How ‘3 Bahadur’ reminded me of my childhood heroes
After months of speculations, Pakistan has finally stepped into a new era by releasing its first animated movie called 3 Bahadur. Fortunately, I watched the premier of 3 Bahadur which was organised in Karachi, with the sole purpose to evaluate the movie for my children’s viewing. To my surprise, as I watched the movie, I started reminiscing over my own childhood.
The time when my siblings and I used to read stories written by Ishtiaq Ahmed, an Urdu fiction writer famous for his spy and detective novels. Ahmed’s novel had three characters, who were students by the name of Mahmood, Farooq and Farzana. Hence I assume that Saadi, Kamil and Amna of 3 Bahadur are a depiction of those characters. While watching 3 Bahadur, I felt that perhaps Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy had also been a fan of Ahmed’s novels.
During the 80s, Ahmed used to write two novels each month. Therefore, on a monthly basis, we used to rush to the bookstalls to buy the latest novels, which in our time were as cheap as five rupees. Ahmed also wrote annual publications which were issued in the month of June. Annual publications were commonly called Khaas number, which consisted of 500 to 600 pages and would cost us Rs60. Today, Rs60 seems to be an insignificant amount but in the 80s, Pakistani currency had more value; further emphasis can be made by highlighting the fact that seven litres of petrol could have been bought in that amount.
Ahmed’s novels featured several characters but my favourite one was Detective Jamshed; he solved crimes with the assistance of his three children – Mehmood, Farooq and Farzana. Jamshed despised all evil and in his battle against crime, along with his children, his wife also helped by making special arrangements to protect their house.
Amongst the three children, Mehmood was the smart one with brilliant ideas. Farooq was street smart; he was the comical character in the novels. And Farzana always knew when danger was lurking around the corner. The ultimate villain in Ahmed’s Novels was Jeral, thus he was their worst enemy. The villains were not merely after money or power, instead they were morally corrupt and they always had some external forces facilitating them with their evil plans.
Unlike the characters of 3 Bahadur, Mahmood, Farooq and Farzana did not possess any super natural powers. Moreover, their enemies also lacked any such powers. While reading these novels, one used to start imitating these characters. I used to perceive my elder brother as Mahmood, myself as Farooq and my sister as Farzana.
My brother and I owned a sack full of Ahmed’s novels. Unfortunately, they were confiscated and discarded by one of my uncles who believed that these novels distract us from studies, hence we referred to him as the Jeral in our lives.
An astonishing fact is that Ahmed came up with unique ideas, when the world was free from terrorists activities and scientifically less advanced. Yet his novels highlighted the concerns of the contemporary world today.
For instance, Ahmed wrote a story titled ‘Parcel Mein Bomb’ (Bomb in Parcel) in the 80s. In this novel, a senior official receives a bomb through a package. Such a matter is likely to occur in the contemporary society, as the government authorities are rightly feared for their lives at all times.
Moreover, 3 Bahadur was a reminder that our childhood consisted of local heroes, whom we could connect with; they taught us about our culture and surroundings. These heroes used to inspire us to do well in education and sports.
Ahmed’s novels helped its readers to a great extent in improving their Urdu reading skills. Furthermore, they also spread great sense of patriotism. In those days, when technology didn’t hold a pivotal role in one’s lifestyle, reading was a common habit amongst the masses in Pakistan, thus Ahmed’s novels were popularly read.
Unfortunately, our current generation has numerous distractions in the form of television, computers, smart phones etc. One can only encourage the youth; however, the habit of reading cannot be imposed on them. It will be useful if the team of 3 Bahadur continues to expand their existence on Pakistani cinema, so the modern generation can associate themselves with the lead characters and derive motivation in order to become better citizens of Pakistan.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.