Owner says he is dedicated to promote film signboard making art
* Lashari says Art and Craft Village best place for cultural activities
By Mahtab Bashir
The Hot Spot (THS) Café and Grill on Saturday opened its third outlet in the capital at Saidpur that has been declared Art and Craft Village.
A large number of diplomats, politicians, bureaucrats, students, and art lovers attended THS launch ceremony. THS is now a familiar name in Islamabad.
It opened about two decades ago, initially operating out of a house in F-6. Brainchild of Omar and Ali Khan, former Beaconhouse School teachers, THS entered uncharted territories by providing delicious homemade ice cream in a wide variety of flavours.
In an impressively short period of time, THS won a large clientele, appealing to hitherto unsatisfied appetites of ice cream eaters. “With the launch of THS third outlet at Art and Craft Village, my primary objective is to revive the desi film by putting up mega portraits of cinema icons in the shop. This culture of Punjabi, Urdu or even Indian movies signboards is quickly diminishing and I want not only to preserve this art but also to reinvigorate it,” Omar Khan, THS owner, told Daily Times.
He said the décor of this outlet was as imaginative as that of previous outlets and the rock walls were decorated with signboards of Punjabi, Urdu, and Indian flicks of old era like Aurat Raaj, Meri Zindagi Hay Naghma, Fanoos, Khul Ja Sim Sim, Pukaar, Dharti Sheraan Di, Chughal Khor, Jatti Da Weir and many more.
“I love horror movies and I represented Pakistan in International Movie Festival at Switzerland in 2004. That is why Hollywood horror paraphernalia which had become so integral to ‘The Hot Spot image’ is also here,” he said, pointing to horror movie signboards including the movies like The God Father, The Omen, Scar Face, Dogs, Halloween, Eldorado etc, made by the local artist Mohsin Raza.
Omar was born in the UK and attended film school at Emerson College, USA. He said, “I am perhaps the biggest fan of this local art of film signboards. And it would be better if we collectively make efforts to promote this art, so that artists could also survive besides preservation of our culture. I want to see these artists as lecturers in educational institutions so that they can transfer their expertise in a befitting manner to the youth.”
Omar is also a maker of film Zibahkhana, the first modern horror film from Pakistan.
Mohsin Raza, an artist, said unfortunately the art of making film characters and signboards was disappearing drastically. “We are struggling to revive this art which is also a symbol of our culture. That is why I am here to make people aware about this art,” Mohsin said.
He said, “It is really hard for me to stay alive in present situation, as people are oblivious about this art and I am afraid if the situation persists, this art would be on the verge of extinction.”
“I have been portraying these signboards since 1972. My medium is oil painting on canvas but since it is Art and Craft Village with trees around, I prefer to do it on wood,” said Mohsin, who has also displayed his work in Europe.
Kamran Lashari, Islamabad chief commissioner, said THS was a good addition in this village. “Besides, this is an excellent way to promote local art and artisans. It is the perfect place for tourists and thus it is the right opportunity to promote our indigenous crafts thorough our craftsmen and that would also help promoting our culture,” Lashari said.
Nageen Hyat, Nomad Gallery director, said THS was a brilliant idea of brothers Omar and Ali Khan. “They started several years ago on a small-scale selling homemade ice cream to close friends and relatives. Now, Omar is not only doing well in his business but also making efforts to promote art and culture through local artists,” she said.
“We haven’t lost everything. We have time still in hands to grab the opportunity not only for preservation of our culture but also for the sake of livelihood of our meticulous artists,” Nageen said.
- Daily Times