Year – 1956
Language – Urdu
Country – Pakistan
Producer – Sh.Latif
Director – Shahnawaz
Music Director – Timir Baran, Hassan Latif
Box-Office Status – Flop
Cast – Sheila Ramani, Shad, Nayyar Sultana, Lehri, Diljit Mirza, Ayaz, Shah Nawaz
Miscellaneous Information – Sheila Ramani, an Indian Sindhi actress was invited by her uncle to Pakistan to work in “Anokhi” (1956). “Anokhi” and its Indian counterpart “Albeli” (1955) were inspired by “The Fabulous Senorita” (1952).
Anokhi was produced at Karachi [1956 was the year when 2 new film centers were added i.e. Karachi and Dhaka and 1956 also saw the birth of Sindhi and Bengali cinemas in Pakistan]. Besides Sheila who was the main attraction of the film, the film also marked the debut of one of the most prolific male playback singer Ahmed Rushdi and one of the finest comedians Lehri. However, the film is mostly remembered for its songs sung by Zubaida Khanum. The most popular song from this film was “Gari ko Chalana Babu” which is still heard even today, but many other songs were equally good including Khail khail khail piya nazaroun ka khail re, Zara thham thham kai geet suno ji zara thham thham kai, O meray pyare dil kai sahare, Yeh fiza yeh rut suhani and Deep bujhay hai raat dhali.
The music of this film was jointly composed by Hassan Latif and Indian music director Timir Baran. The film was directed by Shah Nawaz under the supervision of O.P. Dutta.
There can be no better opportunity for comparing the relative values in acting, direction and technique of presentation in foreign and Pakistani films than the case of “Anokhi”. The film is the Pakistani version of Hollywood’s “Fabulous Senorita”, which was shown in Lahore not very long time ago. The film-goers here might be remembering the features of the comedy which made it popular.
The difference is manifest in every scene, but a representative instance can be found in one of the opening sequences. The heroine’s father, Raja, is talking to the wealthy and influential banker whose ever-sneezing son has been making love to Raja’s younger daughter Sanwli. In “Fabulous Senorita” the banker just reminds Raja of his loan application and the following suggestion is made with a slight movement of eye-brows. In “Anokhi”, the banker dwells at length on the possible benefits of his friendship. In the Urdu version, the action is more deliberate, more obvious, and less suggestive.
Similarly, the makers of “Anokhi” have missed the other importnant features of “Fabulous Senorita”. The plot of that film was brief and compact, the picture moved at a brisk pace, the timing was precise and slick, and he acting was fairly good. In “Anokhi”, the plot is lengthy and slightly loose, the film moves leisurely, the effort to regulate timing is weak, and there is not much remarkable in the acting.
Another odd feature of “Anokhi” is a half-hearted attempt to bring the events and characters in accordance with Pakistani requirements. Either the plot should have been adapted wholly, or left, as it was, in the Latin-American back-ground. Partial adaptation does not create a favorable impression and certain incidents seem incongruous in the changed setting.
The film retains the entertainment value of the story and the audience follows the movements of Sheila Ramani with a fair measure of interest.
To extend the 100-minute program to Urdu film length, the producers have had to add some matter to the film’s contents. This addition consists mostly of songs and a couple of minor details. Moreover, the whole plot appears a bit stretched out to take more time. The “fresh matter” does not appear to be of the same quality as the rest. The songs, in particular, required greater attention.
The role of the younger sister, played by Nayyar Sultana, has been given more prominence than in the original story. Nayyar Sultana is a promising actress but the director has not done full justice to her role.
All the players have tried to follow the acting of “Fabulous Senorita” cast, which is not a very happy reflection on the merits of our artistes. It is sad that even such an experienced artiste as Shahnawaz has discarded his own impressive style for something which does not bring him any great credit.