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Pakistan’s first ever film

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Teri Yaad

The year 1947 saw the partition of India take place and resulted in the birth of the new nation, Pakistan. Like everything else, the Indian film industry too was torn apart and the only film production centre left in Pakistan was at Lahore. As a result of the violence and bloodshed from both sides in the lead up to partition, the film industry in Pakistan in its infancy was not a priority subject for the rulers of the new country.  With hardly any film production facilities, added to the fact many who had initiated film making before the partition such as filmmakers and actors either left for India or opted to stay back in India.

Prior to 1930, most cinemas were only live performance theatres. Then recorded movies nudged aside live theatre performances, transforming a very important avenue of entertainment from live stage performances by actors, face to face with actively involved live audiences, to impersonal, ready-made movies resulting in a one-way bonding between watching human beings and virtual actors on distant screens, the latter no longer dependent on live audience reactions. Performing arts live performances rely a lot on and bounce off the live appreciation of an audience of actual human beings. That is not the case with recorded movies watched on cinema screens.

Traditional film poster

Despite stated hardships and and lack of state support conditions, the new film industry was somehow able to release its first feature film, Teri Yaad on 7 August 1948, which happened to be the day Eid al-Fitr was being celebrated in Pakistan. Teri Yaad, translated in English means “Your Memory”. Even though the movie did not do very well financially and the reactions of audiences, it still remains an important landmark in Pakistani movie making in that it set the proverbial “ball rolling” for others to follow.

The film starred:

Asha Posley

Sabira Begum was her actual name but was more commonly known as Asha Posley, wasthe first heroine of Pakistani films. She made her debut as a supporting actress in Lahore-made Punjabi film Gawandi (1942), then the lead role in Hindi film Champa (1945). She was given her professional name Asha Posley by the renowned music director Ghulam Haider. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, she migrated with her family to the newly created Pakistan. After a  female lead role in only a few films, she was confined mainly in supporting roles, especially opposite comedian actors Nazar and Asif Jah in most of her films. She acted in 129 films during her film career spanning over 3 decades.

Nasir Khan

Nasir Khan, brother of Indian acting legend Dilip Kumarwho stayed back in Bombay, India. Made his acting debut in the 1945 film Mazdoor and later shifted to Lahore after Partition. Also acted in another Pakistani film, Shahida in 1949. Both films failed to flourish and Nasir returned to India in 1951. He resumed his acting career in Bombay. His career highpoint came with the role of Jumna alongside his real-life brother Dilip Kumar, in the 1961 dacoit drama Bollywood film Gunga Jumna

Kausar Parveen

The playback music was composed by Inayat Ali Nath, who was Asha Posley’s father and also father of her younger sister and playback singer Kausar Parveen who sang some very famous songs like; “O Maina, na janey kya hogaya kahan dil khogaya“, “Pal Pal Jhoomun Jhoom Ke Gaun” and the famous “loori”, “Raaj dularey, meri ankhiyon ke taray“. Unfortunately, she died at the young age of 34 in 1967.

Munawar Sultana

Other playback singers were Munawar Sultana and Ali Bakhsh Zahoor. They sang a duet in film-Beqarar, “Dilko laga ke kahin thokar na khana, zaalim zamana hai ye, zaalim zamana”, which became popular at the time. Munawar Sultana sang some very popular solo songs like, “Maen uddi uddi jawan, hawa de naal”, “Yuun di hamay azaadi ke dunya hui haeraan” and “Chalo chalaen maan, sapno ke gaoon maen”.

On a lighter note. Many disgruntled people in Pakistan moan about an unfair deal awarded to Pakistan in the partition package and they blame Lord Mountbatten for some sort of deliberate mischief. Well, the film industry split seems to support their shikwa. India was awarded Dilip Kumar and Pakistan got Nasir Khan; definitely an imbalanced allocation, which smacks of mischief. Mountbatten was a naughty boy. Another example. He handed over Kashmir to India and handed over Ayub Khan to Pakistan, who in turn later handed over Pakistan to himself. Injustice from the outset! Time to end here before it gets even more confusing.