Lollywood Flashback

Sound of Lollywood: Cashed-up Pakistanis don’t realise the joke is on them in ‘Kya Haseen Jism Hai’

Nisar Bazmi’s club song from the 1975 hit ‘Ek Gunah Aur Sahi’ attacks the elite who live lives far removed from most viewers.

Ek Gunah Aur Sahi (One Sin More) ran for 52 consecutive weeks in 1975 in Karachi’s cinema halls. The superhit is based on the controversial short story Mummy by Saadat Hasan Manto.

Sabiha Khanum, one of Pakistani cinema’s finest actresses, plays Mummy, the conflicted central character. Mummy is a doting mother, ambitious for her daughter’s future. She is also a madam, procuring and providing call girls, including her daughter Afsha (Rani), to well-heeled clients. Mummy is deeply religious, praying to St Joseph and Mother Mary regularly, but also bold and ruthless. When one of her girls is threatened with blackmail, Mummy is able to arrange a fix simply by visiting the Chief of Police.

One day, a client comes to Mummy and informs her that he needs a “modern girl who really knows how to dance” for a party he’s arranging with a powerful businessman. Mummy assures him that he and his friends will have the best, most modern girl for their party. “But she is very expensive.”

Mummy sends Afsha to the party. Afsha is clearly not comfortable with the arrangement. As she is singing and dancing before the group of leering men, the chief guest, played by the versatile Talish, begins to grope her. Afsha tries to reason with him but he spits out, “We rich are sharif. Your sort are sinners. You do what we say!”

Afsha counters with, “What you’re looking for is a tawaaif. I’m not that.” She runs out into the dark streets where she is hit by a passing car driven by Asif (Mohammad Ali). Asif rushes her to the hospital where he is taken by her beauty and her damaged soul. He proposes marriage. Mummy is overjoyed that at last she has managed to provide a good future and home for her daughter.

Ek Gunah Aur Sahi (1975).

Spiced up with ample doses of masala – undying love that is soon abandoned, rape, death, ghosts of past lives, blackmail, star-crossed lovers, horrible accidents, money, sex, booze and God – the movie is an intense moral social drama. While in many instances it reinforces the stereotypes of Christians as immoral drunks and Christian women as little more than whores, director Hassan Tariq creates space for more subtle and compassionate interpretations. The recurring theme of upper-class exploitation of those it deems to be sinners and the dilemmas within which the non-elites are forced to live out their lives highlight the moral bankruptcy that lies at the heart of “sharif” society.

Sahiba’s performance as Mummy is outstanding. Not just through her lines – delivered in the perfect accent of a non-native English educated Urdu speaker – but in her repeated confrontations with Asif and other men far more powerful than herself, Mummy is revealed to be a woman of great strength, resilience and ultimately, morality. In the end, she proves the powerful Asif and his society to be the real sinners.

The film’s music was composed by Nisar Bazmi. Originally from Maharashtra, Bazmi had established himself as a composer of some note in Mumbai, writing songs sung for Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi, who sang perhaps Bazmi’s most beloved melody Chand Ka Dil Toot Gaya Hai in the film Khoj (1953).

Chand Ka Dil Toot Gaya Hai from Khoj (1953).

On a visit to Pakistan in the early 1960s, Bazmi was asked to compose music for a few films, which he did. He ultimately opted to settle in Pakistan and went on to become one of the great music directors, composing for dozens of films in a wide range of styles from folk and classical to pop and rock.

Kya Haseen Jism Hai is the song sung by Afsha as she dances for the businessmen. Mehnaz delivers the mid-tempo number with huge pathos and sadness. This is the song of a woman who knows exactly what sort of world she is living in. Through Saifudin Saif’s unrelentingly depressing lyrics and Mehnaz’s moody singing, the audience is treated to a cold critique of a certain class of cashed-up Pakistanis who live lives far removed from most of the viewers.

The music is understated, which is not what one would expect from a vamp’s nightclub solo. Bazmi gets some excellent, soulful electric guitar licks out of his band of musicians and expertly increases the emotional tension by employing a small orchestra of strings. But overall, the music is composed in such a way as to give Mehnaz the space to do her moody interpretation of a very sad business.

Kya Haseen Jism Hai from Ek Gunah aur Sahi (1975).

A version of this story appeared on the blog and has been reproduced here with permission.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.


So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.