She had in fact started her career doing children's programmes in All India Radio. But gradually she picked up acting and singing. She played second lead role in films like 'Hamari Baat', 'Dard' and 'Anmol Shadi'. Stars like Devika Rani, Noorjehan and dancer Mumtaz Ali were the main performers. But in the late 40s, she gave three hits 'Pyar Ki Jeet', 'Badi Bahen' and 'Dillagi' in a row. The latter film fetched her a lot of praise and appreciation and she became the highest paid actress of that time. But soon her films started doing badly and she lost that charm. It was with Sohrab Modi's 'Mirza Ghalib' that she again was able to make her presence felt. She also did six movies with Dev Anand but none fared well on the box-office. Their legendary love had to undergo many hardships and they parted ways. With that even Suraiya started keeping a very low profile for herself.
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Suraiya neither had those drop-dead good looks nor that melodious voice. But the twist of fate brought her giddying fame and fortune because of her simple looks and voice. No one had anticipated this and what happened was pure miracle. Suraiya was one of the most sensational actresses of her time.