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January 4, 2019

Lok Virsa to screen classical film ‘Saiqa’ tomorrow


January 4, 2019

Islamabad : Recently Working Women Day was celebrated around the world. In Pakistani cinema, Noorjehan and Shamim Ara remain the two icons.

Shamim Ara migrated from India in the 50s. Her acting debut came in Karachi with Director Najam Naqvi's Kahwari Beeva in 1956. The film was disaster of the year.

All other newcomers would have been instantly dumped, forgotten and forgiven (in films, you are only as good as your last film) but Not Shamim Ara. Under the wings of her grandmother (Nanni), she stood up firm and determined to the hard times, and went on to play sidekicks in ‘Miss 56’, ‘Alam Ara’, ‘Faisla’, ‘Raaz’, ‘Savera’, ‘Apna Parya’, ‘Bhabi’, ‘Izzat’, ‘Do Ustad’ and ‘Roopmati Bazbahadur’. Shamim Ara's big break came in 1960, Diretor S. M. Yousaf who had earlier made name for himself with family weepiest (Gumashta, Mehndi) in Mumbai migrated to Lahore and made it big with his first film in Pakistan Saheli. Shamim Ara appeared with Nayyar Sultana. Next year, in 1961, when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Nigar Award, she flatly refused to accept the award adamant that she played the lead. There was now no looking back. Shamim Ara went on to win laurels in ‘Zamana Kia Kehey Ga’, ‘Qaidi’, ‘Seema’, ‘Dulhan’, ‘Eik Tera Sahara’, ‘Chingari’, ‘Haveli’,’ Farangi’. And then came producer Agha G. A, Gul and Director Sharif Nayyar's first colour film from Lahore ‘Naila’. Based on Razia Butt's bestseller with Santosh Kumar and Darpan. Shamim Ara played the dramatic lead who goes for a suicide when she is forced to marry against her will. With ‘Naila’, Shamim Ara pretty much received all what she ever dreamed and wanted as a leading actress. Of course she went on to reign in ‘Lakhon Mein Eik’, ‘Dil Mara Dharkan Teri’, ‘Salgirah’ and ‘Mera Ghar Meri Jannat’. With Zeba, Shabnam and Rani around getting the leads, it was time for the lady to move over.

And this came with Shamim Ara's debut in her own production ‘Saiqa’ in September 1968. She did not direct this maiden venture but gave it to novice Laeeq Akhtar who had been assisting her guru Najam Naqvi.

Lok Virsa Mandwa Film Club is gracing the screen with ‘Saiqa’ on Saturday (January 5) at 3 p.m. Based on Razia Butt's novel (like earlier ‘Naila’), Shamim Ara plays the unlucky girl child, hated and despised by the Nawab family. She was supported here by Mohammad Ali, Ragni, Lehri and Darpan and Talish. Apart from its production values in which it still excels even after 50 years of its initial release (screenplay, cinematography, sound, set decor and editing), it is Nisar Bazmi's score which spells magic with ‘Eik sitam aur sahi’ and ‘Ai baharo gawah rehna.’ ‘Saiqa’ won awards for Best Film (Shamim Ara), Best Script (Razia Butt), Best Dialogue (Masroor Anwar), Best Actress (Shamim Ara), Best Actor (Mohammad Ali), Best Lyricist (Masroor Anwar), Best Comedian (Lehri) and best Singer (Mehdi Hassan). With all these distinction, ‘Saiqa’ remains the best film from 1968.

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