Sassi: Pakistan’s First Golden Jubilee Film Turns 70

It’s now exactly 70 years since Sassi hit theaters in Pakistan. Adapted from the legendary romance Sassi Punnu, the film was released on June 3, 1954 with Sabiha Khanum and Sudhir as the leads.

The film was a remake of director Dawood Chand’s own earlier attempt at adapting the Sassi Punnu legend, simply called ‘Sassi Punnu’ in 1939. The original was in Punjabi, starred actors Balo and Mohammad Aslam in the main roles and featured baby Noor Jahan as a young Sassi.

However, the Urdu remake in 1954 was far more successful than the original. It debuted to packed theaters and became the first golden jubilee in the cinema history of Pakistan. It completed 51 weeks in Karachi’s Regal cinema and maintained a strong foothold in the Lahore circuit as well.

Sassi is based on the version of the Sassi Punnu legend laid out in the writings of Qazi Qadan, the Karim Jo Risalo and Shah Jo Risalo. While it maintains its faithfulness to the original story, Sassi is also filled with fantastic sequences reminiscent of the golden age of cinema including dream sequences and elaborate dance numbers.

There is a certain charm to these romances and folk legends which lends itself to adaptation and re-adaption and retelling every generation.

Aside from the main leads, the film stars comedian Nazar, Asha Posley, Saleem Raza, and Ghulam Mohammad.

You can still watch Sassi on YouTube in what is a decent digital transfer.


Written by Yousuf Mehmood


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