The 70’s were a prolific time for the Pakistani film industry. The industry was in full swing and the number of films was increasing every year. New faces were being introduced in each category from directors to actors, to singers and music directors. It was a new age, a new time, and an entirely new color palette. This was the decade that Pakistani films were mostly produced in full colour.
Some remember the 70’s classics from Pakistan for their song dance, others may recall the hairdos and bell bottoms. However, others may remember the plots centered on action and the melodramas that had slowly crept in. Whichever category you fall in to, here are 10 films from the 70’s that you can watch during the coronavirus lockdown.
Let’s begin with something light-hearted and endearing. This is Nadeem at the peak of his career delivering a great comedic performance. He plays a villager named Baalam with great aspirations who ventures in to the city. Aside from the legend’s great performance, it stars the venerable Shabnam, the great Ilyas Kashmiri, Aslam Parvez and the veteran Tamanna.
Saiyyan Anari has something for everyone. It’s got laughs, romance, a little action, and an underdog story.
Now to the laugh riot. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film that has made me laugh more than “Rangeela”. Starring the titular actor himself along with his partner in crime, Munawwar Zareef, this film is a barrel of laughs in almost every scene. It also stars Nisho, Saiqa, Mumtaz, and even Sultan Rahi himself.
It’s the definition of a screwball comedy. The film opens with Rangeela stepping out of the moon and bowing in front of a woman spinning yarn for God’s sake! Aside from the climax, which is definitely overdone and unnecessary, this film will leave you breathless from laughter from beginning to end.
Baat Pauhnchi Teri Jawani Tak
Another one of Rangeela and Munawwar Zareef’s incredible comedies, “Baat Pauhnchi Teri Jawani Tak” centers on a college where a group of students face off in competitions of artistry. The film includes theater plays, Mushairas, Bait Baazis and more.
Everything from the music to the choreography and poetry is a laugh riot. Though the film didn’t manage to do well at the box office when it first came out, it has garnered a cult following since. The film also stars Sangeeta, Qavi, Saiqa and Nanha.
Jab Jab Phool Khiley
When I think of what Waheed Murad was capable of, I always think of “Jab Jab Phool Khiley”. Starring the three legends of the Pakistani film industry, Mohammad Ali, Nadeem and Waheed Murad, the film is one of a trio that starred the three veterans, the other two being “Shama” and “Phool Mere Gulshan Ka”.
“Jab Jab Phool Khiley” is based on the old premise of brothers separated in childhood. You could find a plot like this every few years in India and Pakistan. However, what this film succeeds at more than any other is the performances. Not even Mohammad Ali is able to overshadow Waheed Murad’s performance, which is arguably the best of his career. It’s made even more impressive by the fact that he has no love interest in the film. He’s driven by vice, crime, and revenge; emotions that weren’t his staple at all. Yet, he shines in every frame. My favourite scene is that of a solemn Waheed Murad standing in the night with Ahmed Rushdi’s sonorous voice echoing, “Kya Pata Zindagi Ka”. Definitely give this a watch.
Very few films have been made on the Kashmir issue in Pakistan and India that don’t center on protagonists trying to blow up barracks and terrorists that are trying to fight armies. Riaz Shahid made a film that tackled the issue in one of the most nuanced ways it could be tackled. Perhaps that’s why “Yeh Amn” was heavily censored by the Bhutto administered. The new regime that had come to power didn’t want to see its own narrative challenged in any way.
Riaz Shahid was personally hurt by the censorship and it didn’t help that he was battling leukemia at the time. He died shortly after the release of the film. It was said, “Riaz Shahid ko cancer ne nahin, censor ne maara.”
If you want a taste of the best that our cinema could produce in its golden age, definitely check out Yeh Amn. It stars Nisho, Shahid, Allauddin, Talish and Sangeeta.
This one needs no introduction. It still stands as perhaps the most successful film in Pakistan’s history. Running for 401 weeks in cinemas from its release in 1977 onwards, it fortified Shabnam and Nadeem as the Queen and King of the Pakistani Silver Screen. It would be more than a decade until they would be dethroned.
The story, while nothing out of the ordinary, worked beautifully. Its soundtrack also became as iconic as the film, with the film’s signature track “Mujhe Dil Se Na Bhulana” becoming a classic.
Watch this during the lockdown to relive some of the most iconic moments in the history of Pakistani Cinema.
Wehshi Jatt and Maula Jatt
These are the two films that made Sultan Rahi a superstar. Based on Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi’s short story, “Gandasa”, it birthed arguably the most iconic character in the history of Pakistani Cinema. Even if you haven’t seen either film or heard of the short story, Sultan Rahi’s mustachioed Maula Jatt yielding a Gandasa and roaring as he prepares to strike is a sight everyone is familiar with.
“Wehshi Jatt”, which came out in 1975 not only swept the Punjabi Nigar Awards, but also became a huge commercial success. The spiritual sequel, “Maula Jatt”, released in 1979, was even more successful due to the addition of Mustafa Qureshi’s Noori Natt as the antagonist.
The best thing about “Maula Jatt” is that the climax is a complete surprise. It’s not the one you’d expect, seeing as how the film has been vilified by many for introducing the Gandasa flick that led to the decline of cinema in Pakistan. In fact, the climax is the complete opposite.
Self-admittedly, Waheed Murad’s favourite film and favourite performance of his, “Anjuman” is a complete film in all respects. The music, the story, the cast, the incredible cinematography and the beautiful voices of Runa Laila and Ahmed Rushdi are all perfect.
While the story isn’t novel today as much as it was once, it still has a nostalgic charm to it that hasn’t waned. The film stars Rani as the titular Anjuman and Waheed Murad. This was the role that would propel her to stardom. She was recognized as the vamp in most Pakistani films back then and hadn’t gotten a big break as a lead heroine. Here, the tables were turned in her favour.
Also starring are the veterans Sabiha Khanum and Santosh Kumar as well as the ever witty Lehri. Nisar Bazmi’s beautiful soundtrack with such gems as “Bhabhi Meri Bhabhi”, “Dil Dharke”, and “Lag Rahi Hai Mujhe”, are fantastic. This has everything for a family entertainer.
Insaaf Aur Qanoon
You know that dialogue that everyone makes fun of Mohammad Ali for? You know the one; “Judge Sahab!” Yes that one. “Insaf Aur Qanoon” birthed it. But like many rundown parodies, the original is iconic. I won’t give away the context, but this is probably Mohammad Ali’s most iconic performance and what made him into a legend.
Starring Zeba, Sangeeta and Aslam Parvez, “Insaf Aur Qanoon” is a statement about what justice means and how time can make a joke of every judgment ever bestowed upon man. The climactic monologue is one of the most visceral performances you’ll ever see on screen. It’s not melodrama, it’s not theater. It’s completely honest and gut wrenchingly powerful.
Mutthi Bhar Chaawal
This was the role that would give Sangeeta her big break. Before that she was considered more or less, a pretty face before “Mutthi Bhar Chaawal” was release. After that, she was also known as a contender. She even bagged the best actress trophy for her role as well as the best director trophy.
Based on the short story “Ik Chaadar Maili Si” by Rajinder Singh Baidi, it became an iconic film for its time. Though not an immediate box office hit, it did gain a cult status and is beloved still today. For those with an inclination towards the arthouse side of cinema, this is the one to watch this weekend.