She came from a conservative Muslim family but actor Shyama, who passed away yesterday, "lived her life on her own terms", daughter Shirin said today. Shyama, best known for her roles in Guru Dutt's "Aar Paar" and "Sharada", defied the norms by taking up acting and marrying a Parsi at a young age. Shirin said her mother continued working even after her marriage and children. "She loved life and the industry. She didn't come to Bollywood for money but for the love of cinema. She gave her whole life to films. But when she decided she didn't want to do it any more, she quit. She lived life on her own terms. I think God was looking after her," Shirin told PTI. "Nobody could tell her what to do. She was a strong- willed lady," she added. Shyama was born as Khurshid Akhtar in Lahore in 1935. It was director Vijay Bhatt who gave her the stage name Shyama. She died in Mumbai yesterday early morning at her residence in south Mumbai. She was 82. She married renowned cinematographer Fali Mistry, who passed away in 1979.
Besides Shirin, the couple has two sons -- Faroukh and Rohinton. Shirin said unlike the female stars of her era, Shyama carefully planned her finances. "She had secured her life. Thank God for that because a lot of times industry people make bad decisions. They are left penniless but luckily she was sensible and took good decisions." Shyama made her debut as a teenager in a qawwali number in Shaukat Hussain Rizvi's "Zeenat" (1945) and had over 150 films to her credit. JP Dutta's "Hathyar" (1989) was her last film. Even after leaving the industry, Shyama remained in touch with her friends, including scriptwriter Salim Khan. "Salim uncle used to be her pillar of strength. They were best friends. She stayed in touch with her friends like Ameeta aunty and Shakila aunty, who passed away recently." Shirin said her mother loved watching films till the very end and Amitabh Bachchan's 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' was one of her favourite TV shows. Shyama fell sick only recently but the family had hoped that she would pull through. "She was diagnosed with lung infection but we thought she is going to get better. She was improving. We were hoping she would come out of it," she said.
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