Veteran TV actor Roohi Bano passed away after kidney failure in Istanbul today.
Known for her rich contributions to Pakistani TV dramas of the 1970-1980s, Roohi joined the TV industry whilst pursuing a psychology degree at the Government College, Lahore. Her appearance on a quiz competition led to a prolific TV career, starting with the Haseena Moin-penned Kiran Kahani.
Her growing stature as an actor in the ’70s led to her appearance in a few films such as Palki, Kainat and Goonj Uthi Shehnai but it was TV that she made her home ground. Her iconic performances like Qila Kahani, Zard Gulab, Hairatkada, Darwaza will forever be remembered as golden moments in Pakistan’s TV history.
She was awarded the Lux Style Unilever Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
Despite her obvious brilliance as an actor, Roohi’s career was cut short by personal tragedy and strife. After two unfulfilling marriages, she lost her only son to murder in 2005 — a loss she struggled to endure. In 2015, she also survived an attack on her life when her son’s friend reportedly attacked her for refusing to sell her Gulberg residence to him. She was being treated for schizophrenia at Lahore’s Fountain House on and off during the final decade of her life.
Speaking to Geo News, writer Amjad Islam Amjad ranked her highly among the female stars of her time, “Few could understand their characters as deeply as Roohi could.”
Actor Ghulam Moinuddin remembered her as “a truly great artist. She contributed greatly to Pakistani TV in the initial PTV era. It has to be said that all of us, including myself, often only remember our greats when they’re gone. We should remedy this.”
Her fans and admirers also paid her rich tribute on Twitter:
Brilliant talent, tragic life. Rest in peace, Roohi Bano, sleep soundly, dream well.
— Natasha (@OhTripe) January 25, 2019
Her life was a tableau of endless suffering. Her art an incandescent testament to her talent. The gift of genius came with an exacting price – she fell deeper into a crevasses of her unquiet mind. May she truly, finally, be in peace now #RoohiBano pic.twitter.com/4J54YLxR3Q
— Fasi Zaka (@fasi_zaka) January 25, 2019
May U finally be happy Roohi Ji…u had rare talent. but always so unsettled. so unhappy. u will be missed. ? https://t.co/3ByojI97KS
— Sana Bucha (@sanabucha) January 25, 2019
Rohi Bano the one I always wanted to meet , watching her dramas and admiring her acting was all what I wanted she will be missed I wish I had met you
— HUMAIMA MALICK (@HumaimaMalick) January 25, 2019
Roohi Bano, a great artist of yester years expires… suffering from kidney and mental illnesses. Mayher would rest in eternal peace. #RoohiBano. pic.twitter.com/aR0HYtINdV
— Maverick ?? (@Martial_Blood) January 25, 2019
The legendary #RoohiBano has left us for her eternal abode. With her demise, an entire era of acting has come to an end.
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) January 25, 2019
A wonderful artist #RoohiBano is no more. She led a tragic life. After attaining unprecedented fame, she faced personal problems that led to mental illness, abject poverty and a life spent in wilderness. May she finally find peace. God bless her soul. pic.twitter.com/0mfU4IqdUL
— Aly (@alynaseer) January 25, 2019
Goodbye Roohi Bano. Off screen you had a hard life. A very agonising hard life.May the Unknown be kind to you.
— Yaserrrrrr यासिर (@SeditiousHeart) January 25, 2019