One of the Pioneer of Film Journalism in Pakistan
Yasin Gorija is one of pioneers of film journalism in Pakistan. In journalism he was student of Naseer Arbain subsequently Pervez Rahi also joined him. He started his professional career as journalist in 1950 and remained attached with film industry till last breath in December 26, 2005. Throughout his career he set an example of fair, composed and straight forward journalist for next generations. His unmatchable major contribution for film industry is his publication of film directories which he started publishing in 1966 and alone he kept on repeating it until few years before his death. His maintained not only the record keeping of Pakistani films rather he also formulated the record of Indian movies as well with the name of Ninety years of Indian cinema which is considered as an authenticated book both in India and Pakistan.
Yasin Gorija was born on October 27, 1926 in Phagwara, Kapor Thala state (Indian). His father was reciting Soort Yasin of the Quran when he was informed that he has been blessed with a son, so accordingly he named his son Yasin based upon his recitation. He was elder the son of his family out of six brothers and sisters. His father Nawab Din was a Cenetory He got his basic education from Ariya High School Moga. In 1941 his father died of Cholera and Yasin was studying in matriculation so he passed his matriculation in 1942 and left the education and was unable to fulfill the dream of his father who wanted him to go to Dev Band to become Islamic scholar. From his young age he started watching movies, Amar Jeyoti of Shanta Ram was his film when he was hardly ten years old. Anyhow being the elder son he quit his education to look after his family and joined a printing press as composer. After six months he shifted to Ludhiyana at Jando Electric Press in 1943 at the salary of Rs.60 per month. At this press he learnt English and Gormukhi composing and with this he took a book stall of Minerva cinema on rent in 1943 and his routine was from 9am to 5pm at press and then 5pm to 11pm at book stall. In Minerva cinema he used to watch movie on daily basis and at the same time he developed a friendship with cigarette Pan Shopkeeper named Jagdesh Chand Pasi who normally took him to his house where he learnt Hindi from Shakishla the sister of Jagdesh. Meantime he also took the book shop of Rekhi Theater and also able to get the agencies of film magazines. Now he used to watch movies and starting reading all sort of film magazine which stimulated him to write for the magazine.
In 1946, Yasin Gorija went back to Moga due to political unrest in the country. Next year on 14th August on declaration of Pakistan maximum Muslims migrated to Pakistan but his hometown was surrounded with friendly Hindus and Sikhs but his mother was in very good terms with them so she refused to leave Moga. But just after four days their neighbors suggested them to leave for the moment as things were getting worse with passage of every day. So on the approval of his mother, their neighbor s managed to drop them to railway station but erroneously they went back to Ludhiana instead of Raiwind Pakistan. Curfew was imposed there in Ludhiana so on September 4th they were able to move to Pakistan. Here Yasin arrived at Lahore Cantonment station where he spent the night at Station and next morning with the help of his relative he was able to settle his family in a small home situated at Dil Muhammad road.
Yasin Gorija’s Facts…
To look after his family Yasin Gorija wanted to utilize his previous experience of selling books and magazine so he took books worth Rs. 50 on loan from Ashraf Book Depot and started selling those books on road side in front of Nishat cinema but once he was stopped by the cinema contractor he came at Lakshmi Chowk in front of the office of India Films and started selling books on road side footpath. After spending three months in that business he was able to manage a job in Asha Art Press as composer on Rs. 60 per month. With the job he handed over the road side book shop to his younger brother. Side by side again he exploited his expertise of publishing film songs he started not only publishing the songs but he added the stories of the film as well and he got a good response.
Career as Journalist
During that point of time Lakshami Chowk was becoming a film market so new film distribution offices were opening on every next release of the film. In press service, one of Yasin Gorija’s job was to get the stationary order from film distribution office so to accomplish his task he used to visit those offices very frequently. With the induction of film distribution offices it also geared up the publication of film oriented magazines and digests. In 1949, he started writing for Attaullah Shah Hashmi’s weekly “Adakar” which used to be published from Lahore and Bombay at same time and was popular film magazine of that time. Since Yasin had the experience of writing stories of films so started writing in its questions / answer section and film reviews for the magazine Adakar.
