The veteran actor was in her late 80s
Zahrat Ara, who starred in the first Bangla language feature film made in the erstwhile East Pakistan, “Mukh O Mukhosh,” passed away in London on July 19.
According to reports, the veteran actor was in her late 80s when she breathed her last, in an elderly care home, due to various long-term health complications. Her last rites will be performed in Norwich.
Produced by Iqbal Films and directed by Abdul Jabbar Khan, “Mukh o Mukhosh” hit the theaters across Dhaka, Chittagong, Narayanganj, and Khulna in 1956 . People of all age flocked to the cinema halls, which was perceived as an act of defiance against the increasingly intolerant and discriminatory policies of the West Pakistani regime.
The film was released only two years after Bangla was officially recognized as a state language alongside Urdu.
Initially, director Abdul Jabbar Khan gave up all hope of finding a female actor from East Pakistan to cast in his film. Fortunately, Zahrat Ara, who was a student of Eden College, saw an advertisement in a magazine asking interested females to respond. She was subsequently hired alongside Purnima Sengupta, Ali Monsoon and others.
According to researcher Anupam Hayat, Zahrat had some previous experience with radio dramas. She had also participated in the Language Movement.