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Do Ansoo (1950)

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Sabiha Khanum and Shahnawaz in Do Ansoo (1950)

Sentimental melodrama beginning with the dilemma of a spoilt and prodigal Nawab, played competently by Himaliyawala, who has one daughter born to his mistress, a resident of local brothel, and one to his legally wedded wife. Two daughters bring twofold woes as the title of the film implies. His family pride is at stake with the prospect of his daughter growing up in a brothel, and lacking the means to buy custody of the child, he makes a desperate attempt to run away with her but ends up killing the father-cum-procurer of his mistress. His fate is fourteen years in prison but the real burnt is borne by the wife and daughter who are left without a roof over their heads. Bakhshu Baba, a loyal and faithful servant, comes to their rescue. He takes them to his village where they start a new life. The wife declares her husband dead in order to spare her daughter from this painful chapter in their lives. Time passes and the girl (Sabiha Khanum), is now a charming young woman.

Her childhood friendship with the son of the landlord turns into an engagement with the blessings of both the families. As fate would have it, the young man, Santosh Kumar, is a final year student of a college in the city where he lives with some friends. The city boys lure him to a mujra. Here he encounters the other girl (Gulshan Ara), who has so far been successful in avoiding all `arrangements’ made by her mother. The decency of the young man impresses her and she is drawn towards him In the meantime, the Nawab is released from prison after completing his term. In disguise, he gets a job as a watchman at the brothel. Seeing a chance of redemption for his daughter, he helps Santosh and Gulshan Ara get married. During the ceremony, the other daughter, her mother already dead, finds her way to the house of the young man with the help of Bakhshu Baba. Shocked by witnessing the marriage of her fiancĂ© to her unknown sister she meets with an accident and dies. The father’s crime completely ruins the lives of two innocent persons, the mother and the daughter. This pathetic and tragic tale drew large audiences and the film ran for twenty-five weeks (Silver – Jubilee), a great achievement for a local film at that time.

The cast, comprising veterans like Shahnawaz, Ajmal, and Himaliyawala, was supported by Shamim and up-and-upcoming artistes Allaudin, Asif Jah, Santosh Kumar, and Gulshan Ara. A new find, Sabiha Khanum was the mainstay of the film. Crisply directed, the film holds the viewer’s attention even today with its smooth flow of editing. However, the fact that it was made on a shoestring budget is evident from the simple two dimensional set designs.

Do Ansoo was based on Hakim Shuja’s story about the decadence of aristocracy. It would have been better suited against a Lucknow or Oudh background. Since the locale was not very well-identified, it worked well here. After the success of Do Ansoo, the director Anwar Kamal Pasha never looked back – Mushtaq Gazdar

Cast and Production Credits

Year – 1950, Genre – Drama, Country – Pakistan, Language – Urdu, Producer –Sheikh Latif, Director –Anwar Kamal Pasha, Music Director – Mubarak Ali, Cast –Sabiha Khanum, Santosh Kumar, Shamim, Gulshan Ara, Himaliyawala, Shahnawaz, Ajmal, Asif Jah and Alauddin

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