Zarina Wahab (born 17 July 1959) is an Indian actress who predominantly worked in Hindi and Malayalam films . Known for critically acclaimed roles in Chitchor and Gopal Krishna in the 1970s in Bollywood and later in early 1980s with hits like Madanolsavam, Chamaram, Palangal and Adaminte Makan Abu establishing herself in Malayalam Cinema.
Wahab was born in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh into a Muslim family. She is fluent in Telugu, Urdu (her mother tongue), Hindi and English. She was trained at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune. Wahab has three sisters and one brother.
After receiving negative feedback about her appearance from film producer Raj Kapoor, Wahab worked on her appearance and attended film parties and events. She eventually got noticed and was cast in films. She was usually cast as the middle-class, natural beauty. Wahab appeared in Basu Chatterjee’s Chit Chor (1976). Apart from this, she worked in Amol Palekar-Vijayendra starrer Agar’, followed by the Raj Babbar-starrer Zajbaat, the Arun Govil-starrer Sawan Ko Aane Do, the Vikram-starrer Raees Zada etc. She earned a Filmfare Award nomination as Best Actress for her role in Gharonda (1977). She has acted in Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, films.
Wahab made a comeback to Malayalam films with Calendar, in 2009. She has continued to act in Malayalam movies, being remembered for her role as the titular female character in the critically-acclaimed Adaminte Makan Abu. She appeared in My Name Is Khan as the mother of Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan’s character).
Wahab currently plays older roles in television serials.
Wahab met actor Aditya Pancholi on the sets of Kalank Ka Tika. They married in 1986 and have a daughter, Sana and son Sooraj. News of their turbulent marriage, her husband’s temper and rumors of infidelity have been in the gossip columns. Wahab’s daughter is an actress. Her son, Suraj, was arrested in June, 2013, for aiding and abetting the suicide of his girlfriend, Jiah Khan. He made his Bollywood debut with Sunil Shetty’s daughter Athiya Shetty in 2015 in the movie Hero.