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Singing sensation Suraiya passes away

Last updated on: January 31, 2004 14:18 IST
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Superstar singer-actress of the 1940s and 50s, Suraiya, is no more.

She was admitted to the Harkishandas Hospital, Mumbai, for various health problems, including loss of appetite, low blood sugar and general weakness. She passed away in her sleep around 0925 hrs, on January 31, after a brief illness, hospital sources said. She was 75.

Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh first appeared as the young Mumtaz Mahal in Taj Mahal. Thereon, she went on to sing for composer and mentor Naushad in Sharda (1941), who then used her singing talent in Station Master, Kanoon and Sanjog.

Singer-actor K L Saigal who took a great liking for her voice, recommended her as a heroine in Tadbir (1945). The duo then acted together in Omar Khayyam (1946) and Parwana (1947). She worked with the biggest stars of the time, including Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand.

Suraiya's offscreen relationship with Dev Anand was widely known. She worked in six films with her favourite Gregory Peck lookalike. It is said that during the shooting of a song, a boat capsized and Anand saved Suraiya from drowning. That sparked her affections. Her grandmother is said to have opposed their relationship.

Suraiya stopped acting at the age of 39, after acting in 60 odd films.

The funeral will begin from her Marine Drive apartment Krishna Mahal, at 1300 hrs.

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