Khamosh Raho (1964)
Khamosh Raho, tells the story of a ‘Madam’ (played superbly by Meena Shorey, the lara lappa girl of Roop K. Shorey’s fame) running a network of bonded prostitution. Mohammed Ali got his major break through this film, and he played a role that was rather difficult to execute. Meena presents Ali her protégé, as a prospective suitor to a rural family of humble means, who would otherwise have no way of finding a husband for their daughter. The madam pretends to be the benevolent and rich mother of a dutiful son. She says she does not need jahez (dowry). Instead, she offers gifts to the girl’s family and relations and so the proposal is happily accepted.
In most rural areas, traditionally a girl is not supposed to see the face of her husband-to-be. So once the marriage is solemnized, Ali’s job is done and he disappears from the scene. The newly-wed bride is forced into prostitution because of mistaken identity. First she is given to understand that the man she spent the night with was her husband. Next she has bear the most horrible kind of humiliation when the uncouth offender proudly proclaims that he paid for her company. Here the film subtly draws one’s attention towards the thin line existing between such arranged marriages and prostitution. In these circumstances helpless girls get trapped forever. Going back to the family becomes almost impossible. Fear of disgracing the family and of not being accepted back into its fold throws them into the clutches of their tormentors. They suffer silently and succumb to the vagaries of the world around them. Journalist turned film maker Riaz Shahid’s story was based on true events reported in the Press.
At the turning point in the film, the madam’s next victim turns out to be Ali’s long lost sister, played by Deeba. The brother and sister were separated during communal riots at the time of independence. The discovery is too painful to bear and Ali revolts against the prostitution mafia with the help of a soldier, diligently played by another perceptive actor, Yousuf Khan. Ali attacks the brothel and releases its helpless victims. Well-written court room scenes, though loud and grossly overacted, became the hallmark of Ali’s histrionics in Pakistani cinema – Mushtaq Gazdar
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 1964, Genre – Crime, Producer – T.H. Rizvi, Director – Jamil Akhter, Music Director – Khalil Ahmed, Language – Urdu, Country – Pakistan, Cast – Meena Shorey, Mohd Ali, Deeba, Yousuf Khan,Gulrukh, Aslam Pervaiz, Tarana, Zeenat