Shama Zaidi is an Indian costume designer, screenplay writer, art director, art critic, theater artist, and documentary filmmaker. She was born on the 25th of September in the year 1938. She is a native of the Indian town of Rampur. Her husband is M S Sathyu who is a filmmaker, art director, and a designer. He is known for his cult movie in Urdu called Garam Hawa. Shama is the daughter of the reputed politician and educationist Bashir Hussain Zaidi. Her mother’s name is Qudsia Zaidi who is an associate of the theater personality and communist ideologue
. Shama has two brothers.
Both her parents were active parts of the communist movement in India and hence, Shama grew up in an aura which was strongly left-wing. She did her schooling in Mussoorie’s Woodstock School. She did her college from the esteemed Delhi University's Miranda College. She has a degree of Bachelors in English Literature. She also has a diploma from the Slade School of Art situated in the city of London. The diploma is in Stage Design. Shama Zaidi was an Art Critic for Patriot and Shankar’s Weekly’s The Statesman which is published in
. She wrote multiple articles on television, theater and film for Cinema in India, Cinema Vision and much more.
During her school life in Mussoorie, she became interested in costume design and various extensive theater activities. Due to the influence of her mother, who was the founder of Hindustani Theater along with Habib Tanvir, Shama became interested in stage activities. In her college, Miranda House, she started taking an active interest in Hindustani Theater and her college’s theater group. After her diploma in London, she worked in Germany as an apprentice in film, stage and TV design to Herr Heckroth at the Frankfurt Municipal Theater. Herr Heckroth was the famous designer of the brand Red Shoes Hoffman's Tales, etc.
In the year 1961, she returned to New Delhi. In the capital city, she worked as a costume designer for the Hindustani Theater. In the year 1965, she shifted to the Bollywood city of Mumbai. She worked in Mumbai as a designer, writer, performer and director for IPTA – Indian People’s Theater Association. From the year 1980 onwards, she started designing more for films and television, losing her interest in the theater. Her work can be seen in numerous hit movies and long-running television shows. While working as a designer, her interest in other aspects of the industry resurfaced. She started taking up a few projects as a writer.