Welcome back, Shabnam

Published: April 27, 2012
Filmstar Shabnam thronged by fans at Karachi airport. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD NOMAN

Filmstar Shabnam thronged by fans at Karachi airport. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD NOMAN

Actress Shabnam’s visit to Lahore, the city where her film career blossomed and grew, reminds us of a brighter time when the Lollywood industry was thriving. Her fame as an acclaimed actress, from the 1960s well into the 1980s, coincided with an era when cinemas brought entertainment to so many lives. Shabnam is best known for her roles opposite reputable Lollywood actor Nadeem and is said to have played a crucial part in keeping this industry alive during the dark and difficult times under General Ziaul Haq’s regime. This was a time when censorship was harsh and female TV newsreaders or comperes had disappeared under voluminous dupattas.

A symbolic icon, Shabnam is the link between two countries which were once one. The Bangladeshi/Pakistani star returned to Dhaka, rather suddenly in the 1980s, and has hardly been heard of since then. Credit must be given to PTV for persuading her, along with her music composer husband, Robin Ghosh, to return to a city where, judging by the warm reception they have received, there are many who still love and respect her. It is also fitting that PTV is scheduled to organise a function to honour a woman, who has dedicated so much of her life to the world of film in Pakistan. It was heartening to see Shabnam speak with warmth about Pakistan and still care so deeply about Lollywood. During her visit, she has expressed dismay over its downfall and the plight it now faces.

This is something we, as a nation, should think about. It is true that today many forms of entertainment are available, but movies still remain a key form of human expression. It is disappointing that Lollywood has struggled to keep pace with the rest of the world, while Bollywood has clambered to become a film industry giant. Iran, too, has gained a reputation for top quality films. The demise of Lollywood has also meant the loss of thousands of jobs for billboard artists, stuntmen, musicians and others. Shabnam’s visit should serve as a reminder for us to revive what was once the essence of Pakistani entertainment.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.


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Reader Comments (5)

  • Knotty
    Apr 27, 2012 - 1:14AM

    God knows how much we miss her (and golden era of Lollywood)


  • Manzoor
    Apr 27, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Cant get tired of watching her black and white era songs..e.g ‘Ye sama pyara pyara…”.amazing beauty and grace…..


  • The Pointer
    Apr 27, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Not only us the public, but I am sure our Great Actor NADEEM will also be missing HER.


  • enpointe
    Apr 27, 2012 - 11:49AM

    She was wonderful in her roles. She did alot 4 our film industry. I can’t forget her work 4 giving so many hearts precious feeling of lightnessRecommend

  • butt jee
    Apr 28, 2012 - 2:04PM

    It is all nostalgic to recall her and Lollywoods golden days.


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