Journey of films: the bygone days | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Journey of films: the bygone days

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: These days there’s so much talk about revival of the Pakistan film industry. For some, it did not go anywhere. It is right here, somewhat ignored, in the form of colourful, gaudy posters and photographs, reminding us of a film fraternity that once took immense pride in its extravagant form of filmmaking. Guddu Khan is one such collector of film advertisements for whom the past of Pakistani films can be archived but not deemed redundant. An exhibition from Khan’s personal archives of posters and pictures titled ‘Filmistan — Jaane Kahan Gaey Woh Din’, in collaboration with Cineaste One and Mohammed Ali Hakeem, opened at the Alliance Francaise on Saturday.

Three of the exhibits on display at the Alliance Francaise on Saturday.—White Star
THREE of the exhibits on display at the Alliance Francaise on Saturday.—White Star
The exhibition is worth visiting for quite a few reasons, foremost of which is the fact that apart from detailing the kind of artworks that were traditionally used for film promotions, it gives the viewer a decent account of the history of films made on this side of the Wagah border. For example, you cannot miss the poster for the first Sindhi language feature film titled Umar Marvi. Directed by Sheikh Hassan and released in 1956, its cast included Syed Hussain Ali Shah Fazlani (who also produced the project), Nighat Sultana and Noor Charlie.

Of course, a plethora of Punjabi films are there, because ever since the industry was shifted from Karachi to Lahore, the frequency of Punjabi language movies increased exponentially. A brief history of Pashto and Balochi films too can be known by paying a visit to the French cultural centre’s gallery.

Not many of us would know about the first full length colour movie made in the country. Well, its title was Sangam. Released in 1964, it was directed by Zahir Raihan who used to make films in Urdu and Bengali languages.

Then there are posters for projects such as Sarkata Insaan directed by Saeed Rizvi who is known for his penchant for making sci-fi films. And if you are wondering that no poster carrying the cautionary phrase ‘sirf balighan ke liyey’ (for adults only) next to the title of the film is on view, well, there is. But do not get wrong ideas. It can be seen in the poster for Zindah Laash, the Dracula-inspired horror venture. Whoever thought that the Twilight series is a recent phenomenon!

Dawn