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Jaipur Literature Festival 2015: Shabana Azmi and Salima Hashmi remember their famous fathers Kaizi Azmi and Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Shomini Sen | http://shominisen

First published: January 23, 2015, 8:28 AM IST | Updated: January 23, 2015
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Jaipur Literature Festival 2015: Shabana Azmi and Salima Hashmi remember their famous fathers Kaizi Azmi and Faiz Ahmed Faiz
It was a special session indeed when daughters of two very renowned poets of the sub continent, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Kaifi Azmi came together to discuss their illustrious fathers.

Jaipur: It was a special session indeed when daughters of two very renowned poets of the sub continent, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Kaifi Azmi came together to discuss their illustrious fathers and their poetry in front of select audience at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

Hindi films actress and activist Shabana Azmi discussed her father Kaifi Azmi with Salima Hashmi, Pakistan's famous artist and activist who is Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz's daughter.

Both celebrities in their own right spoke about their father's passion for poetry and literature at large. Being poets, both women admitted, their fathers attracted a lot of female attention. "My mother came from a upper middle class background. She fell in love with a young dynamic poet in Hyderabad during a conference. Abba( Kaifi Azmi) had recited to Ammi one his poems called 'Aurat' at that conference and my mother was convinced that it was written for her. So that's the kind of impressions poets had on women," said Shabana Azmi.

Both Salima and Shabana admitted that their mothers played a strong role in their lives and that the two were never obliged to follow their father's footsteps perhaps because they knew the daughters would take right path eventually.

While Salima stated that she had to face hardships during the time of partition, and her father's arrest, Shabana, on the other hand 'never felt a sense of deprivation'.

Shabana also added that inspite of limited resources, she saw her mother being hospitable. Their spartan Janki Kutir cottage in Bombay hosted people like Faiz, Josh Malihabadi, Firaq Gorakhpuri and Begum Akhtar who chose to stay there rather than be put up by any of their rich admirers. "My mother owned only one gold bangle. Whenever it went missing, my brother Baba and I would know that we were having guests over and that bangle has been pawned."

Shabana Azmi also admitted that her father Kaifi Azmi became a lyricst for the money that it brought him. "His work as lyricist is limited but all very good. The film he wrote all flopped and he was called 'unlucky' within the industry. When Chetan Anand came to him, he was apprehensive to work and stated pointed to his record, Anand said he had a similar record and maybe their bad stars would cancel each other out and the result was 'Haqeeqat'."

In terms of working style, Faiz Ahmed Faiz was a diligent 'kalam ka mazdoor' who would wake up everyday at 6 am, bathe and sit down to write while Kaifi's style was a bit chaotic. "Writing was no big deal for him. It just happened to him," said Shabana Azmi

Shabana though mentioned that in spite of their closeness, she never discussed the break up of the communist party with her father as it was too painful for him. "It was more like a religion to him, so talking about it would just hurt him," added the actress.

With Shabana's husband Javed Akhtar sitting in the front row in the audience, some one asked her whose poetry she preferred more Kaifi Azmi or Javed Akhtar, the actress promptly replied, "Faiz Ahmed Fazi" as Salima Hashmi laughed out.

(With Inputs from IANS)

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