Artist as a Leader
Shamim Ara was very pretty in her heyday. I am not saying that she wasn’t pretty in her old age. That age has other charms. Imagine how beautiful her mother would be?
Shamim Ara is the only performer in Pakistan whose name was used in a song. What makes her so special that the song writer used her name in the song on her performance? This song was shot on both late Ms. Shamim Ara and another legend Mr. Waheed Murad.
My focus is Shamim Ara in this article. Mr. Waheed Murad, Mr. Muhammad Ali, Ms. Zeba, Ms. Deeba, and many others are totally different ball games. They all require individual article. Indeed everyone is leader.
The reason I chose Shamim Ara as a subject of leadership because when I saw her black and white movies; the pronunciation of Urdu language, the delivery of speech, the voice tone, eyes mannerism with complete facial expression and in the posture it was delivered was very different than other leading female artists of that era.
Becoming an Artist
No doubt, an artist is incomplete with background singers, writers, directors, and the complete team that is present on the set. Every single person who is directly and indirectly involved in creating a movie; has a direct impact on an artist.
Imagine, how an artist is mingling and communicating with the subordinate and a higher executive management of the movie set.
The first movie in 1956 (Kunwari Bewa) and the first production in 1968 (Saiqa) tells everyone that after 12 years of working in the industry, she produced something. The dedication to the work and self-disciplined made her the most influential person in the Pakistani film industry. At the age of 30, she produced what modern generation can only think.
A thin hair strip on Ms. Shamim Ara’s forehead made every men crazy like the charm of Mr. Waheed Murad did to the females.
Ms. Shamim Ara’s saree fall was so elegant that she carried herself just like a queen. Her big almond size eyes and her evenly naturally plump upper and bottom lips with her innocent face made her a star from the day one she entered her foot in the film industry. Don’t forget about her hairdo and style. Ms. Shamim Ara’s collection of jewelry she wore in the parties matched her personality. Ms. Shamim Ara reminds me of Malika-e-Tarranum Ms. Noor Jahan.
The smile that shows her cheeks.
Ms. Shamim Ara seems to be a very serious and aggressive personality towards achieving her career goals. She has been empathetic person rather than sympathetic. I have noticed that by watching the old interviews on the Internet and social media. On the other hand, she acted as a tomboy type personality in the movies.
A leader is inspired from their surroundings. Some might critic that her background is not of a highly noble. I don’t want to talk about it since I don’t know much about background. I also do not want to assume anything.
According to what I have researched over the Internet; Ms. Shamim Ara’s mother was already an accomplished dancer. She wanted to step in to movies but with no luck. The passion for success has been seen by Ms. Shamim Ara in her mother. To be more precise, the passion for getting the foot inside the movie industry was needed by Ms. Shamim Ara’s mother. She dreamed big but her daughter achieved it.
Of course, when someone starts new in their career; they really don’t care about the salary or the outcome. They just want to get in. That is exactly what Ms. Shamim Ara did in her first movie Kunwari Bewa which was released in 1956 by Mr. Najam Naqvi. Guess what! She got her foot in. However, the movie flopped.
Now, think for a moment that for a newly entered artist movie flopped and they can be a part of the blame game among producers. However, Allah helped her and she was the talk of the town. The glitter of the film world is always an amazing experience.
Being a Tomboy
Ms. Shamim Ara kept a keen observation of her surroundings during her adulthood. She already has an artist background. What does an artist need to become a good performer? They require very detailed eyes on what actions are happening around them. On the other hand, they also need to be sharp on utilizing that observation in their characters. Ms. Shamim Ara applied her observation very brilliantly. The time she was growing up her mother had trained her how a male-dominated world can ruin the dreams of a female gender. Her mother had a dream of being a film actress. However, the dream came true for Ms. Shamim Ara.
Ms. Shamim Ara’s personality was very disciplined and strict. She knew when to say no and when to say yes. She fought for actions with producers and directors. The management came to Ms. Shamim Ara to invest money by hiring her in the characters that Ms. Shamim Ara would do a 100% job.
