So you think that Elnaaz Norouzi (Maan Jao Na) is the first female actor from outside the Indian subcontinent to have worked in a Pakistani film? Think again because you are as wrong as wrong could be. Before her, as many as seven divas from countries that were not India or Bangladesh have appeared in Pakistani films. Who were they and above all, how did they look? Read on to know it all.
This beauty from brotherly nation of Iran set the screen on fire on numerous occasions in the 60s and the 70s. From Sukh Ka Sapna to Kala Pani, Daaman to Karwaan, Sagar to Qabeela, Jan Pehchan to Sajda, Aag to Love in Jungle and Love In Europe to Jane Bond 008: Operation Karachi & Mr. 303, Tarana was part of all these films. Sometimes she played the vamp, sometimes the girl who didn’t get the man and mostly the dancer who would melt your hearts with her dance steps. She went back to the Iran in the 70s when the standard of filmmaking started going down in Pakistan.
Actor/director Mohsin Shirazi turned producer with Jan Pehchan where he had the services of Mohammad Ali as an actor and Sohail Rana as a music director. However, the film’s leading lady was an Iranian beauty named Shahpara who not only stole the then bachelor leading man’s heart but the imagination of the audience. She wasn’t able to continue her career in Pakistan and her departure was as big a loss of the cinegoers as it was Mohammad Ali’s who married Zeba a couple of years later.
Sabeeta (Sri Lanka)
She came, she saw and she gave tough competition to Pakistani stars Shabnam and Babra Sharif in the 80s. Not only was Sabeeta good looking, she could act as well. In fact, she stole the show in Bobby where she played two sides of the coin – soft as well as hard. She had hits like Kabhi Alwida Na Kehna, Zameen Asmaan, Rubi and Hungama to her credit and got to work with all the top directors of the country including Pervez Malik and Nazar Shabab.
Nazan Sanchi (Turkey)
Turkish actress Nazan Sanchi was an established name in her home country when she was approached to work in Pakistani films. With killer looks and ability to adapt, Nazan was adapted to Pakistani culture and made a name for herself with hits like Hulchul, Badla, Talash and Manila Ki Bijliyan, mainly working opposite Jawed Sheikh and Nadeem. She also became the brand ambassador for a leading soap and dominated the 80s before going back to her home country.
Rakhshanda Khattak (Burma)
Although she had a Pakistani father, she inherited her gorgeous looks from her Burmese mother and went onto make a name for herself in the field of modelling. However, when she appeared in Jane Bond 008: Operation Karachi – Pakistan’s first and only joint venture with Iran – her looks and sense of style made the audience go gaga. She left the industry soon after and settled in Canada before passing away in 2011.
Diana Christina (Indonesia)
Nazrul Islam’s Bandish is known for three things – the magical pairing of Nadeem – Shabnam, the soundtrack and Diana Christina the Indonesian actress who played Nadeem’s second wife in the movie. Although her dressing was according to the Indonesian culture, people in Pakistan found it revealing but that didn’t damage the film as she performed well in front of giants from Pakistan. Those who have seen the film haven’t forgotten her and whenever the songs of the film are played in Nayyara Noor’s voice, we recall the wonderful actress from the island.
Wiam Dahmani (Morocco)
Wiam Dahmani appeared in Shehzad Rafique’s Ishq Khuda in a major role and later as a dancer in Hotal but whenever she appeared on screen, the audience were compelled to look at her and her alone. She is not only an actor back home but also a successful singer and a presenter and we hope that she will be back in Pakistan one day to act in more projects.
Madeleine Hanna (Scotland)
Dance Kahani revolved around the life of Nuzhat (Madeleine Hanna) who visits Pakistan with her parents and makes it her home through Dance. The Scottish ballet and contemporary dancer did not speak much Urdu in the film however it was her reaction to her fellow actors that made her performance worth watching. As for the dancing skills, it was beyond anything the audience in Pakistan had ever scene.