Esther Victoria Abraham Wiki, Age, Death, Husband, Children, Family, Biography & More

Esther Victoria AbrahamEsther Victoria Abraham (1916-2006) was an Indian model, actor, and the first female film producer in the Hindi film industry. [1]Get Bengal She is known for winning the first Miss India contest in 1947. She died on 6 August 2006 due to old-age-related ailments.


‘Esther Victoria Abraham’ was born as Pramila on Saturday, 30 December 1916 (age 90 years; at the time of death) in Calcutta, British India (now Kolkata, India). She did her schooling at Calcutta Girls High School and then shifted to St. James School due to the affordable fee structure. She attained a bachelor’s degree in arts from Cambridge University. Soon after completing her studies, she started working as a kindergarten teacher at the Talmud Torah Boys. [2]This Day

Esther Victoria Abraham in her youth

Esther Victoria Abraham in her youth

Physical Appearance

Height (approx.): 5′ 5″

Hair Colour: Dark Brown

Eye Colour: Black

Esther posing


Esther Victoria Abraham belonged to a Baghdadi Jewish family, who were settled around the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea trade ports.

Parents & Siblings

Esther’s father, Reuben Abraham, was a Kolkata-based Jewish businessman, and her mother, Matilda Issac, was a Jewish lady from Karachi; Matilda Issac was the second wife of Reuben Abraham. Esther had six siblings and three half-siblings.

Husband & Children

Esther Victoria Abraham first got married at the age of seventeen to Maniklal Dangi. The couple had a son together. However, their marriage lasted for less than a year. She got married for the second time in 1939 at the age of 22 to Syed Hassan Ali Zaidi, who was known as ‘Kumar.’ The couple had three sons named Akbar, Asghar, and Haider, and a daughter named Naqi. Haider is a screenplay writer, who is known for writing the screenplay for the film ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ (2008). Naqi is a model, who got married to a Gujarati businessman. Later, she started living with her five children in India after her husband moved to Pakistan from Lucknow.


Esther followed Judaism.



At the age of 17, Esther left her home in Kolkata and started working as a dancer with a Parsi travelling theatre company in Mumbai. Later, She played courageous stunt roles in about 30 films, debuting in the film ‘Bhikarin’ (1935). She appeared in many hit films including ‘Ulti Ganga’ (1942),

Esther's film Ulti Ganga (1942)

Esther’s film Ulti Ganga (1942)

‘Bijli’ (1939), ‘Basant’ (1942), ‘Jungle King’ (1959), ‘Bahana’ (1960), and ‘Bade Nawab Saheb’ (1944).

Poster of film 'Bade Nawab Saheb' (1994)

Poster of film ‘Bade Nawab Saheb’ (1994)

Her final performance as a lead actress was in the film ‘Murad’ in 1964. In 2006, Esther played the cameo role of a grandmother in the film ‘Quest.’

Esther with Quest director Amol Palekar

Esther with Quest director Amol Palekar

First Miss India

At the age of 31, Esther Victoria Abraham was crowned the first Miss India pageant in 1947. She was pregnant with her fifth child when she won the title. In an interview, she talked about this and said,

The title was okay—it didn’t really mean much to me then. It only became important 20 years later.” [3]ScoopWhoop

After winning the title of Miss India, she became popular and featured in many magazines in the ’30s and ’40s. In an interview, she talked about the fame that she received after winning the Miss India title and said,

At that time, it (the Miss India pageant) was more of a popular-face contest, and since I was on the cover of most magazines in those days, I was chosen. In those days, the rules and regulations had still not been formally laid down.” [4]Feminism in India

Esther Victoria Abraham

Esther Victoria Abraham


In 1942, Esher and her husband, Zaidi, established their production company called ‘Silver Productions.’ She started to raise funds for her films and produced 16 films under her banner Silver Productions. She is considered the first successful woman film producer in India. She extensively travelled across the country to promote her films.

Poster of film 'Naseeb'

Poster of film ‘Naseeb’


Esther was accused of being a Pakistani spy

Esther Victoria Abraham was once jailed by the then Prime Minister of India Morarji Desai on the impression of being a Pakistani spy because of her regular visits to Pakistan. However, it was later proved that she used to travel for the promotion of her films.


On 6 August 2006, Esther Victoria Abraham, at the age of 90, took her last breath in Mumbai.


  • Esther was good in both studies and sports. Her master game was hockey for which she won many prizes.
  •  After 20 years of winning the Miss India title, Esther’s daughter Naqi won the same title in 1967, making them the first mother-daughter duo to win the crown.
  • Esther adopted Islam and changed her name to ‘Shabnam Begum Ali’ after her second marriage to Zaidi. [5]Feminism in India
  • In 2022, her pictures were portrayed on the walls of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi to layer up a unique cultural connection between India and Israel. [6]The Sunday Guardian

    Esther's pictures portrayed in Delhi

    Esther’s pictures portrayed in Delhi