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May 15, 2018

Tribute to Sabiha Khanum, Santosh Kumar


May 15, 2018

Islamabad: With no screenings in the next few weeks due to Ramazan, Mandwa Film Club of Lok Virsa arranged last screening of the season on Saturday. This came with a tribute to legendary movie couple Sabiha Khanum and Santosh Kumar with Punjabi film ‘Naji’.

Whenever history of Pakistani films is discussed, names of Sabiha Khanum and Santosh Kumar always take the lead. They were seen separately in many hits but their chemistry together in main leads had its own magic. So much so that their names together almost always meant box office gold (as was the case with Noorjehan's playback for Punjabi films in the seventies, eighties and even early-nineties. Sabiha and Santosh gave us memorable hits with titles like ‘Qatil’, ‘Saat Lakh’, ’Mosiqar’, ’Wadah’, ‘Mukhra’ and ‘daman.’

During this journey, reel life became real life and they became life-long partners (even though Santosh was married to dedicated housewife Jamila). Credit must go to Santosh who kept marital balance between two homes. However, by late-fifties and early-sixties, Shamim Ara, Nayyar Sultana, Mohammad Ali, Zeba and Waheed Murad became bankable names. While Sabiha moved into playing supporting and young -to-old roles (‘Kaneez’, ‘Shikwa’), Santosh could still leave heroes, half-of-his age, yards behind in ‘Ghunghat’, ‘Chingari’, ‘Haveli’, ‘Seema’, ‘Naila’ and ‘Anjuman.’ With the passage of time, as still more stars taking front seats, Santosh passed away and Sabiha after her tour de force performance in ‘Eik Gunah Aur Sahi’, was seen less and less as grandmother and still later joint her family in the United States. This is just about as happy end as you can get on Sabiha-Santosh tribute.

Sabiha and her father Mohammad Ali jointly produced Punjabi film ‘Naji ‘with Sabiha, Santosh, Zeenat, Ghulam Mohammad and Rakshi in the cast. This musical hit revolving around village girl-city boy from 1959 was directed by Sabiha and Santosh favourite Qadeer Ghori. Composer Safdar Hussain brought us several unforgettable melodies rendered by Zubaida Khanum and Munir Hussain:

‘Rataan kalian’ (Zubaida Khanum-Munir Hussain), ‘mera jeevey dhola’ (Zubaida Khanum), ‘charya maheena’ (Zubaida Khanum). -- [email protected]

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