Kora Kaghaz (Blank Page) was an Urdu movie released in 1978.
Pakistan and India are arch rivals in every sphere of life: war, cricket, nationalistic governments and possession of Kashmir, to name just a few. While you could say the Pakistani film industry was never large enough to be a serious rival to what has come to be known as Bollywood, there was always plenty of artistic appropriation going on between both industries.
Pakistani singers crossed back and forth across borders having hits and fans in both countries. Story ideas and plot lines were pinched without compunction from each other. The studios in Lahore and Karachi regularly remade mega-hit Indian films. By appending the same titles to their own creations they no doubt hoped to strike similar box-office gold as the originals.
Kora Kaghaz was the name of an Indian movie released in 1974 which itself was a remake of a Bengali film by the name of Saat Pake Bandha (1963).
The Pakistani version of the movie was a big hit. It ran continuously for 27 weeks in cinema halls in Karachi, attaining coveted Silver Jubilee status.
The film’s music was composed by Nazir Ali who was known primarily for his work in Punjabi films. Called by some the ‘master of rhythm’ his work covered the range of ‘fast’ ‘slow’, upbeat and ‘sad’ numbers including a number of ghazals that were made popular by Noor Jehan.
This song definitely qualifies as an ‘upbeat’ number.
Rhythm features from the outset with rapid fire drum rolls mixed with strummed acoustic guitars and the warm swells of a mellotron. Nahid Akhtar then enters with some ‘la la la’ ing that flattens out in a typical Punjabi way by way of introduction to the opening line, Some say I am a sweety!
The song is clearly an ‘item number’. A song sung by a vamp, usually to a rock n’ roll beat, in a disco or hotel cabaret. Nahid Akhtar was the queen of ‘item numbers’ in the 70’s making her reputation as one of Pakistan’s best-loved, most prolific playback singers. Her partnership with music director M Ashraf is particularly well remembered.
Some Say I am Sweety alternates between English and Urdu lyrics which are banal in both languages. But what the song lacks in lyricism it makes up for with a heady mix of instruments, sounds, and beats. Electic fuzz guitars, sizzling electronic keyboards, accordions, flutes and of course lots of snares and bongos.
Some say I am a sweety/ some say a queen of the beauty
I am alive/heart is beating/but my soul is hurting