Shakila's seductive performances in the ever-popular club number Babuji Dheere Chalna and the fabulous torch song Hoon Abhi Main Jawaan made filmmakers sit up and notice this new talent.
Dinesh Raheja remembers the actress who passed into the ages on Wednesday.
Having begun her career in small roles in the early 1950s, Shakila was first noticed when she played the grey-shaded second lead to heroine Shyama in Aar Paar (1954), which Guru Dutt produced, directed and acted in.
Her seductive performances in the ever-popular club number Babuji Dheere Chalna and the fabulous torch song Hoon Abhi Main Jawaan (two O P Nayyar beauties sung by Geeta Dutt) made filmmakers sit up and notice this new talent.
Along with a flourishing career in fantasy films such as Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (opposite Mahipal) and Haatim Tai (opposite Jairaj), Shakila was also romantically paired opposite matinee idols like Raj Kapoor in Shriman Satyavadi and Dev Anand in CID; and was serenaded by 1960s sensation Shammi Kapoor with Baar Baar Dekho in China Town.
She worked consistently for a decade before giving up her career for marriage.
She is perhaps best remembered for the many lustrous songs picturised on her including Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishara Ho Gaya, Neend Na Mujhko Aaye, Zulfon Ki Ghata Lekar, Sau Baar Janam Lenge, Laagi Chhute Na Ab Toh Sanam and the burnished Lata Mangeshkar beauty Aye Mere Dil e Nadaan Tu Gham Se Na Ghabrana.
Shakila's younger sister Noor was married to the famous comedian, Johnny Walker.
Johnny's son Nasirr Khan, an actor in his own right, recalls, "My aunt featured in Aar Paar along with my father. Her younger sister Noor was paired opposite my father in the same film and they fell in love and subsequently got married."
"My aunt was a very lively, lovely, social person. She lived life to the fullest. She was a people's person. She always had a nice comment to make about my shows on TV. My father, like me, was extremely fond of Shakila aunty."
Her contemporary from the 1950s, actress Jabeen says, "I was watching Kaun Banega Crorepati on TV when I got a call from Waheeda (Rehman). She told me, 'I have some sad news. Shakila had passed away'."
"Waheeda, Shakila, Nanda and I were a group of four close friends. We would meet at least once in 10 days before I left for America. Shakila had worked with each of us at some point of time in her career -- with Waheeda in CID, with Nanda in Agra Road and with me in Hathkadi."
"Shakila had heard about me before we met because I had befriended her sister Noor when we worked together in Lutera."
Describing Shakila as a large-hearted, philanthropic woman, Jabeen recalls, "When I came down from America, I was living as a paying guest. But Shakila insisted I stay with her and extended me a warm welcome for two months."
"Recently, when I was hospitalised after a surgery, she came on a wheelchair to visit me despite her respiratory problems. It's a gesture I will remember forever."
"She was a truly wonderful soul who will be remembered for her good deeds and friendly disposition."