Aamir Sajjad brings the magic of Hollywood to Pakistan

Published: March 7, 2013

Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS

Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
Figures of a number of prominent movie characters, including Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean and Neytiri from Avatar are up for sale at IVS Gallery till March 30. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

If you enter the central courtyard of Indus Valley School (IVS) of Art and Architecture these days, you will find yourself face to face with C-3PO from Star Wars – the gold-coloured metallic robot with a silver-coated right leg, who is built by Skywalker to help his mother with household chores.

When you brave your way around C-3PO and step into the school’s gallery, the world of American cinema lights up right before your eyes. A little towards the right you’ll find Neytiri from Avatar bent forward with her bow and arrow in hand ready to end your life at the slightest provocation. Further on, you find King Kong battling a ferocious tyrannosaurus rex who is about to rip his heart out with his rather large toenails. But perhaps the cutest of them all is a three-foot-tall Johnny Depp, in his Pirates of the Caribbean outfit.

The magic of Hollywood cinema has been boxed, shipped and is now available in Pakistan in an exhibition, ‘The stuff dreams are made of’, being held at IVS gallery till March 30.

Fifty-five miniature figurines of famous movie characters have been put up at the exhibition. These have been chosen from more than 500 pieces owned by Aamir Sajjad, a private collector, who has been collecting these pieces from an American company, ‘Side show Collectibles’, for the past seven years.

The dean of design at IVS, Shahnaz Ismail, who inaugurated the exhibition, told the audience that this exhibition is like “a delicious shock for every viewer”. She explained to The Express Tribune that most exhibitions held in Karachi are invariably about paintings. “Sajjad’s collectibles, on the other hand, will add a whole new genre to the art scene,” she added. “We, the older generation, don’t even understand what movies some of these figurines are from,” she said enthusiastically. “But the younger ones are so excited about these characters. This is one exhibition that they can relate to.”

Referring to the ongoing unrest and the recent bomb blast, Ismail admitted that life in Karachi was very uncertain. “Exhibitions like these allow you to momentarily escape into a fantasy land. The objective of the exhibition is to bring the magic back in people’s lives which are so full of violence.”

Aamir Sajjad, the owner of the collectibles, explained he always wanted to showcase his collection. “I am looking for the right recipient here, who understands how precious these pieces are,” he explained. “I might even donate some for free if I find a recipient passionate enough.” Sajjad also used the platform of the exhibition, which was strewn with American superheroes, to speak about a movie he is currently working on titled ‘Nation Awakes’. The movie brings to life a Pakistani superhero who attempts to bring people from all countries and races together on one platform. “As a country, we have yet to define our national identity,” said Sajjad. “But defining our national hero is an important part of that process.” “Events like these kill the depression that has become a constant feature defining Karachi,” said Fahd Khan, a visual effects supervisor at Lucid Studios. “This exhibition shows the height that an artist following his heart can reach. There is a mesmerising beauty in each piece because of the extensive work that has gone into painting and sculpting it.”

An architectural major at IVS, Daniyal Tariq, explained that each piece seemed to be telling a story. “It’s almost as if the artists making the figurines felt that they had to tell the entire movie through every character they built.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Sania
    Mar 7, 2013 - 1:40AM

    Excellent work.

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  • Muhammad Saad
    Mar 7, 2013 - 5:03AM

    Half of them must be made by Khurram Alvi :)

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  • Mar 7, 2013 - 4:09PM

    @Muhammad Saad: Are they not ‘collectibles’ bought from an american company?

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  • Hena Ali
    Mar 7, 2013 - 9:49PM

    I appreciate the effort but I wonder why not ‘Lollywood characters’ ??? I can actually hear the smirk and satirical smiles but quoting Sajjad’s observation above “As a country, we have yet to define our national identity, But defining our national hero is an important part of that process.”

    I don’t understand how does this western construct define our identity? A source of entertainment yes but identity, I am not sure….

    Please don’t misunderstand, I fully appreciate the effort but if we look hard enough, we can definitely find heroes’ in our own films (that are a constant source of entertainment even if within a ridiculous frame :) still the underlining principles does reflect our present social system,stereo types and prevalent issues in our society that we face today as a nation. We must admit that Lollywood blood covered hero is always trying to save the day…

    As an artist and designer I personally feel that this construct, notion of ‘doing good’ and saving ‘whoever’ is enough to build on as an Artist, developing / even evolving a hero that identifies and define an ideologically nuanced identity??? encourages our youth towards a more Pakistani construction of a Hero rather than the enchanting mesmerising hypnotic west

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