28 years later, a Lollywood archive sees the light of day

Express April 21, 2010

KARACHI: Pakistani films may have lost their glory, but for Quetta’s Amir Nadeem, they are the subject of 28-year-old obsession. The 37-year-old has been collecting posters, cassettes and CDs for the last 28 years. The Balochistan Cultural Organisation recently arranged an exhibition of Amir Nadeem’s collection, a range of posters and original soundtracks from various Pakistani films.

Nadeem’s obsession comes at the cost of his personal life. To pursue his ‘hobby’, Nadeem never married since he feared losing his collection if his partner failed to understand his passion. “I have been fond of compiling film posters since my childhood. Today, I have around 22,000 posters. I did not marry because if I had a wife and children, they could spoil my collection,” said Nadeem.

Nadeem’s nephew told Express News, “He always avoided the question of marriage for the sake of his collection. Ever since we were children, we’ve seen his life surrounded by these posters.” But everything has a season. After decades of hoarding memorabilia, Nadeem’s collection was exhibited by the Balochistan Cultural Organisation, and well-received by visitors to the exhibition. Nadeem also received endorsements from actors who believe his work serves a higher purpose. “Celebrities like Darpan and Sahiba must have been forgotten by now. Amir Nadeem’s collection can be used to spread information about these stars. The director of culture should play a role in promoting these records and posters,” said actor Umar Farooq. Nadeem, who is currently unemployed, asked the government for support.

“I request the government to set up a library to exhibit my compilation and to provide me with a source of income,” he told Express News. Psychologists often term this as celebrity worship syndrome. You watch a movie or listen to a song; you like the celebrity and the next time you are online, you search for their images and videos. You keep a tab on their news and gossip till the obsession fizzles out with time. Most people enjoy following celebrity news but it is rare to find people like Amir Nadeem who has spent almost three decades following Pakistani celebrities. This is hardly surprising as unlike Indian and western film posters, Pakistani film posters have almost no monetary value.

Film enthusiast and Zibahkhana director Omar Khan is a collector of Pakistani film memorabilia. He began collecting Lollywood film posters in the late 1980s and now has hundreds of posters but sadly, he is one of the few who do this. Khan said that this is because “We (Pakistanis) have grown up to have a disparaging view of our films; on the other hand Indians have a different perspective and are very proud of their films. Pakistanis feel that posters are as degenerate as our movies.” Khan fully supports Nadeem but feels it is unlikely that he will receive any government support, “In another country Nadeem would not have a problem, but the Pakistani government treats the film industry like a step-sister and constantly imposes taxes without giving anything back. The industry is in the state it is today because of the lack of support it receives from the government. It is doubtful that this kind of government will step into assist Nadeem.”


Fayyaz Alam | 13 years ago | Reply This guy deserves a medal. We never bothered to preserve history of our film industry. A person told me that his uncle made a film and it was not censored because Zia government took over. I asked him what happened to the film. He said that his uncle threw away those boxes when he left the office!! This is our attitude to our heritage. Why blame our neighbours if they are promoting their culture?
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