SHIKARPUR - Shikarpur, which was once known for its cinema houses, is losing its culture fast. There were three cinemas -- Plaza Cinema, Afshan Cinema and Naz Cinema – in the city where people used to go for entertainment, but Plaza Cinema and Afshan Cinema have been demolished by their owners.

Tharu Mal Masand was a municipal tax supervisor as well as a stage actor and he founded Capital Talkies Cinema at crowded Lakhi Dar in 1930, before the Partition of the subcontinent.

The Capital Talkies Cinema was acquired by Agha Badruddin Pathan after the Partition and he changed its name to Naz Cinema.

As we enter Naz Cinema, there is a room for the manager, then the entrance to the hall and then the gate for exit. There is a family room for almost six members and a machine room from where they used to play movies on screen. A simple and beautiful ticket house is located on the first floor.

The work of plaster in the building is so amazing. Design, artwork, flowerpots, roof, little huts and even the wooden work is matchless.

Naz Cinema gained the attention of viewers till year 2000. It is now in a dilapidated condition and crying for attention at Lakhi Dar’s crowded street, which is also known as Naz Cinema Street. The people of Shikarpur used to watch Hollywood, Lollywood and Bollywood movies in this cinema.

The World Monument Forum declared the entire city a national heritage site. Naz Cinema has also been notified as national heritage and the serial number is mentioned as 836 Naz Cinema Plot No. 167 in the notification issued by Sindh's Cultural Department. As many as 1,203 buildings have been notified as national heritage.

When contacted, Abdul Hameed Akhund, chairman of the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of Heritage of Sindh, said the trust was trying its level best to preserve the national heritage, but building owners were not cooperating.

Syed Mehdi Shah, the representative of the EFT in Shikarpur, told this scribe that EFT had contacted the owner of the building [Naz Cinema] for renovation, but he was not interested in renovation or preservation. However, he was interested in selling the building, Shah said.

This scribe tried to meet building owner Sadaruddin Khan, but he did not spare time for a meeting despite several attempts.