17 June, 2021

Uzra Bhatt

The dancer-actress is happy to be in Lahore, says Muslims are kings there.

Prashant Panjiar
Uzra Bhatt

QAIDIYON ki tarah apne hi mulq mein aati hoon. Thaane par peshiyan karni padti hain. Visa nahin dete hain . (I come like a convict to my land, submitting to police checks et al.) For God's sake I used to live in Bombay till 1960 till personal compulsions forced us to migrate. My husband Hameed sahib wasn't keeping well, his entire family had settled in Lahore. Hence the shift. I didn't want to go. Resisted the notion for two years before finally following my husband.

My sister Zohra and I were working with Prithviraj Kapoor's Prithvi Theatre in Bombay in 1947. There was hardly any rioting there. We never felt threatened though Prithviraj received anonymous letters asking him to dismiss the Muslim girls from his troupe. We just laughed. Went out in the streets to sing and dance in peace processions along with other artists. That bebaaq (fearless) attitude probably saved us.

On one occasion all Muslim ladies living on Marine Drive were asked to shift to Bhopal for safety. We refused. Finally it was decided we'd hide in bank vaults in an...

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