Lahore, July 25: Pakistan-born daughter of Indian tabla maestro Alla Rakha has fallen on hard times, grappling with psychological problems and living in solitude since her only son was murdered eight years ago.
Roohi Bano, the half-sister of acclaimed musician Zakir Hussain, was back in the news recently after thieves stole Rs 1 million and some valuables from her house in Gulberg area of Lahore. A star of TV serials made in the 1970s and 1980s, Bano lost her only son Ali when he was shot dead in 2005 under mysterious circumstances at the age of 20.
Since then, she has lived alone, battling medical and psychological problems. Trash and old furniture lie strewn outside her home, which lacks basic amenities such as gas. The furniture inside is broken and the only working appliance Bano owns is her television. According to a report in The Express Tribune, Bano's mental state has deteriorated as she is unable to speak clearly or coherently.
"I just sit all day and watch television. I may clean up the house one day," a dishevelled Bano told the daily. Responding to calls from artistes in Lahore, the government has pledged to provide her financial support. Screenwriter Suraj Baba is at the forefront of efforts to bring Bano's plight to the knowledge of officials. He said he felt distressed after recently visiting her at her home.
"I request the government to provide her at least a maid and a security guard who can take care of her," he said. Baba is now trying reaching to mobilise the television fraternity to raise funds for Bano. The daughter of late Alla Rakha and a woman from Faisalabad, Bano witnessed the birth and golden age of Pakistan's television industry and worked in popular serials and dramas like "Darwaza", "Kiran Kahani" and "Zard Gulab".
She has won several awards, including the prestigious Pride of Performance. Bano was recently treated for psychological problems at Lahore's Fountain House and doctors say she has improved considerably. PML-N legislator Kanwal, also the Punjab government's adviser on culture, visited Bano and assured her that the government would provide her financial support.
Kanwal said the provincial government had allocated Rs 20 million for the welfare of artistes and another Rs 20 million had been sought for the same purpose.