As a nation, the newly created state of Pakistan was struggling to get on its feet in all fields during the 1950s. By 1960, relative stability had been achieved and a new breed of professionals had come to the fore to support the 'retiring' ones. From politics to sports, 1962 is considered 'the' year and in films, it also brought about a positive change - be it the production of the first Urdu film Chanda from East Pakistan, the debut of the chocolate hero Waheed Murad or the Bengali starlet Shabnam.

The biggest change, however, came in the shape of director Fazl Ahmed Karim Fazli's Chiragh Jalta Raha (CJR), which produced mega stars, some that continue to shine at present.

While scouring through the travelogue of Pakistan penned by legendary Indian actor Balraj Sahini, this writer came across his description of CJR. The Rawalpindi-born Sahini made a short trip to Pakistan in 1962, and watched CJR in Faisalabad. In his book Pakistan - Ek Safarnama, the star of classic films such as Dharti Ke Laal (1946), Do Bigha Zameen (1953) and Kabuliwala (1961) was all praise for CJR that depicted the problems faced by a law-abiding family.

CJR was written and directed by an ex-Indian Civil Service/ Civil Service of Pakistan officer Syed Fazl Ahmed Karim Fazli, who was also a renowned poet and writer. I got in touch with the Fazlis and found my way to Bait-ul-Ghazal, their residence in the PECHS area of Karachi. Built in 1958, and situated in one corner of a 2,000 sq yard plot, the first glance at the double-storey house with its Moorish architecture transports you back in time.

Chiragh Jalta Raha was a trailblazer when it came to making films in Pakistan and launching the careers of many latter-day superstars. The filmmaker behind it was a forcibly retired bureaucrat...

The 73-year-old Rehmati K. Fazli, the younger son of Fazl Ahmed Karim Fazli and a film distributor/producer himself led me into the drawing room. Before I could sit down, pat came Rehmati's suggestion, 'Mohammed Ali used to sit on this sofa when he was associated with my father's company Dabistan Mehdood.'

Mohammed Ali in a promotional still for Chiragh Jalta Raha

It immediately transported me to the days when Pakistan was ruled by 'Field Marshal' Gen Ayub Khan. On asking how a bureaucrat ended up as a filmmaker, Rehmati K. Fazli took me back in time.

Born in Azamgarh in 1906, Syed Fazl Ahmed Karim Fazli studied in Allahabad and Oxford. During his stay in England, for his Indian Civil...

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