Pakistani film-makers, actors and music composers all came together at the Arts Council in Karachi to pay tribute to the legendary actor Shabnam and her husband music composer Robin Ghosh on Thursday evening. Held in honour of the two legends who are visiting Pakistan from Bangladesh, the event was organised by the Arts Council of Pakistan and Weekly Nigar.
Praise for Shabnam and Robin Ghosh
Talking about Ghosh, music composer Arshad Mahmood recalled how he would watch Ghosh edit his own beautiful compositions so he could fit it in the records. He remembered how he and Nayyara Noor would visit Ghosh’s residence and learn the art of making music from the acclaimed composer.
Pop sensation of Pakistan Alamgir called Ghosh the ‘Madan Mohan of Pakistan’ and fondly recalled the times they spend together in Lahore working on Aaina, while actor Mustafa Qureshi, who was a big fan of the fine tunes composed by Ghosh said that a film collaboration between Pakistan and Bangladesh is badly needed.
When it came to honouring Shabnam, superstar Bindiya came on stage and said, “I am elated to see Shabnam, who is an icon of the industry, here in Pakistan. Now that we have the legends of Pakistani cinema here, we should work on jumpstarting the local film industry. And Shabnam and Robin should be signed up for a film where Shabnam can act and Robin Ghosh can provide the music for it.”
Veteran actor Munawar Syed said, “Just like her name, which means morning dew that blossoms a flower as soon as it drops, Shabnam has changed this industry.”
Actor Nadeem, who is Shabnam’s famed co-star from the golden days, said that he began his music career with Ghosh and acting opposite Shabnam. “I have to give Shabnam credit for the success of all the films that we did together because no matter what her part was, she played it with pure dedication. Both of you shouldn’t come after 14 years; you should come every 14 months or 14 days. You are a part of us and you cannot stay away from us.”
What the legends had to say
When Shabnam came on stage, dressed in a gorgeous purple sari, she reminded everyone exactly why she was one of the biggest film stars of Pakistan. Talking about the packed audience at the event, she said, “I had no idea that the younger generations were aware of my work and loved it so much. I have been amazed at their response to my recent visit to Pakistan.”
Talking about the people who made her film career possible, she said, “Although Ilyas Rasheedi Sahab is no longer in this world, I cannot forget him. He was my godfather who gave me my start in the industry.”
When she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, she said, “I would urge institutions like PTV to remember our icons and award them in their lifetime rather than when they’ve passed away. After death, the honour doesn’t hold any meaning for the artist who has passed away.”
Regarding the current status of the film industry, she said, “I visited Lahore and wanted to see the studios but was told that most of them have shut down. So I didn’t visit the studios as I didn’t want to take sad memories home with me. I really think a collaboration between Bangladesh and Pakistan should take place. Hum kaam kerain gaay tou maza ay ga na.”
When it was Ghosh’s turn on the podium, he spoke about all the legends who have come and gone. “Pakistan has a lot of talent and one day this talent will be recongised globally. The revival of the industry is a must, we can’t let this industry die; it’s the same industry that produced stalwarts like Noor Jehan, Mehdi Hasan and Mehnaz,” said the music composer.
What does the future hold?
Nawab Hazoorul Hassan, the director of Nishat Cinema revealed an interesting development for the industry. “Chandi and Mandviwalla Entertainment have agreed to collaborate on a film. However, the film will only be made if Shabnam stars in it and Robin Ghosh provides the music.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.