In October 2010, she had suffered brain hemorrhage and was admitted to a Lahore hospital.
Later she was taken to London for treatment by her family and was reportedly in a coma as of 2014.
Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, then prime minister in 2010, inquired after Shamim Ara had given her a cheque of Rs0.5 million. He had also directed doctors to take special care of the artiste.
She was born Putli Bai in 1938 in Aligarh, India. Shamim Ara was her filmi name. Her acting career spans from late 1950s till early 1970s.
Shamim Ara debut in film industry with Kunwari Bewah in 1956. She also essayed a minor role in Anarkali in 1958 starring Noor Jehan as Anarkali and Shamim Ara as her younger sister Surayya. In year 1960 she acted in film Saheli in a major role that advanced her acting career. A song of Qaidi (1962) “Mujh Se Pehli Si Muhabbat Meray Mehboob Na Maang” written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and sung by Madam Noor Jehan made Shamim Ara a real star and she had become a household name. She essayed title role in Pakistan’s first color film Naila in 1965. She went on to star in many hit films including Devdas, Doraha, Humraz, Chingari, Farangi, Aag Ka Darya, Lakhon Mein Eik, Saiqa and Salgirah were landmarks in her career securing her a position as the top actress of the 1960s decade in Pakistani film industry. Saiqa was also her first film as producer, which was based on a novel of Razia Butt.
She also performed in two Punjabi films Jaidaad (1959) and Tees Maar Khan (1989).
Her acting career came to a halt when she retired as a leading lady in the early 1970s. But that did not stop her from being a part of the Pakistani film industry as she pioneered to produce and direct films on her own. She directed first time in 1976 a film Jeo Aur Jeenay Do.
Shamim Ara was married to film director Dabeer Hussain and they were living in Lahore until 2010 when she was taken ill and was taken to London for treatment.