Written By Arunkumar Deshmukh
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While going from my house towards Juhu, there is a building at the corner of Gulmohar Circle which has a board-” Karachi Residents’ Association”. On enquiry I discovered that this was a building owned by Sindhi speaking Hindu and Muslim people, who had lived in Karachi before Partition. I was told that 5-6 such buildings exist all over Mumbai. On further enquiries, I was informed that there were a few buildings named ”Lahore Residents Association” in existence too! (Punjabi speaking Hindus and Muslims). When I met one of the residents of ”Lahore” wala building, that old gentleman was speaking so lovingly about old Lahore that I was surprised. Even after 65 years of Partition, these people had such fondness for Lahore…or Karachi, for that matter !!!
Lahore had played an important role in India’s film industry till Partition separated us. Lahore had a built in advantage that it was in the midst of a population who understood Hindi/Urdu well and it was a ready market for them. Bombay was far off and Calcutta and Madras catered mainly to regional aspirations. In the 40s, some really good films like Khazanchi, Khandan, Daasi etc were made in Lahore. All the three leading actors, Dilip, Raj and Dev had roots across the border. Shyam, Omprakash, Karan Dewan, Pran, Surendra, Balraj Sahni, Khursheed, Mumtaz Shanti, Veena, Begum Para, Noorjehan, Meena Shorey, Suraiya, Manorama, Kamini Kaushal, Shyama…. a string of artistes from Lahore enriched Indian films. Pancholi, Kardar, Rafi, Shamshad Begum, Jhande Khan, Ghulam Haider, Pt. Amarnath and brothers, Hansraj Behl, Khayyam, Vinod also came from the Lahore film industry.
( A separate article can be written about Lahore’s contribution to Bombay’s film industry).