The 1965 movie is still revered by many film enthusiasts for its storyline, compelling dialogues and musical score. One particular dialogue from the Rashid Akhtar directorial which has stood the test of time is, “Din noun raj faranghi da tay rati raj Malangi da” (The British rule during the day but Malangi rules at night).
Malangi is also remembered for the song Khana Dy Khan Prohany and an impeccable performance by actor Akmal who played the protagonist. Muhammad Ali, Zahir Shah and Santosh were also part of the cast.
Alienating the Punjab from Punjabi
It is pertinent to mention that, albeit for a brief period, Malangi did see a second release in 1987 and 2016 marks the third time it is being launched. “At a time when new films are not available as such, we have decided to re-release superhits of yesteryears. There is a crisis in the cinema industry and we have to do something to help it survive,” Pakistan Film Distributors Association president Ejaz Kamran told The Express Tribune. “Another reason we re-released Malangi was to teach our youth about the original culture of Punjab. The gangsters and enmities depicted in our films do not represent us. Punjab is a land of love and bravery and that side should be highlighted as well.”
Thesis show: ‘Punjabi is only looked down upon in Pakistan’
Kamran went on to share how his family has been working in the cinema industry for generations. “Malangi was actually produced by my uncle. My family members have been associated with the film business for years,” he revealed. “That is why I chose this film. I was very satisfied that the cinema house was full and am glad we will be showing the film for the next two weeks.”
Considering the struggle old cinemas having been facing against new entrants, it is hardly surprising that they are under severe financial pressure. In fact, with the general lack of new releases, many single-screen cinema houses have been on the verge of closure. There was a time when Lahore would be teeming with cinemas and theatres but now, the same buildings stand vacant and unkempt. With just 44 of the city’s original 90 cinemas still surviving, one can only sympathise with senior directors such as Pervaiz Rana, who believe multiplexes have established a monopoly of sorts. “Young film-makers that are active nowadays prefer modern cinemas in posh areas of the city,” he had said in an earlier interview. “Even old film lovers now like to see films in 3D cinemas and this is not good for local cinema-owners who were already suffering due to a shortage of film releases.” However, if the response to Banarsi Thugg and Malangi is anything to go by, it can be argued that there’s indeed light at the end of the tunnel.