Rani’s death from cancer, on 27th May 1993 ended a film career that spanned more than 30 years as a successful actress within the Pakistan film industry. The wedding between Sarfaraz Nawaz was Rani’s third marriage. They met during the 1980s when she went to London for treatment for her cancer. Sarfaraz Nawaz was, at that time, a popular Pakistani Test cricketer. During the years prior to their wedding, Sarfaraz Nawaz played 55 test matches as well as 45 one day internationals. During his cricketing career he was instrumental in introducing the reverse swing bowling to cricket. Rani, meanwhile, made her career in television and Pakistani films until her illness forced her to seek treatment abroad. From 1985 onwards Sarfaraz Nawaz became a politician: a member of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab.
Rani’s first film role came in 1961, in the film Mehboob where she was featured as a dancer. As her film career began to take off, she removed her last name of Mukhtar and proceeded to be known within the film world simply as Rani. In 1968 Rani was bestowed with the Nigar Award for her superb acting in the film Mera ghar meri jannat; in 1983 she was again achieved the Nigar Award as best actress in the film Sona Chandi. Rani also appeared on Pakistani television, taking part in Khwahish and Faraib, two major drama serials for television. In fact, over a period of 32 years, she remained on of Pakistan’s most versatile actresses.
Events Leading to Rani’s Trip to London
Rani hadn’t been married to her second husband, Mian Javed Quamar, for very long before she was diagnosed with cancer. Such was the impact of this devastating news on this new husband that, rather than support her through her illness, he divorced her. By now, Rani was extremely ill and chose to go to London for treatment. It was here that she met Sarfaraz Nawaz. Rani’s cancer did not seem to be an insurmountable problem to Sarfaraz Nawaz and their friendship blossomed into love, eventually marrying. As the wife of Sararaz Nawaz Rani, supported him when he decided to enter politics, often running his election campaigns. Rani, however, returned to her acting career and, eventually cracks began to emerge, culminating in another divorce.
Meanwhile, Rani’s own beloved mother, Iqbal Begum, was also seriously ill – and Rani’s cancer was really taking hold as well. Rani was admitted to hospital to be cared for during her last few weeks. Rani’s wish, however, was to live long enough to see her daughter, Rabia, married to Dr Anwar. Rani was able to attend her daughter’s wedding but, just a few days later, she passed away. Tragedy continued to dog Rani’s family: Iqbal Begum, Rani’s mother, died 33 days after Rani without even knowing that her daughter had died. Three months later Rani’s sister passed away. Iqbal Begum and Rani were buried side by side in Lahore, Pakistan at the Muslim Town cemetery there.