The 69th Cannes film festival held in May 2016, had a unique guest on screen. It was a feature film Jago Hua Savera (The Day Shall Dawn) from Pakistan that made its presence felt rather hugely in the restored movies segment. And the same film has been pulled out in India from the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival, and the reason being cited is the political tensions and current situation between India and Pakistan. Jago Hua Savera will no longer be a part of the Restored Classics Section at the week-long event that starts from October 20, 2016 in Mumbai, India. Let’s know more about the film.
In the year 1958, 9 years after the partition of India and Pakistan, both the countries joined hands in creating a film what could have been the masterpiece for the world to cherish and respect. But sadly it did not happen, and the film got lost in the sands of time. Jago Hua Savera, a 1958 Pakistani Urdu film, hailed by the critics as the best ever made in the country and also boasting of a creative collaboration with India. Despite this, ardent movie lovers have been stumbling upon this classic time and again, and you can see it for yourself on IMBD, where it holds a prestigious rating of 8.6!
As reported by BBC, The Urdu language film Jago Hua Savera, which means The Day Shall Dawn, was screened along with classics such as Russian maestro Andrei Tarkovski’s Solaris, French director Regis Wargnier’s Indochine and Egyptian auteur Youssef Chahine’s Goodbye Bonaparte at the festival, which was held from 11-22 May.
The report by BBC further states that set in the 1950s in a fishing village, Jago Hua Savera carries a lot of historical baggage. When director Aaejay Kardar began making the movie in 1958, the political landscape of Pakistan had just begun to change.
“Three days before the release of the film, the government asked my father not to go ahead with it,” Anjum Taseer, son of producer Nauman Taseer, told the BBC at the screening of the film. “The government branded the young artists and writers involved in the making of the film as Communists.” It did not help that iconic poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, who was a known revolutionary, had written the script, lyrics and dialogue of the film.
Inspired by the early works of iconic Indian director Satyajit Ray, Jago Hua Savera is moulded in neo-realism, a genre shaped by Italian greats like Luchino Visconti and Vittorio De Sica.
Shot in black and white on location on the banks of the majestic Meghna river in Bangladesh, then East Pakistan, the film portrays the hardships of a fishing community in Saitnol village near Dhaka, which is at the mercy of loan sharks. It presents an unusual collaboration between Pakistani and Indian professionals, only a decade after the bloody partition. Faiz’s script was inspired by a story written by popular Bengali author Manik Bandopadhyay. Towering Indian musician Timir Baran, who lived in Kolkata (Calcutta), provided the music. The only professional actor in the film, Tripti Mitra, was Indian too.
Ironically, just one week before the festival, Taseer found some reels of the film with a French distributor, some in London and the rest in Karachi, eventually putting them together for a “showable print”.