The question is how did she accomplish that?
She accomplished that by being slow and delaying the actions that needed more attention. One action at a time and move to a different action when the previous action is complete 100%.
This is called Delay Tactic. For example, whatever you need to accomplish or achieve something, you must let go for a while. Don’t focus on the need. What you need to focus are the steps involved in accomplishing that need. This is also called being proactive. In other terms, we can say struggle and not being lazy. We must know how to structure things virtually in our heads and then lay it down in writing and then build the framework.
Ms. Shamim Ara being a tomboy played an important role in her personality from the young age till the death.
Let’s talk about her being a director. She directed series of action movies which actually made money. She was a high risk taker. Keep in mind that a leader is a high risk taker. They take all the liabilities and accomplish things.
She has introduced in Pakistan the concept of series of films like Lady series; Lady Smuggler (1987), Lady Commando (1989) and Miss series; Miss Hong Kong (1979), Miss Singapore (1985), Miss Colombo (1984), Miss Hong Kong (1979), Miss Singapore (1985), Miss Colombo (1984).
All these movies are shot inside Pakistan and outside Pakistan. A movie shot in foreign countries require huge investment. She accomplished that in these movies. Ms. Barbara Sharif did tremendous performance. The work intensity of both Ms. Shamim Ara and Ms. Barbara Sharif is amazing.
Female Focused Movies
If someone actually follows Ms. Shamim Ara’s movies; they will realize that the story line or the plot is usually focused on the female which is normally her most of the time.
Why would she be work on and create female focused movies?
There is no single answer. However, it all depends on her background in Aligarh where she was brought up until she visited Karachi to visit her relatives in 1956 and then glued to the movie industry.
Critics can raise eyebrows about her background and her nobility. However, one has to understand that she grew up in a dancing family. Her original name was changed due to similarity of name between an Indian female dacoit, Agra based, and herself, Aligarh based. Mr. Najam Naqvi named her Shamim Ara for the movies.
Ms. Shamim Ara’s mother was very eager and thirsty to work in the movies. However, she was not able to find anyone. Or I would say that no one found her. Ms. Shamim Ara noticed that and took that action by heart.
We, men, don’t respect women when women works in any obscene character either in real life or in a movie. However, Ms. Shamim Ara trained men to respect women in her movies. One of the movies was Playboy (1978).
Has anyone thought of how a movie is created and developed?
For a simple movie goer, all a person watches a very handsome hero and an innocent but pretty looking heroine. They both are masked with makeup. The movie business has been evolving since ages.
If someone is a story teller and knew how to communicate; they would win the king’s heart. A story teller is full of emotions, sentiments, feelings and more.
A story teller is not one single person. It is a complete team from the cleaner, a transporter, lighting person, director, and a producer.
As Ms. Shamim Ara has said in her interviews that being an actress is easy when compared with a being a director.
Respect, that's all it takes
It is us, men, who need beauty. Men, who are sexually frustrated, look at women as a sex object or a glittery object. A woman is not an object. A woman is a human being. We, men, must know the definition of a human being.
In Islam, lowering the gaze is not just for women. It is also for men as well.
Ms. Shamim Ara might have been heavily criticized by male gender of being from a brothel house. In fact, all female artist in Pakistani film industry are being constantly and harshly criticized by men.
- Story Teller
- Delay Tactic by Management
- Carrying Yourself
- Being Proactive
- Not be Lazy
- Dreaming Big
- Taking High Risk
- Last but not least – Communication, speech delivery, voice tone
I personally don’t think films was her career. It was just a game for her that she played well like a walk in the park. Ms. Shamim knew how to entice the viewers. She just experimented with everything. She was a good social scientist. She understood humans and the humanity. May Allah forgive her sins and place her in Jannah with all the Muslims. Ameen.
The article was written by intensive reading on the Internet, watching movies, short interviews, and standup questions. There are several websites that focus on Pakistani movies and I researched about her background.