Salma Agha biography
Salma Agha is a popular singer from Pakistan who sang as well as acted in Indian films in the 1980s and the early 1990s. She won the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award in 1982 for the ghazal "Dil ke Armaan" in Nikaah.
Agha born to a wealthy father and in Karachi, moved to London at age 9. She was married at 16 years of age to a prominent Pakistani settled in London. A divorce soon followed. Salma along with sister Sabina produced and sang for a record called AGHA - Salma and Sabina Agha sing ABBA hits in Hindi. The record made a few waves and was applauded by critics. However, it didn't create any major ripples in the Hindi film circles at the time.
When acclaimed Indian director Raj Kapoor was at the London reception of his son Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh's wedding, he invited his cousin Zarina Agha (Salma's mother) to the reception. Present at the wedding were many prominent Indian directors, including B.R. Chopra. Chopra had just finished a female oriented hit with Zeenat Aman called Insaf Ka Tarazu. He had just commissioned a heroine-oriented movie called Talaq Talaq Talaq and was on the look out for a Muslim actress. Zeenat Aman (even though, half Muslim) he felt had a much too urban look to portray the character of Neelofar in his movie. Raj Kappor too was on the lookout for a Muslim girl his movie Heena. Soon Raj Kapoor nixed plans and went ahead with Prem Rog. Hearing that Chopra was looking for a Muslim girl, Salma flew to Bombay to meet him. Using her uncle Raj Kapoor's connection, Salma was soon hired.
When the music directors heard Salma's ABBA hits they signed her on to sing her own playback songs. The songs were a huge success even before the movie was released. The movie got stuck with the Islamic clerics who were to approve the movie before its release. They insisted on a name change and Chopra rechristened the movie Nikah. The movie went on to be a huge success and is considered a classic. It is one of the strongest debuts for an actress and a huge vehicle for a newcomer. She earned a Filmfare nomination as Best Actress. In addition to winning the Filmfare Best Female Playback Award for the song "Dil Ke Armaan," she also earned two Filmfare nominations: one for the song "Pyar Bhi Hai Jawan" and the other for the song "Dil Ki Yeh Arzo".
Salma soon purchased Reena Roy's apartment in Bandra, while Reena packed bags to move to London with her new husband cricketer Mohsin Khan. However, Salma wasn't interested in movies much, she soon was introduced to Mehmood Sipra, a New York City business man, who made Salma drop all her movie assignments and produced movies for her, beginning with Begum Sahiba and Bebasi. Sipra's divorce came through while his love affair with Salma began to fade. Both movies were shelved and Salma was left without a husband or career.
Thankfully, her photos were constantly in magazines even though she hadn't had a release since Nikaah and refused most offers made to her. Finally, after her break with Mehmood Sipra, she signed Babbar Subhash's Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki with Mithun Chakraborty and Smita Patil. The movie was publicised with huge pictures of Salma, which in turn upset and overshadowed Mithun. This movie became Salma's second release and another hit. She earned a Filmfare nomination for the song "Jhoom Jhoom Baba." Salma went to Pakistan to visit her now married sister Sabina, living in Karachi and while visiting relatives in Lahore, she was offered Pakistani movies. She debuted in Hum aur Tum with Javed Sheikh. They both fell in love and Javed divorced his wife of 15 years and tied the knot with Salma. They were in such a rush for marriage that Salma Agha didn't even dub for the Hum aur Tum. The bad dubbing job and the horrible story line killed the movie. Though the curiosity of seeing Salma and her box office power made the movie a hit in Pakistan.
Salma worked on many other movies in Pakistan, none with major recognition other than a movie that later got adopted into a Hindi version Pati, Patni aur Tawaif. Salma played the same character she had, in the Pakistani version and was once again teamed with Mithun. While shooting in Bombay she also did Oonche Log with Rajesh Khanna (another remake of the Pakistani movie Dehleez) and Salma (also a remake of the Pakistani hit Anjuman of the 1950s). All of these movies flopped massively at the box office.
Soon Salma was going through another divorce. She carried on with a few more Pakistani movies then settled with the squash coach Rehmat Khan. She now shuttles between Islamabad and London with Khan and puts out an album of ghazals every few years. She recently went on tour promoting her album Husn. She has a daughter with Rehmat and also runs a high-end boutique in Islamabad. She is now settled in UAE.