As Yasin used to visit film distribution office so he met with Muhammad Ali the assistant director of Nazir Ajmeeri, so he started visiting film studios with him and observed that people related to journalism are well received by everyone on the film set. That gave him a lead and he started publishing a film magazine “Abshar” on the same footing of weekly Chitra Dehli with partnership of his friend but just after five months he gave it to his friend Hakim Ameer ud Din and started publishing his own fortnightly magazine named “Rim Jhim” on a newspaper size. Meantime to further polish his writing Meantime he became student of Naseer Arbain in film journalism who also migrated to Pakistan from Bambay where he was the owner and editor of Inqalab and Nawa e Watan. After migration he continued publishing his weekly Nawa e Watan form Lahore in which he used to criticize different shortcomings of the society. Naseer Arbain was true patriot of Pakistan and wanted strict ban on the release of Indian films and made his all-out efforts in his humble capacity in elevation of Pak films. On the other hand, Yasin Gorija indeed polished himself throughout the period he remained understudy with Naseer Arbain. At the same period he started paper work for his own film Piyambar but subsequently he dropped the idea due to some obvious reasons. In 1953, their newspaper issued a special addition against the release of Indian films Awara and Barsat. And when the complete film industry became one against the release Indian Fiim Jaal released by Bari Malik, Yasin again joined the agitation group and strongly supported them through his magazine as well. Resultantly he was arrested and after one month once the matter was resolved in Karachi he was set to release. But during this period Yasin Gorija’s patriotism was further refined and that remained throughout rest of his life.
In 1953, he left the press job and side by side issuing of Rim Jhim he also joined Muhammad Ali the assistant director of Nazir Ajmeeri in film direction. As he was already well familiar in writing the film story so this experience further enhanced screenplay writing and other film making fields. So as screenplay writer, production manager and assistant director he worked in different films like Piyambar, Suhag, Adakar and Mumtaz. On the recommendations of Yasin Gorija Musician Shehar Yar was hired in film Suhag to compose its songs but the film was stopped after recording of its four songs.
Yasin Gorija remained attached with Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj. As earlier mentioned that he was assistant to Muhammad Ali in film Mumtaz and worked as Production manager and in screenplay writing. In 1958, he went to Karachi for the release of film Mumtaz, there he met many showbiz personalities for the first time like Salah ud Din Paracha of weekly Kirdar so he started writing column named Lakshami Chowk for Kirdar on weekly basis. From 1959 he started writing columns for weekly Nigar Karachi, monthly Director Lahore, weekly Taziana Karachi. After the failure of Mumtaz, he started his own production film Mangti under the direction of a new comer Ashraf Khan, music composed by Saif Chughtai and Aslam Pervez, Bahar, Rukhsana, Rajni and Nazar played the lead role of the film. Yasin Grija’s film Mangti was inspired by Mungti released in 1942, Mangti was finally released in 1961. At the same time publishing of his magazine Rim Jhim was stopped because it came under the press ordinance of President Ayub Khan, he tried but he was unable to get declaration of his magazine.
At that point of time he realized that no one has ever maintained the film history of Pakistan so he collected the film record from the scratch and in 1966 he published Pakistan’s first Film Directory which was responded well from all walks of life. Basing upon this response the encouraged Yasin Gorija next year published the directory with additional information of ten years. Afterward he started publishing this directory on every year, in 1973 he compiled all the details and issue a directory covering the information pertaining to twenty years. This directory was well received by all and Yasin was able to establish his standing especially in film circles. Undoubtedly, all the credit goes to him for recording the film history of Pakistan whereas it was primarily the job of some official or Government department.
In 1970, he released Takhat o Taj as film distributer. Yasin Gorija again started his new project and produced film Uchi Haveli which was directed by Maqsood Ayaz and music was composed by G. A. Chishti. Naghma, Habib, Razia and Mazhar Shah were in the main cast. He released Uchi Haveli in Karachi as its film distributer as well. In year 1973 he was appointed as Bureau Chief of weekly Nigar and same year as film distributer released film Dulhan Rani.
