Azra Sherwani

Azra Sherwani[1][2] (1940–2005) was a Pakistani television actress with a career spanning over 35 years who played a variety of roles.[3] Amongst her most memorable roles are Apa Begum in Tanhaiyaan, Ghazi Apa in Uncle Urfi and Fazeelat in Dhoop Kinarey.

Azra Sherwani
Azra Sherwani in Aangan Terha
Died19 December 2005 (aged 64 or 65)
Other namesApa Begum
OccupationTelevision actress
Known forDhoop Kinarey (1987)
Tanhaiyaan (1986)
Uncle Urfi (1972)
Aangan Terha
Spouse(s)Nafees Sherwani

Television career

She began her career with the Rawalpindi Studios of PTV in the late 1960s.[3]

Sherwani worked with some of the best producers in the country including Mohsin Ali, late Shereen Khan, late Shahzad Khalil, Sultana Siddiqui, Zaheer Khan and Sahira Kazmi.[3] She also worked with some of the best writers of her time including Fatima Surraiya Bajiya, Haseena Moin and Anwar Maqsood.[3]

The role of Apa Begum in Haseena Moin's Tanhaiyaan was undoubtedly the most famous of her career where Shahzad Khalil cast her as a tough taskmaster who ill-treated her employee, Buqrat, played by Jamshed Ansari. She logically argued (and winning in the end, of course) with him as to why he should get bus fare when walking can improve his health and solve the problem. Her character wanted her brother (Qazi Wajid as Faran) to marry a dominant woman which, fortunately, does not happen.

As Ghazi Apa in Uncle Urfi, she stood between the two love birds, quarrelled regularly with Hasnat Bhai (Jamshed Ansari again) and was the dominant force behind the extremely funny Shaheer Bhai (Qurban Jilani). Azra played the selfish mother of Sitara (Atiqa Odho) in Sitara Aur Mehr-un-nisa and the despised mother-in-law aka Saliha Begum of Mahboob Ahmed (Shakeel) in Aangan Terha with Bushra Ansari and Saleem Nasir as Akbar, the live-in Man Friday with a passion for classical dance.

Then she was the villainous Mai Jaina in Mera Naam Mangu in the early 1970s — a play about professional beggars — while she excelled in Haseena Moin's Parchaiyaan as part of a star cast comprising Rahat Kazmi, Sahira Kazmi, Shakeel and Talat Hussain. She held her own in Bajiya's Afshaan, with fellow cast members Shafi Mohammad, Shakeel, Qazi Wajid, Ishrat Hashmi and Begum Khurshid Mirza. In short, her histrionic talent set the standards for character acting on Pakistan television.

Azra Sherwani worked with actors of all generations — from Qazi Wajid, Subhani Ba Yunus, Imtiaz Ahmed, Begum Khurshid Mirza, Qurban Jilani, Shakeel, Shafi Mohammad, Talat Iqbal, Anwar Maqsood, Akbar Subhan, Behroze Sabzwari, Shahnaz Sheikh, Marina Khan, Ishrat Hashmi, Jamshed Ansari, Babar Ali, Mazhar Ali, Mishi Khan, Atiqa Odho, Sania Saeed, Sajid Hasan and Sadia Imam.

When the advent of private productions brought about the decline of quality plays on PTV, Azra Sherwani sustained for some time, working in plays such as Kanwal, Bajiya's Ghar Ik Nagar and Sultana Siddiqui's Doosri Duniya. Her most memorable role during the later part of her career was that of Khala Khairan in Riffat Humayun's serial of the same name. Her character was such that she quarrels with Qazi Wajid, a tenant in the house of Khala's folks who refuses to either leave or pay the rent.


Personal life

Sherwani was born in Meerut, India, according to family sources. She married Nafees Sherwani, Air Commodore in the Pakistan Air Force.

She died on 19 December 2005, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States.[3]


  1. "15 Famous Pakistani Dramas of All Time To Watch". DESIblitz. 10 July 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  2. "Old Pakistani TV drama 'Uncle Urfi' still rules over a million hearts". Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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