Ziaul Haq & Pak Showbiz - The Song He Hated!

Did You know that our most disliked military dictator, Gen. Ziaul Haq hated Naheed Akhter’s famous ’70s film hit, Tutturutturut tata tara?

It’s true. The supposedly ultra-religious head of the state could not stand Naheed’s saucy hit, filmed on new entrant star, Mumtaz in Iqbal Akhter’s popular block-buster, Mohabbat Zindagi Hai. He was appalled by its picturisation, when, he coincidentally, listened the song while watching the famous film-based show, Har Taan Hai Deepak. He felt it was revolting, and banned the song from getting on air. The fact is that the number had only suggestive moves; the really sensuous number in the film came later that was also picturised on Mumtaz, titled Dil Sambhala Na Jaey, a club hit of those days!

Actually, Zia couldn’t stand vulgarity! Strange, then, that his censor board acted swiftly only against the Urdu films, and even didn’t let hundreds of old Pakistani black and white films being screened, which had no element of vulgarity! Films like Khamosh Raho, Yeh Amn, Zarqa, Aag ka Darya, Farangi, Aashiana, Sarhad, Sarfarosh, Neela Parbat, Qasam Uss Waqt Kee, Mooseeqar, Farishta and others were amongst the banned films, some of which were even praised in many countries of the Middle East.

During Zia’s days, Qavi Khan’s production on provincial unity, titled Pasban, was immediately banned. The film had a star cast, and was predicted to do great business. But, in an atmosphere, where provincial bias was like a wildfire, this picture of unity wasn’t allowed to be screened. Junejo loosened the chains to allow the old and new movies on the silver purdah, but the moment he was thrown out by Zia, his censor board took notice of the thriving Sindhi cinema, and took down some of the hit Sindhi movies. Famous film, Paru Chandio, based on the so-called daku of Sindh, who killed some famous waderas, was doing great business at the time Junejo was on the seat. That film had a climax speech, delivered by the famous actor, playing Paru Chandio at the gallows, that resembled Bhutto’s style of speech. Due to that speech, the film had done wonders in the Interior Sindh cinemas. But, the film was taken off forthwith by sending police mobiles to the cinemas. On the other hand, both Punjabi and Pushto films, with all those fat ladies were allowed to go full throttle in all cinemas!

Vulgarity? Yes, perhaps, the voice of Naheed, and the dances of Mumtaz was the yardstick!

Soon, Zia brought in Saleem Gillani as the boss man at the Radio Pakistan. He was a senior, and surely a capable chap. But, what could he do about official directives. Right on, first song to be banned by RP was Tutturutturut Tara Tara! Later, the anchors were asked to increase speech content, and gradually decrease Pak film songs. Moreover, the kalaam of Jalib, Faiz and Faraz were also banned.

On TV, you might had seen the treatment given to Fifty Fifty, which had to be discontinued. The episode of draping the dupatta, and the long shalwar for women, so that their feet could not be seen by Na Mehram male audiences, is well known. That was when the brave host, and current MNA, Mehtab Channa (Rashidi now) refused to continue with her show!

And all that, when Zia’s wife, Shafiqa, a great fan of Indian films, prevailed upon Zia to invite Indian stars to their house, where they stayed for a week, chaperoned, on insistence from Zia, by Pak film actors, Mohammad Ali, and others!

Talk about hypocrisy!