For those of us feeling nostalgic for the 80s, these are a few films from Pakistani Cinema which are still incredibly enjoyable to watch.
Meherbani is known for Nadeem and Babra Sharif’s iconic pairing, Pervez Malik’s brilliant direction, but perhaps most for its soundtrack. The iconic number “Kabhi Khwahishon ne Loota” composed by M. Ashraf, written by Masoor Anwar, and sung by Akhlaq Ahmad became a huge hit. The film, and the song, were even copied in India in the film ‘Alag Alag’ starring Rajesh Khanna.
Meherbani was a superhit and ran for over 50 weeks at the cinemas.
Another one of Pervez Malik’s gems, this one starred Nadeem and Shabnam. Inspired from Hollywood flicks like ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ and ‘The Champ’, it shows Nadeem in the role of a retired jockey. Shabnam is an aspiring singer. The film deals with divorce, marital problems, etc. It might not have been the first time this was shown on screen, but the appeal of having Nadeem and Shabnam in such strong roles was what gave the film what it needed to hook the masses. It was an even bigger success than Meherbani and ran for over a hundred weeks at the cinemas.
Lazawaal was a multi-starrer film with every member of the cast giving it their all. Starring Nadeem, Jawed Sheikh, and Ghulam Mohiuddin, with Shabnam essaying the main role, Lazawaal was about a deadly love quadrangle. All three leading men pine after Shabnam’s character. Typical of director Javed Fazil, the film was filled with romance, deception, action, and violence. How could it not be a success? The film ran for over 40 weeks at the cinemas. Watch it for the acting performances and the clash of screen veterans.
Nahin Abhi Nahin
This is the role that catapulted screen veteran Faisal to stardom. Nahin Abhi Nahin was released in 1980 and became a huge hit for its new plot, incredible soundtrack by Robin Ghosh, and star cast. Starring Faisal, Ayaz, Shabnam, Nanha, Qavi, and Rangeela, the film addressed how times were changing.
It showed, through the lens of an aspiring student, that the age of innocence was long gone and a new generation was taking hold in Pakistan. While the film dealt with the usual moralistic conundrums that Pakistani films were known for, it at least showed how the minds of the young generation were being molded and influenced by forces that were too big to ignore.
The film became a Golden Jubilee.
Bandish is the film that gave us “Sona Na Chandi Na Koi Mahal” in Akhlaq Ahmad’s melodious voice. Robin Ghosh, as always, weaved great tunes out of thin air including the beautiful “Do Pyaasay Dil Aik Huay Hain”.
Starring Shabnam, Nadeem, Talish and Allauddin, the film was about an amnesia trip and mistaken identity. Nadeem stars as an industrialist’s son. He loses his memory on a routine business trip and the rest of the film is about Shabnam, who plays his wife, trying to track him and bring him back.
Directed by Nazrul Islam, it was a huge hit, and ran for over 80 weeks at the cinemas.
Hum Ek Hain
You could probably guess what the film is about from the title. Hum Ek Hain was about class division and how it doesn’t matter what your social standing is because we’re all human. The film starred Salma Agha, Jawed Sheikh, Mohammad Ali, and Rangeela. The film is perhaps best known for its title track which was sung multiple times by Humera Channa, Salma Agha, and Ghulam Abbas. Also, the title track was penned by none other than Habib Jalib, Pakistan’s socialist poet himself. The film became a Golden Jubilee and ran for over 60 weeks.
A sci-fi film being made in Pakistan was a novelty in 1989. Shaani was obviously inspired by Close Encounters of the Third Kind or E.T. However, it did well enough for itself in the special effects department. Starring Babra Sharif, Mohammad Ali, and Sheri Malik as the alien. The film also contained no music, which was also a novelty back then.
The film showed an alien landing in Pakistan and falling in love with a girl that witnesses its descent. The film was obviously lauded for its special effects and technical achievements. While he plot was nothing out of the ordinary, especially since Hollywood films at the time were all about aliens, it was definitely a steppingstone for film in Pakistan. Sadly, the trend never carried over and sci-fi is still a rarity in Pakistan.