May 08 2009
KHUDA KI BASTI ( 1969 & 1974 )
PTV’s “Mother of All Serials”
By RAJU JAMIL, Karachi
Shaukat Siddiqui’s Adamjee Adabi prize winner of 1964 “Khuda Ki Basti” is perhaps the only novel-based TV serial in the history of Pakistan which not only drew large viewer-ship but still remains an infectious memory of yesteryears.
Initially, KKB was produced in Nov-1969 jointly by producers ; Ishrat Ansari and Rasheed Umar Thanvi at Karachi TV’s that small and historical studio “A” which still stands galore at the Centre. There was an advisory committee of KKB comprising a panel of famous intellectuals; Faiz Ahmed Ahmed, Jamiluddin Aali besides Shaukat Siddiqui himself to ensure the perfection of the adaptation of the novel into drama.
The 1969 black & white serial had a booty of top PTV artiste of Karachi; Zahin Tahira, Zafar Masud, S.M.Saleem, Zahoor Ahmed, Qazi Wajid, Zafar Siddiqui, Tauqir Fatima, Shahjee, Arsh-e-Munir, Qayyum Arif, Amir Khan, Iqbal Tareen, Shakil Chughtai, Andaleeb, Raju Jamil and many others. It was a 25 minute weekly serial then which lasted 26 episodes. It is said that the day of KKB’s telecast saw the roads and streets of Karachi without traffic….soundless and absolutely quiet. The invitation cards of the wedding parties being held on the day and time of KKB’s schedule, always carried a small message saying “ TV Set Ka Bhi Intizam Hai “.
Halfway through KHUDA KI BASTI on air during 1969, the leading girl Tauqir Fatima suddenly expired of ulcer problem. Her on going character was replaced by the inclusion of Mussarat Sahafi.
At the unofficial awards ceremony held in Apr-1970 at Rio Cinema hall, KHUDA KI BASTI bagged 15 awards with Qazi Wajid receiving as the best actor award for character of “Raja” and Zahin Tahira as leading girl’s mom. The best supporting actor award went to Raju Jamil for his memorable character of “GEOFFERY” calling his subordinate “Solomon” instead of Salman. Both; Ishrat Ansari and Rasheed Umar Thanvi received the best producers award…a black & white 23” TV set.
In 1974 when Z. A. Bhutto was PM, he directed Yusuf Buch his Information Advisor for re-telecast of KHUDA KI BASTI as it was Bhutto’s favorite serial having awami message also. But the PTV had problems as the VTRs
( Video Tape Recordings ) of KKB on spool then (1969), had long been erased due to their scarcity and re-recording of other programs. Z.A.Bhutto insisted that the serial must be re-telecast even if fresh recording is essential hence the entire cast (of 1969 version) was again gathered at Producer Bakhtiar Ahmed’s room at Karachi TV Centre except for Zafar Masud who died in car accident in Egypt a year back, Iqbal Tareen who migrated to USA and Andaleeb who had shifted to Bangladesh in 1971. Zafar’s role as “Nausha” was enacted by Behroze Subzwari ( a young lad then ) and Andaleeb’s by Zooni Butt the then famous TV model and Iqbal’s by Saqib Shaikh as Salman. The rest of the cast remained the same with Munawwar Sultana ( now Mrs. Ghulam Mohiuddin ) playing the leading girl “Sultana”.
The 1974 version of re-recorded KHUDA KI BAST was 50 minute episode which lasted 13 weeks and created the same impact which the 1969 version did. It was KKB and nothing for the viewers. Bakhtiar did the fine job and this time the entire serial has been well maintained by PTV with a repeat telecast in 1990 which termed the adaptation of Shaukat Siddiqui’s novel KHUDA KI BASTI as “Mother of All Serials” at Pakistan Television.
Written by: Shaukat Siddiqui
Directed by : Bakhtiyar Ahmed
Cast : Zaheen Tahira, Qazi Wajid, Mehmood Ali, Zahoor Ahmad, Mohammed Yusuf, Zooni Butt, Raju Jameel, Arsh e Muneer, M Yahya, Tayyabb Ali, Liaquat Durrani, Hassan Shaheed Mirza, Imtiaz Ahmed, Shahid Jaffery, Subhani Bayounus, Shakeel Chughtai, Behroz Sabzwari, Munawwar Sultana, S M Saleem, Saqib Sheikh