70th death anniversary of Shyam (father of Sahira Kazmi) today

Remembering yesteryear actor Shyam who met with a tragic death

Sunder Shyam Chadda, known as Shyam in Indian film industry was an Indian actor in Hindi cinema. He began his career in 1942 and worked in over 30 films until his death in 1951 at the age of 31. His fans are celebrating his 70th death anniversary today. He died on April 25th in 1951. Unfortunately, shockingly, brutally and tragically his career was cut short when he died during the filming of an action scene for the film Shabistan.

Born as Sundar Shyam Chaddha on February 20, 1920, he originally hailed from Sialkot but grew up in Rawalpindi.  Shyam graduated from Gordon College in Rawalpindi. He was a close friend of Saadat Hasan Manto and was the inspiration to many of his stories. Even after partition, their friendship remained strong.

He married Mumtaz Qureshi (also called “Taji”), with whom he had a daughter, Pakistani TV actress Sahira Kazmi and a son Shakir, who was born two months after Shyam’s death.

Sahira Kazmi married the actor Rahat Kazmi, and Shakir is now a Psychiatrist based in the United Kingdom. Mumtaz migrated to Lahore, Pakistan, after her husband’s premature death in 1951, along with her elder sister, Zeb Qureshi, who was an actress in Bombay. Mumtaz later married a gentleman, Ansari.

Shyam’s film career began in 1942 with the Punjabi film Gowandhi  In 1944, he moved to Bombay and started acting in Hindi films. One of his most famous movies was Bazaar, released in 1949, in which he starred with Nigar Sultana. Some of his other notable films included Dillagi, Kaneez, Patanga, Naach, Raat Ki Rani, Bazar, Chandni Raat, Chaar Din, Sangeeta and Dada. In 1950 he had eight releases, SamadhiChoti Bhabhi, Meena Bazar, Kaale Badal, Surajmukhi, Nirdosh, Wafa and Madhuban. His last film was Shabistan which was released after his death.

In his last film Shabistan which released in 1951, Shyam was cast opposite the lovely Naseem Banu and the film had some lovely duets. Shyam died on the set of Shabistan after he fell off a horse during filming. He was only 31 years old and his untimely death sent a shock wave in the industry.

After his demise the few remaining scenes of the film were shot using a body double who matched his physique and the shots were taken from behind. The film has a story of two warring kingdoms and Naseem Banu was the princess of one of them. Hence the requirement of fight sequences on horseback to depict war scenes.

Shyam left his mark in the short time that he was part of the industry and got to act opposite all the top actresses of that time Nigar Sultana, Naseem Banu, Suraiya, Pushpa Hans, Kuldeep Kaur, Munawar Sultana, Nargis, Veena, Rehana, Ramola, and Meena Shorey.

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