Preserving film history, one chapter at a time

Writer Pervaiz Rahi dedicated six decades of his life to penning down the vicissitudes of Lollywood

ADNAN LODHI April 24, 2016
Rahi has three more books on the film and music industry coming up soon. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Pakistan may be home to some exceptionally gifted minds in the field of literature, but it is also one of the few countries that have made no efforts in attempting to archive the works of these individuals. It is tragic that the American Library of Congress houses more transcripts of Pakistani poets and writers than any similar establishment of our country. Presently there is no institution or government department that preserves the literary jewels of local writers. Writers such as Pervaiz Rahi however, have been working relentlessly to pen down our cultural history for generations to come. Specialising in the field of Pakistani and sub-continental cinema and theatre, Rahi has compiled seven books and even at the age of 84, has no intentions of stopping just yet.

Recently a ceremony was held at Alhamra Hall Lahore, to pay tribute to the senior journalist, who has previously been associated with publications such as Filmi Sukhan, Film Teer o Nashtar, Film Journalist, Mumtaz, Film Digest, Amroz, Ujala, Noor Jahan, and Musawat among others.

Left to decay

“I have been writing on different aspects of the local film industry for over six decades now,” says Rahi, who has so far written seven books and three more are set to be published soon. He laments that there was once a time when numerous film magazines and newspapers were being published in the country, most of which have been discontinued. “I am aware that no recognition awaits me, but I continue to write with the sole purpose of imparting my knowledge, sharing the information I have gathered all my life with those willing to learn.”  He is glad that owing to his extensive experience, film and theatre students from different countries often contact him to learn about Pakistani cinema.

A resident of Lahore, Rahi has witnessed the rise and fall of Lollywood and its evolution into ‘Pakistani Cinema’ as we know it today. His books include Punjab Ki Filmi Tarikh, The Great AR Kardar, Punjab Ke Filmi Hero, Filmi Lok Dastanain, Pakistani Cinema Ki Aadhi Sadi, Punjabi Filmoun Ka Safer, Awaaz Ke Be-Taaj Badshah, and a children’s book titled Allah Mian Bachon Ke Liay. Three more books that are currently in the pipeline include Sur Khazana, Filmi Sukhanwar, and Chandni Ke Badan. All these books have comprehensive, highly detailed and accurate information on different aspects of the local film industry. Each compilation has been backed by years of research and hard work. The author is also planning to digitise all this information before it gets too late and Lollywood becomes a thing of the past, quite literally.

“Lahore was once the hub of cinema and theatre and all the studios that are converting into other congregational spaces today, were constructed in front of my eye,” recalls Rahi. He finds it difficult to continue writing at 84 years yet his drive to document cinema keeps his spirit alive, “I consider it my duty to work for a part of our culture industry that has been ignored by government and other office bearers.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th,  2016.

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