Instep Today

Filmfare’s Pakistani connection

Instep Today
By Sadiq Saleem
Thu, 12, 15

Pakistani talent brimming in the Indian film industry may sound like a recent phenomenon but this exchange started decades ago. If the footsteps of Pakistani talent across the border is traced, one comes across names like Mohammad Ali, Zeba, Talat Hussain, Humayun Saeed, Moammar Rana, Sana, Meera and Veena Malik, who, at one point in their careers, tried to taste the salt of the Bollywood sea but were not successful.

INSTEPOverVIEW

Instep takes a look at Pakistani artists who brought the black lady home.

Pakistani talent brimming in the Indian film industry may sound like a recent phenomenon but this exchange started decades ago. If the footsteps of Pakistani talent across the border is traced, one comes across names like Mohammad Ali, Zeba, Talat Hussain, Humayun Saeed, Moammar Rana, Sana, Meera and Veena Malik, who, at one point in their careers, tried to taste the salt of the Bollywood sea but were not successful. On the other hand, there are names like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, Ali Zafar and Fawad Khan who cracked the code and made quite a mark in the competitive play-field of Bollywood.

As Filmfare awards are just around the corner, Instep digs into the archives and tracks many Pakistani artists who had brought the coveted trophy home or were nominated in the main categories. Surprisingly most of the winners (and nominees) won big in their respective debut year.

Nazia Hassan

Feroze Khan spotted a barely fourteen Nazia Hassan at a party in London where he advised her to have an audition with Biddu for a song in his 1980’s super hit Qurbani.  The original pop diva of Pakistan took India by storm when she sang the club anthem ‘Aap Jaisa Koi’. Nazia’s magical voice won her the Filmfare Award for the Best Singer Female in 1981 and the rest is history. Interestingly, Nazia still holds the record of the youngest winner of the Filmfare Award in the singing category to date.

Two years later, she received another nomination for the song ‘Boom Boom’ from the film Star starring Kumar Gaurav, but she lost this to another aspiring Pakistani in Bollywood, any guesses?

Salma Agha

It was Salma Agha who won for the melancholic ‘Dil Ke Arman’ from the film Nikaah that year. Agha created all sorts of history in 1982 as three of her songs received nominations in the Best Singer category (the other two were ‘Fazaa bhi hai Jawaan’ & ‘Dil Ki Yeh Arzoo’). This blue-eyed beauty was touted to be one of the most gorgeous discoveries of B.R Chopra (the elder brother of Yash Chopra) of that time. Besides winning the award for the best singer, Salma Agha was also a strong contestant in the Best Actress category for her debut film Nikaah.  Sadly, she lost that to Padmini Kolhapure who won that year for her role of a child-widow in Prem Rog. She received another Filmfare nomination in the singing category for the song ‘Jhoom Jhoom Baba’ from Qasam Paida Karne Wale Ki.

Zeba Bakhtiyar

Though Zeba did not win the black trophy but she created quite an impact in her debut film Henna for which she received the Filmfare Best Actress nomination. Henna was an ambitious project of Raj Kapoor who died during the making of this film and was later captained by his son Randhir Kapoor. Though Zeba’s career did not see another high after Heena, she went on to reserve her place as the last RK’s heroine, a status revered by many. The biggest blockbuster of 2015, Bajrangi Bhaijaan was loosely based on the same plot as Henna.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was the third Pakistani to receive the coveted Filmfare Award in the singing category. His victory came three decades after Salma Agha’s sweet success. Rahat was first nominated in 2010 for his song ‘Aaj Din Charya’ from Love Aaj Kal but he won his award in the year 2011 for the song ‘Dil Toh Bacha Hai Ji’ from Ishqiya. That year Rahat was also nominated for another song: ‘Sajda’ from My Name is Khan. Another Pakistani singer, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan made it to the list of nomination for ‘Bin Tere’ from I Hate Luv Stories. In 2011, Rahat made it to the list again for his song ‘Teri Meri‘ from Salman Khan starter Bodyguard, in 2012.

Fawad Khan

It takes an actor like Fawad Khan to bring the coveted Filmfare acting trophy to Pakistan. His old world charm and unmatchable charisma set him apart from the crowds in Bollywood and he became an overnight sensation with his debut film Khoobsurat opposite Sonam Kapoor. His acting abilities and popularity across the border won him the Filmfare Best Debut Male in 2015. The decision took the industry by surprise as Tiger Shroff had been winning in this category at other ceremonies. Fawad also happens to be the only Pakistani to grace the solo cover of the Filmfare Magazine which read ‘The Cross Border Turk - who is giving our heroes sleepless nights’. And we just cannot agree more.

2016 will witness the much talked about debut of Mahira Khan in Raees as none other than SRK’s leading lady. Mawra Hocane is also sailing in the same boat as her film releases early next year. The first look of her film Sanam teri Kasam is already out and looks quite interesting. Whether the Filmfare stock-count in Pakistan will increase, I guess we will have to wait and watch.

Sadiq Saleem, is a UAE based entertainment journalist. He can be contacted on his page fb/sidsaidso.