Zeba Bakhtiar (born 5 November 1971) is a Pakistani film and television actress and director. She made her television debut with a PTV Karachi centre play, Anarkali. She gained a lot of fame through her Bollywood debut, Henna. She also gained media attention due to her marriage with Adnan Sami and the subsequent custody battles of her son.
Bakhtiar was born in Quetta, Pakistan to Yahya Bakhtiar, a prominent bureaucrat from Quetta, former Attorney General of Pakistan and a close confidant of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Sylvia Vallencanto, his Hungarian wife. Bakhtiar has lived her entire life in Pakistan and in an interview stated, "I consider myself Pakistani more but I respect my roots". She has two brothers, both doctors by profession living in the U.S, and a sister who is a corporate lawyer. She is of Pakistani, Persian Bakhtiari and Hungarian ancestry.
Bakhtiar got her initial education from a convent school in Quetta, and then attended Kinnaird College in Lahore, getting her bachelor's degree in law, but not completing her graduate degree. Although she was brought up in a very conservative environment, she never thought of becoming an actress and stated that it was by chance she became an actress.
Her performance in the TV play Anarkali, a sad love story, won her critical acclaim in Pakistan's entertainment world. The role of Anarkalihelped prepare her for her big screen debut with the hit movie Henna, (1991), produced by the Raj Kapoor banner in India. The movie was directed by Randhir Kapoor. Her work in Henna was widely appreciated, but it was her performance in the Pakistani film Sargam (1995) that won her the prestigious Nigar Award in Pakistan.
Zeba also gave excellent performances in the movies Mohabbat Ki Arzoo (1994), Stuntman (1994), Jai Vikraanta (1995), Muqadama (1996),Chief Sahib (1996), Qaid (1996) and Babu (2001). She proved herself an accomplished director in her directorial-debut movie, Babu, in 2001. Apart from movies, Zeba often took starring roles in major television serials, in which she brought new levels of intensity with her performances. For instance, in Laag she gave a memorable performance as the leader of the 'Kashmiri Independence Movement'. Her portrayal of a handicapped girl in Pehli See Mohabbat was just mind-boggling; likewise her performances in Lollywood films Kundi andSangam.
Zeba was married to singer Adnan Sami but separated in 1997. She now lives in Karachi, with her son Azaan, and continues to direct and produce television serials. However she and Adnan were never divorced.