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Jago Hua Savera (1959)

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A scene from Jago Hua Savera (1959)

A.J. Kardar’s featurised documentary Jago Hua Savera (released abroad titled Day Shall Dawn) undoubtedly earned Pakistan whatever international prestige it has in the realm of cinema. The theme was based on the lives of the fishermen of East Bengal. It was beautifully shot by the distinguished British photographer Walter Lassally.

Kardar received his filmic training in Britain and came to Pakistan with ace cameraman Walter Lassally to make this film. Its story that was penned by the eminent Urdu poet of West Pakistan Faiz Ahmed Faiz, was set in rural East Pakistan. The panoramic view of a tropical delta obviously offered a visual novelty for the foreigners but meant little for the East Pakistanis about 95 per cent of whom live and die in it. Despite all its sincerity, Faiz Ahmed Faiz failed to capture in the theme an authentic Bengaliness mainly because he never lived in this part of the country long enough to know its people and the land intimately enough. The film failed to attract even the intelligentsia who could have provided it with at least a week’s business. Nevertheless, it still remains the only example of efficient film making in Pakistan. Its opening sequence that portrays the homecoming of the fishermen just before sunrise after a whole night’s fishing in the river had been overwhelmingly influenced by a surprisingly similar sequence from Luchino Visconti’s La Terra Trema, a masterpiece based on the plight of the Sicilian fishermen. Whether this was a conscious imitation or an accidental coincidence is not really important. The sequence really added a lyrical quality to the severely austere mood of the story.

The film, though awarded a prize at Moscow Film Festival proved a miserable flop mainly for the reason that it not only discarded all the tested conventions of popular cinema but also failed to be understood by the ordinary spectators as the language used in the film was a peculiar mixture of Bengali and Urdu easily understandable to neither communities – Alamgir Kabir

Cast and Production Credits

Year – 1959, Genre – Drama, Country – Pakistan, Language – Urdu/Bengali, Producer(s) – Noman Taseer, Director – A.J. Kardar, Music Director – Timir Baran, Cast – Tarampati Mitra, Anis, Zurain, Rakshi

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