Shaken Aimanov - the legend of the Kazakh cinema

Many talented people laid the foundation for the Kazakh cinema and worked tirelessly for its development and preservation to this day. February 15th marked the 108th anniversary of the birth of the best of them - Shaken Aimanov.


Even the step taken by Shaken Aimanov into the world of cinema is a historical event. About this, the actor and director writes the following in his memos: “Before the war. To participate in the film came to the cinema. It was 1937. A film about Amangeldy Imanov was shot in the village of Kastek. Director - M. Levin. Came to see just for an hour. But I couldn't leave the set. Walked here all day. When I approached the director and asked him to give me a role, he replied that all the roles were assigned and asked me to act in extras, in the role of a soldier. What is it like being a soldier? I prepared a costume and did the makeup myself. On this day I was filmed. From that day on, my special love for cinema awakened.

Every Monday I came to the set. I did everything that was within my power. M. Levin made a promise: "If I shoot a film in the future, I will certainly give you a role." He fulfilled it and approved me for the role of Sarsen in the film "Raykhan", filmed according to the script of Mukhtar Auezov. That's how I became an actor."

In his memoirs, Shaken Aimanov wrote that he came to the cinema, not by chance. “Perhaps I accidentally came to the set. Maybe I wanted to act in films. But I worked hard for them to see and notice my talent. I did my best.”, he says.


One of the biggest roles that brought fame to Shaken A. is the image of Zhambyl. About this period of life, he talks with special warmth. Initially, the director was intended to play the role of Shaimukhamed. Shaken was 36 at the time. “My resemblance to Zhambyl is insignificant. I do not look like Zhambyl neither in my youth nor in my old age. I don't like the role of Shaimukhamed and don’t want to play it. However, I can’t refuse. During the rehearsal, he asked Yefim Lvovich to read him another poem. He took a dombra in his hands and began to read poems. I pour out the poems of Abai, Zhambyl, Sabit one after another. I had a highly developed memory. After reading any verse 3-4 times, he could memorize it. Reading the verse, I fill myself with a nightingale, getting used to various images. "Stop, stop! You don’t fit the image of Shaimuhamed, do you want to play Zhambyl?”, – the director asked at some point. Certainly, I do, how else could it be? Thus, I pulled out the image of Zhambyl. This is a heartfelt excerpt from the memories associated with the cinema world on the life path of the director.  


In addition, Shaken Aimanov was one of the famous theater actors. For the role of "Abay", the director even received the State Prize. Yet his pure love for cinema continued to lead him into the world of cinema.

Many contemporaries of Shaken Aimanov often say that he is a kind, educated, handsome, intelligent, talented, moral, and merciful person. Actress Sholpan Altaibayeva, who played Aisha in the film “Angel in a Skullcap”, says: “Shaken Aimanov was a real Kazakh. I dream that every Kazakh with his own personality would be like him. And what is his character? I have not seen such a director as Shaken Aimanov, who would love to be an actor and understand his soul.

It seems that fate has piled all the talent on the head of Shaken Aimanov alone. The song "Zhyrma Bes" in the popular film "The End of Ataman" was performed by Shaken Aimanov himself. Over time, the singing side also opened up and he performed several songs. Evidence of this is his acting side and the roles that he has played on the stage of the theater for about 20 years.


He acted as a director in such films as: “Aldar-Kose”, “Atameken”, “Angel in a skullcap”, “The End of Ataman”, etc. The youth and elderly know every episode of the film “Angel in a skullcap” produced by Shaken Aimanov. In this film, there is gullibility, kindness, and light jokes. Even now it remains one of the domestic films for family viewing.

A person who sincerely loves art always produces only sincere things.

“Both the operator, and the artist, and the composer must be undeniably talented. I think that even the administrator and pyrotechnician should be especially talented. However, the person responsible for both the success of the film and its failure is the director,” says Shaken Aimanov.

Each film shot by Shaken Aimanov is still relevant today. Perhaps it was his devotion to art that made him a true filmmaker. Once in one of his speeches, he said: “In fifteen years I made ten films. I still can’t call myself a full-fledged director.” This is an assessment given to oneself by a person who sincerely loves art.

The film studio "Kazakhfilm" in Almaty, named after Shaken Aimanov, continues the special path laid by the chosen ones from the world of the Kazakh cinema. A museum dedicated to Aimanov was opened in the film studio and a bust monument was erected. A cinema named after Shaken Aimanov was opened in the city of Pavlodar. This is all a small respect of the great steppe to the great son. The subtle works of the director, who was awarded the "Master of the Screen" award, today have become a rich heritage of the nation.


Author: Moldir Adamzhan

Translator-editor: Chingiz Smakov

Photo: from the open sources

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