Earlier known as Akhtaribai, she married a barrister from Lucknow, Ishtiaq Ahmed Abbasi and started to be known as Begum Akhtar. Later on, the Indian government posthumously awarded her two of the highest awards of the country-Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for her contribution in the world of music. This later got her the title of Mallika-e-Ghazal.
Begum Akhtar delivered her first public performance at the tender age of 15 and received appreciation from famous poet Sarojini Naidu for her singing at a concert organised to provide aid to 1934 Nepal-Bihar natural disaster victims. Despite the personal agony, Begum Akhtar's mother recognized her daughter's gift at a young age. Due to family restrictions, Begum Akhtar could not sing for nearly five years.
# She did her first stage performance at the age of 15, and won accolades from the Nightingle Of India, Sarojini Naidu for her singing talent. She was in the city for a concert and fell ill while staging a performace.
It was Ustad Ata Mohammed Khan who discovered Akhtari's affinity for deeply emotional styles of thumri, dadra and ghazal gayaki and proceeded to train her in those. Her last movie stint was that of a classical singer in Satyajit Ray's film "Jalsa Ghar".
# In the 1930s, she also got the opportunity to act in films thanks to her unmissable beauty.
During her last concert in Ahmedabad, she raised the pitch of her voice as she felt that her singing had not been as good as she had wanted it to be and she felt unwell. Then she was taken to the hospital where she declared as dead.
Begum Akhtar moved back to Lucknow after a while where the renowned director Mehboob Khan approached her for a film titled "Roti".