Javed Sheikh: The Legend who stood by us
Pakistan’s film industry has been a rocky road from the 1980s on-wards, sadly the slow disintegrating of our industry was unfortunately a reality which Pakistan was facing. During this time legends came and went. Actors, actresses, singers, directors and musicians who had formed a relationship with the film industry had come and left and some even after only a few years. One though who didn’t leave who stood by the industry and even attempted to change its destiny by rejecting films and creating and making a difference where he could, Javed Sheikh.
In the early 80s Javed Sheikh appeared a young boyish actor starring opposite film greats like Salma Agha in ‘Bobby’ and Anjuman in ‘Mehndi’, he mimed to singers like the great Ghulam Ali and danced with Anjuman to songs of Madam Noor Jehan, he married the dazzling Neeli and he ventured into direction making his mark on cinema, when cinema was ready to be buried he gave cinema a life line.
As Pakistani cinema took a turning for the worst with audiences being given the same gandasa culture films that they had rejected Javed Sheikh saw a slow demise of our industry and attempted to give back to the industry that had made him who he was so other then acting in films he sat in the directors chair creating cinematic greats for Pakistan.
In the early 90s he directed Mushkil a tale starring his younger brother Saleem Sheikh and then wife Neeli. The film can be remembered mostly for the amazing melodies which echoed from rickshaws and shops at the time including the famous “Dil Ho Gaya Hai Tera Deewana” and “Mushkil Hai Bara Mushkil Hai.” One of the amazing thing about the film other then the sweet story-line was the return of famous singer Mehnaz Begum one of the foundations of the Pakistani film music.
While Mushkil continued to serve its purpose as a film reviving and maintaining Urdu cinema, Javed Sheikh gave us Chief Saab, another film from the nostalgic 90s starring Javed Sheikh, Neeli, Saleem Sheikh and a brand new actress Meera. The film once again was a hit and the music was just as big a hit featuring musical greats like “Chief Saab” by Sajjad Ali and “Jaaga Hai Jaaga” by the legendary duo of Waris Baig and Shazia Manzoor.
Even before Chief Saab had completely stopped showing in cinemas Javed Sheikh was all set to release Yes Boss starring the one and only Resham, another film which made its mark at a time when cinema was almost at the peak of its decline. A year later Javed Sheikh gave us Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye once again starring Resham. The film will forever be remembered as having the song “Kaun Hai Woh Kahaan Hai Woh” by Shazia Manzoor.
By the end of 90s Javed Sheikh gave us another hit ‘Mujhe Jeenay Do’ starring Meera, Sana and Baber Ali, the film was a different film in the sense that it focused on Meera being an assassin forced to kill for Javed Sheikh, a complete different film from what we had seen being churned out from Pakistan prior to this. The film was complemented with songs by Waris Baig and Shazia Manzoor and even contained an item number “Dekho Dekho Bijli Ke.”
In the early 2000s Javed Sheikh released ‘Yeh Dil Aap Ka Huwa’, a milestone for Pakistan as it was one of the first films to have been made in up to date digital technology, the film starred Moammer Rana and Sana in lead roles alongside Saleem Sheikh, Baber Ali and Veena Malik. The film was one of the few films in Pakistan that had openly used Bollywood singers as playback singers in a Pakistani film, previously this had been done very few times mostly in films by Shazad Gul. The film was a hit all over Pakistan and an even bigger hit abroad as the film was released in the UK, the USA and also in the UAE. Another first for Pakistan as after a gap of almost 30 years a Pakistani film was being released in international cinemas.
Later on in mid 2000s Javed Sheikh made ‘Khulay Aasman Ke Neeche’ a soft story starring Meera, Sana and Saleem Sheikh, by which time though cinema in Pakistan was beginning to wake up. The films that Javed Sheikh made were continuously hits and had continued featuring a trend of artists and story-lines typical of Sheikh saab. He continually used the late Amjad Bobby as music director for his films and this added to the success of many of his films.
As cinema and films in Pakistan evolved so did Javed Sheikh, after working in several Bollywood films he returned to Pakistan to continue his work for Pakistani cinema. In 2013 Javed Sheikh feature in Humayun Saeed’s ‘Main Hoon Shahid Afridi’ and in 2014 Nabeel Qureshi an upcoming director released his feature film ‘Na Maloom Afraad’ also starring Javed Sheikh. Javed Sheikh is also going to be featured in several upcoming Pakistani films including Wrong Number an upcoming film starring Danish Taimoor and being directed by Yasir Nawaz, ‘Bin Roye’ another upcoming film from Hum Films starring Mahira Khan and Humayun Saeed and ‘Karachi Se Lahore’ starring Ayesha Omar and Shahzad Sheikh.
I was inclined to write a piece on how much of a legend Javed Sheikh is due to a comment I read on social media against Javed Sheikh. Javed Sheikh is a legend and one of the few legends who stuck by the Pakistani film industry even when it was almost finished, it is due to efforts made by legends especially like him that we have a film industry today. We should never criticize his efforts for Pakistani cinema rather we should rejoice that we have a legend like him.