tension…to say the least.
Now…Babra is said to have developed a fatalistic attitude where she became demanding, uncooperative and truant almost overnight. It is said that money-matters started to take a manipulative sheen and hook-and-crook the reimbursement method of choice. Babra is said to have driven a couple of producers around the bend with her new found sensibilities.
Thus this metamorphosis that started with the new decade became the talk of trade gossip-sessions. Half of them were fictions. About one fourth totally over the-top rumors.
But a fraction must have been true because within a span of six months about eight or nine Babra stirrers were released without proper patchwork or editing…film producers wanted to get rid off their liabilities. All of these films died a rather rapid death at the box-office. Offers dwindled. A few face-saving projects remained in Babra’s hands.
The reasons of the about face are largely unknown. One co-star went blue in face saying it was loneliness. Loneliness? Loveless ness? Fear? Finances? In February of 1992. Babra went on record saying she is going to retire from films. For a while it seemed she had found her special niche when she started to appear in fashion shoots.
She modeled her famous face in images contradictory of to what rumors portrayed. She looked happy. She did not seem like someone in throes of has-beenism. And then she announced “Kashmir Ki Beti”. It somehow indicated Babra’s desire for silver screen supremacy once again. Babra watchers admitted to each other that she looked too good to be true in the publicity photographs.
In a bid to shake the slumbering ex-fans Babra had gone from very filmi to true glamorous. Seeing her, one would be surprised by her radiant persona. She may not be any younger but she was definitely a lot sexier.
“Kashmir Ki Beti” ran into dire straits. And Babra goes on. Rather than sitting around for Lahore’s industry to re-arrange their thought processes about her, Babra is now angling for hearts of tele-viewers. The opening of “Nadan Nadia” may not remind one of “Ankahi” but Babra is no Shahnaz Sheikh who could walk away from it all. It may be a matter of Babra’s innermost person but it is easy to read. Babra wants to go on.
Babra will go onShe yells into the month-piece. The unsuspecting director of “Pyasa Sawan” is on the other end. How can any one in his right mind question her? As if she is not as significant as she once was. “Who the hell are you to ask me why I am in Karachi tonight”. Her eyes are cold points of diamonds. “I can’t hang around in Lahore waiting for your call”.
The man on the other end in Lahore attempts to get Babra to Lahore with an offer to buy her a night coach fare that night. Babra Sharif is suddenly exposed to another evidence of her crumbling status. That does it and now the lava of many nights of heartache erupts with a thunder of fury.