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Entertainment

August 15, 2016
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Shamim Ara played differently in the golden days of Lollywood

Shamim Ara played differently in the golden days of Lollywood

KARACHI: Shamim Ara played a symbolic role in depicting the cultural life of lower class and middle-class families where middle-class Pakistani women were living under huge social pressure but they never compromised their principles for a better living.

The film critics underline her famous movies where she had played roles of an educated Pakistani girl who struggle for a kind of 'salvation' while valuing the aspirations of her lover but never violated the norms and a certain ethos of the society that never allowed a heroine to violate the essential social values in owning her lover. A lover that could sacrifice all social values still is bound by his heroine to maintain silence in front of people and society. Still due to her dialogue delivery and style to convince the hero mattered a lot and a dejected hero is obliged to respect the values set by his heroine (not by the society) and the way she played such roles set a different trend and later most of the heroines followed the same style. In her famous film where she is a dancer she convinced a notorious dacoit (in 'Aag ka darya') to give up criminal life and start a life like a genlteman but the society (police) did not permitted him to live such life (as they have some other alternatives) and killed him. 

Shamim Ara is regarded as a memorable figure and legendary actress of the golden days of Pakistani film industry when films produce great impact on the society. These were the days when young girls used to copy Shamim Ara in terms of style, way of talking and cladding dresses. She proved to be the Lollywood actress of 50s and 60s when her name had become a symbol of success.

A senior poet and film critic, Zia Shahzad who instantly created four poetic lines paying homage to the late actress said “She was not from the elite class or any influential class of the country and rather came from a poor background where dancing was the only source of earning livelihood but she broke the barriers and emerged as a legendary actress in her lifetime.”

Zia Shahzad further says that Shamim Ara also proved her talents in the field production and direction and emerged as a very good director. It was the first movie of a famous actress Nisho titled ‘Angaare’ that was directed by Shamim Ara. Shamim Ara also acted as elder sister of Nisho in that film, Shahzad adds.

Shahzad in his poetry termed Shamim Ara as an exemplary actress of Pakistan that played shy characters but bold and courageous. In this way she projected the inner beauty of the characters she played in a large number of films. In her films the girls were showed more civilized and cultured and resisting negativity. Due to such films, a trend of preferring beauty of inner and a kind of social role instead of liking beauty for the sake of beauty. He pointed out that when she was on her peak as famous actress, the girls had started mimicking her speech, her make-up and her hairstyle.

He argued that in a film (titled ‘Aag ka darya’) a dancer forced a dacoit to live a family life. The man who had kidnapped her finally fell into love and got married to her and gave up robbing people.

Shamim Ara born in 1938 in Aligarh, India. Her mother was a famous dancer and she named her ‘Putli’ and used to teach her dancing at her early age. Later ‘Putli Bai’ changed her name and emerged as Shamim Ara in 1956. Interestingly Shamim Ara’s (Pultli) along with her family had come to Karachi in 1956 to visit some of her relative and by chance a film director namely Najam Naqvi (migrated from India) saw her and offered  to play the lead role of his film titled ‘Kanwari baiva’ and as she accepted the offer. From that day she changed her name and became Shamim Ara.

In the same year, director Roop k. Shori along with filmmaker J.C. Anand signed in their film titled ‘Miss 56’ as a side heroine opposite Aslam Pervez and in that film her role was highly commended by the people. A senior (showbiz) journalist, Ilyas Rahseedi had advised her to settle in Lahore and she followed the advice and singed a lot films over there.

Her acting career spanned from the late 1950s till the early 1970s. She also got popularity for her leading role in the then West Pakistan's first color motion picture toitled Naila(1965). In most of her films like ‘Naila’, ‘Aneela’, ‘Devdas’, ‘Salgirah’, ‘Doraha’, ‘Saeli’, ‘Hamraz’, ‘Aag ka daria’, ‘Qaidi’ and many others,  she played traffic roles that went home to people who loved seeing Pakistani films.

 The first full length color motion picture titled Sangam  was released in1964) in the defunct East Pakistan. She was such an actress who offered films from famous directors and producers including Anwar Kamal Pasha and SM Yousuf and she worked with almost all the famous film stars of their times including Muhammad Ali, Santosh, Darpan, Waheed Murad, Sabiha Khanum, Zeba, Nayyar Sultana, Noor Jahan, Nisho and many others. It was she who performed on the famous poetic lines created by great Faiz Ahmed Faiz stating ‘Mujhe se pehli si mahabat mere mehboob na maang’ in a film titled ‘Qaidi’. The lines composed by Rasheed Attray were sung by Madam Noor Jahan.

In 2010, Shamim Ara who got seriously ill (suffered of a brain hemorrhage) was taken to London by her son for medical treatment.

In 1968 she produced her first film titled Saiqa (1968). She directed a number of films titled ‘Jeo Aur Jeenay Do’, ‘Munda Bigra Jaye’, ‘ Playboy’, ‘Miss Hong Kong’ , ‘Miss Singapore’ ,‘Miss Colombo’, ‘Lady Smuggler’, ‘Lady Commando’, ‘Aakhri Mujra’, ‘ Baita’, ‘Haathi, Mere Saathi’,  ‘Hum To Chaley Susral’  and others.

Shamim Ara, was first married to Sardar Rind, a landlord of Balochistan, who later died in a car accident. Later she got married to a film director Fareed Ahmed, son of renowned film director W.Z Ahmed but this marriage soon ended in divorce. Then she married to another film writer, director and filmmaker Dabeer Hussain. Dabeer Hussain also wrote screenplays of a lot of films directed by Shamim Ara. He remained with her till her illness and leaving the country for medical treatment. Shamim Ara passed away on Friday in London after a protracted illness. She was 78.

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