LAHORE: In the moonlit night, a woman makes her way to the bridge where her beloved promised to meet her. With eyes in search of him, she gently leans on the parapet, wondering where her mahi could be. Disappointed and dejected, she sings what came to be known as one of the most iconic songs of Pakistani cinema. But while Sanu Nair Wale Pul Te stood the test of time, the pul that was testament to the lead characters’ quest for love is in bad condition.
Located at Bari Studio in Zeenat Block, Allama Iqbal Town, the bridge was renovated 20 years ago by the place’s then administration, while its original design and wood-work were preserved. Khurram Bari, owner of the studio, told The Express Tribune, “The bridge was renovated to make it secure. Everything was restored to its previous state.” He deems it essential to safeguard memories associated with the Pakistani film industry. “Memories of Madam Noor Jahan are attached to the bridge, [so it had to be preserved].”
But today, the canal stands dry and dirty, with even studio officials avoiding visiting the space. With no lovers in sight, it’s almost poetic that the canal is waterless and withering. On a non-figurative note, the lack of maintenance could be due to the commercialisation of Bari Studio, which now even houses a marriage hall, as the use of historic studios for shooting local films is on the decline.
PHOTO: ADNAN LODHI
The bridge served as the backdrop of Madam Noor Jahan’s Sanu Nair Wale Pul Te for the 1973 Punjabi film Dukh Sajna De. Penned by Khwaja Parvez and composed by Saleem Iqbal, the song featured Pakistani actor Firdous. The bridge is placed in a garden that’s part of a village, constructed by the administration for the film in the back portion of Bari Studio.
Bari Studio’s shift in-charge, Muhammad Hidayat, shared, “I spent my life here and I’m a witness to the time in the 1970s when the bridge was constructed to film the song.” He said this part of the space has been locked due to the crisis in the industry and is only opened now when a crew requires it for recording. “A lot of days and time were spent to construct the bridge and members of the film industry at the time were thrilled to know that a canal bridge would be designed for the song,” he recalled.
PHOTO: ADNAN LODHI
“After the film Dukh Sajna De, the bridge was utilised for many film songs, but none gained as much popularity, with the bridge still associated with Sanu Nair Wale Pul Te. People today have forgotten about the bridge and only a few know that the song was performed in this part of the studio,” he lamented.
Dukh Sajna De, a roaring success, is still remembered for Sanu Nair Wale Pul Te. With a sound that appealed to people of all ages, the song compelled viewers at the time to visit Bari Studio to see the bridge after the film was released. Although Noor Jahan and a few cast members of the film are no longer with us, here’s hoping the bridge is repaired, so that the song’s legacy can reverberate through its deck for times to come.
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