After seeing his popularity he was contacted for writing the column “Sitaron Ki Duniya” in Karachi based monthly “Roman” it was again well taken step and increased the circulation of the said magazine. During the same period, Salah ud Din joined weekly “Nigar” so Yasin also started writing for this filmi newspaper. Yasin Gorija kept on writing for Roman till the death of Saeed Amrat and in weekly Nigar till his own death. In 1976 he released film Shehzor and became Bureau Chief of monthly Roman Karachi. Basing upon his experience and grip over screenplays which was further polished when he used to vet the scripts of Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj and his knowledge over film production and distribution his services were hired by the country’s biggest film production banner “Shabab Productions” and he remained there for twelve years until the death of Shabab Keranvi in November 1983. It was a great confidence on Yasin by the Shabab Production when he was asked to write story and screenplay for their first color film Tumhi Ho Mehboob Merey. After release the film was flop and according to Yasin the director has changed the sequence of the story before interval therefore, it lost its attraction.
During his career Yasin Gorija gave a boost to many artists like he picked up Ayaz ana Neelo for Piyambar as a lead artist and gave Saqi a strong role for the first time. In film Shola Aur Shabnam, he recommended to be inducted Muhammad Rafi Khawar from Railway Naach Ghar and definitely due to his own potential subsequently he became Pakistan’s top leading artist known as Nanha but it was Yasin who gave him the chance for the first time. In the start of her career, renowned singer Naseem Begum recorded two songs for film Azam, music composed by the Khadam Hussain Bansri Wala but sound recordist of His Master Voice Mr. Cress rejected Naseem Begum because of her young age. Musician Sheher Yar was assigned to give music for Suhag on the request of Yasin Gorija, three songs were recorded and on the rehearsal of forth song a dispute was erupted in between Noor Jahan and musician Shehr Yar on a beat of some drum player (Tabla Nawaz) and Noor Jahan refused to sing therefore, producer of the film fired Sheher Yar from the music of film obviously on the grumble of Noor Jahan . The hearted Shaher Yar thus was in lookout of some singer to address Noor Jahan soon he got the chance in film Be Gunah when he recorded the song “Naino mein Jal bhar aaye” sung by Mrs. Dastoor but he was not satisfied so Yasin Gorija recommended him the Naseem Begum for the same song which was accepted by Sheher Yar, the song was recorded and it proved a hit song after its release that gave a strong base to the singer as well. Upon this favour, Naseem Begum reamined so obliged to Yasin Gorija that she sang song for his film Uchi Haveli only for fifty rupees per song.
In 1991, keeping in view his services as film journalist he was awarded with Nigar Award for the best journalist of the year. In next year he was awarded Best Film Journalist National Award.
In 2000, after the popularity of his film Directories, he wanted to preserve some film information for next generations so he published his columns in a book “Lakshami Chowk”, in which he threw light on the life of film personalities and artist and mentioned certain film related events from year 1947 to 2000. After seeing its reception Al-hamra Publishing approached Yasin Gorija from Islamabad for a new book so he wrote “Pakistan Ki 100 Shahkar Films” and he commented upon the story, music, direction and film technique of hundred best all time films of Pakistan. Afterward he has written a biography of Noor Jahan with the name of “Noor Jahan Fun Ke Aainey Mein” which may be declared as perfect book on Malka e Taranum Noor Jahan’s life and on her work, in the same book he gave complete five hundred songs of Noor Jahan as well. In year 2003, he published the Pakistan Mallinium Film Directory and gave the complete record of films from 1924 to 2003. In next year he published the second edition of Pervez Rahi’s Punjab ki Filmi Tareekh. In 2005 he published the urdu translation of Indian Cinema Ke 90 Saal.
During his film career Yasin Gorija remained member of Central Film Censor Board and Chairman of film Journalist Association.
