indian cinema heritage foundation


  • Real Name: Vidya Rani
  • Born: 1926
  • Died: 26 January, 1952 (Godwar, Rajasthan)
  • Primary Cinema: Hindi

A forgotten actress of the Hindi film industry, Zubeida worked in only three films in her short career from 1937-49, with her last film remaining unfinished.

Zubeida was born in a Bohra Muslim family to parents Kassimbhai Mehta and Faiza Bai, in 1926. Her mother Faiza Bai was a famous singer. Extremely beautiful, Zubeida started acting in films in 1937. She worked in two films Aurat Ki Zindagi (1937) and Kiski Pyari (1937) before having an arranged marriage. Zubeida later divorced her husband when he asked her to come to Pakistan after the Partition. The couple had a son named Khaled Mohammed, a well-known film critic and writer. 

During the filming of Nirdosh Abla (1949), she met and fell in love with Maharaja Hanwant Singh of Jodhpur. The Maharaja was already married but they tied the knot anyway and Zubeida moved to Jodhpur leaving the film, Nirdosh Abla, unfinished. She later converted to Hinduism in a private ceremony in 1950 and changed her name to Vidya Rani. The couple had a son named Rao Raja Hukum Singh who was later raised by the first wife of the Maharaja.
Zubeida aka Vidya Rani and Mahraja Hukum Singh died in a tragic plane crash in 1952 in Godwar, Rajasthan.


1. Forgotten Artists of Early Cinema and The Same Name Confusion by Arunkumar Deshmukh and Prof Surjit Singh

  • Filmography (1)