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FATIMA BEGUM (1892-1983)

Fatima Begum was an actor and India’s first female film director. She was probably born into an aristocratic family of the Princely State of Sachin in Gujarat and in 1906 she married the Nawab of Sachin. She was the mother of actors like Zubeida (q.v.) Sultana and Shehzadi. She first appeared on the Urdu stage, then shifted to the new medium of films, appearing in Ardeshir Irani’s silent film, Veer Abhimanyu in 1922. In 1926 she became India’s first female director when she directed Bulbul-e-Paristan. That year she established Fatima Films which was renamed Victoria-Fatima Films in 1928. Here she wrote, directed and produced her own films, while also acting at Kohinoor Studios and Imperial Studios. The last film in which she acted was Duniya Kya Hai? (1938). Her legacy was carried on by her daughter Zubeida.
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