On 3rd June 2005, Fun and Art Promoter society Hyderabad arranged a crowned ceremony to pay tribute to Yasin Gorija for his best services to film and film journalism. The ceremony was attended by film director Muhammad Javed Fazal, film producer Ghafar Danawala, Aslam Ilyas Rashidi (editor weekly Nigar), Mustafa Qureshi, Syed Kamal, Shoukat Zaman, Rizwar Haider Burni, A. R. Gul, Anwar Baig, Umer Khatab, Qasier Masood Jafri, Zia Najmi, Ayub Aahi, Altaf Imrani, Qasim Patail, Rajab Ali, Pervez Mazhar, Adil Murad, Muhammad Aslam, Ather Javed Sufi and many more. During their addresses every speaker talked very high about Yasin Gorija and at the end he was crowned by Aslam Sheikh.
Honors and Awards
During his fifty five years of professional career as film journalist he was warded with many honors and awards, details is as under:-
- 1988 – Best Film Journalist Award by Asian Cultural Society
- 1989 – Member Film Censor Board Punjab
- 1991 – Nigar Award on Best Services in Pakistan Film Industry
- 1992 – National Award on Best Services in Film Journalism
- 1985 – 1990 – Chairman Pakistan Film Journalist Association
- 1992 – Agfa Award as Best film Journalist
- 1993 – Best Performance Award by Film & TV Journalist Association Karachi
- 1994 – Best Film Journalist Award by Talent Award Faisalabad
- 1995 – Best Journalist Award by Masawar Award Lahore
- 2005 – Crowned in Hyderabad
Yasin Gorija remained in film Industry more than half a century but his self-character was exemplary. Throughout his career he never encountered any embezzlement, exploitation and spent a scandal free life. In September 1948 he got married to his paternal cousin in Jaranwala (Faisalabad). His marriage was true example of simplicity as he managed it for rupees twenty seven only, no dowry and only two person his maternal uncle Abdul Hamid and Charagh Din attended the marriage ceremony. On his way back from Jaranwala to Lahore he met with a flood so he along with his bride cross this one mile long water flood on foot and once he brought his wife in his house there was no wedding bed to receive his newly wedded bride. That’s how he started his matrimonial life and blessed with one son Muhammad Shahzad and five daughters Balqees w/o Khalid Masood, Shafqat w/o Aslam Faizi, Shagufta w/o Tanvir Ahmed, Rahila w/o M. Sohail and Aroosa w/o M. Asif. His fifty seven years old matrimonial life was broken when his wife died in 2003.
Demise of the Great Journalist
On December 20, 2005 he fell down in his bedroom due to high blood pressure and very next day again he was unable to control himself once going to bathroom and fell down and banged his head on the ground which caused him inner head injury, resultantly lost his memory and was unable to even recognize his dear ones. Her daughter in law took him to Dr. Umer Adil who started his treatment but Yasin Gorija was unable to sustain the injury so finally took his last breath at 12:40 pm on December 26, 2005 at Meo Hospital Lahore. His funeral prayer was offered at Mubarak mosque Islamia college, Railway road and was burred at 10:00 pm at Miani Sahib graveyard Lahore.
Latest News / Events
December 26, 2013
Yasin Gorija‘s 8th Anniversary
Renowned film journalist and historian Yasin Gorija’s 8th death anniversary was celebrated at Punjab Institute of Language, Art & Culture on December 26, 2013. The program was organized by his lifetime companion Tufail Akhtar Dada, Sughra Sadaf (PILAC) and Rana Naveed Ahmed. Aizaz Ahmed Azer performed the duties of stage secretary of the tribute ceremony. Writer Pervez Kaleem, Actress Bahar, Bushra Rehman (Writer, columnist and politician), Baba Muhammad Yahya Khan, Pervez Rahi, Almas Bobby, Tufail Akhtar paid their humble tribute to one of the pioneers of film Journalism in Pakistan. Family members of Yasin Gorija including his grandson and grand daughter, Khursheed Alam (Writer) and many more attended the function and during the function Pervez Rahi was awarded with life Achievement Award.