Agha G.A. Gul
Amongst the families, which have worked diligently at keeping the film industry on consistent ground, the Gul family must rate the topmost in any event. Agha G. A. Gul, the true mentor and doyen of the industry, stands towering over others of his ilk in the community. He is regarded the most vital pillar of the industry. Amongst those who gave our cinema early spectacles to make it count amidst the fraternity of film making nations, Agha G A Gul remains one of the light towers, along with Shukat Hussain Rizvi, Anwar Kamal Ahmed Pasha and W. Z. Ahmad. But, he stands alone as the pioneer and provider of film making facilities, as he laid the foundations of the Evernew Studios, which injected the real lifeblood of creative endeavors in our cinema. In the true sense of the word, Agha G A Gul was the person with the golden initiative.
This assertion, apart from his studio, is that many top films of the early days were produced by Agha Sahab. His first film was Mundri, in 1949 which was directed by Daud
Chand. Mundri was the first Punjabi film for the famous Indian comedian, Charlie while Ilyas Kashmiri and Raagni were the leading artists in it. Baba Chishti gave its music, and it was released at the Plaza Cinema in Karachi. Later, he produced such notable films from his own Evernew pictures, as Dulla Bhatti, Lakht e-Jigar Naghma-e-Dil, Ik Tera Sahara, Payal Kee Jhankar, Qaidi etc, in the early period of our cinema. His other films include Dachi, Mehboob, Azra, Gumnam, Qatil, Shabab, Baghi Sardar, Jan e-Aarzoo, Salam e Mohabbat, Najma and Naela.
Agha Jee’s special care for his productions made his films worth treasuring. The same is the case with his two sons, Sajjad Gul, whom you can see in the above family frame, and Shehzad Gul. In films like Azra and Naghma-e-Dil, which were basically costume films, he always kept the element of tasteful gloss and grandeur according to the caliber of the period. Similarly, in Ik Tera Sahara and Payal Kee Jhankar, both with Darpan as the hero, he emphasized the glamorous sensuality, which was coupled with brilliant music by Rasheed Attre. Like other music lovers, he was also a great fan of the brilliant musician, Attre, and he has given marvelous music in his films. Another film with Darpan and Shamim Ara was Qaidi, which proved the credentials of Rasheed Attre with superb music. Attre produced a superb tune for what was known as free verse, by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, titled Mujh se pehli see mohabbat, both stanzas of which are intrinsically different from each other, as far as the mood of the poetry is concerned. Agha Jee was very particular about musical excellence along with the production values. Apart from Rasheed Attre, he also employed the brilliant talent of Master Inayat in his films, two of which are Naela and Jan e Arzoo, which had many hits. In Naela, specially, not a single song was left out from the hit list.
Agha Jee seemed to have been a great admirer Shamim Ara’s talent and her finesse that she carried in a period that was influenced by Vijayantimala, Waheeda Rehman and Nutan. Most of his Urdu productions had Shamim Ara, and she definitely made her name from such films as Naela, the first totally colored film of Pakistan. Shamim Ara was known for her beautiful ghararas and shararas, her impeccable manners and her beautiful Urdu pronunciation which is still something to follow for the young heroines of today. Agha Sahab was a true believer in family movies, and he felt that Shamim Ara had the class and style that appealed to the gentry. She worked in a lot of films with him, including Qaidi, Naela, Jan e Aarzoo, Ik Tera Sahara, Mehboob etc. It was due to his films that the pair of Darpan and Shamim Ara was established and flourished, later.
Naela remains a trendsetter movie, and make you wonder why nobody else tried the triangle of Darpan, Shamim Ara and Santosh, after Naela was such a hit. In fact, in the entire career of Santosh and Darpan, they never crossed paths in a film other than Naela. It was little surprising, since it would have been even commercially a viable proposition had they appeared in more such triangles. So, goes to the credit of Agha G. A. Gul that he made them work together in his film, which is not only beautiful hit, but also with every production value in perfect order, including styling, dressing, furniture, gloss and acting.