Jashn-e-Rekhta 2016: Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar win plaudits as they stage 'Kaifi Aur Main'
This saga revolving around Kaifi Azmi and his wife Shaukat Azmi is indeed a warm treat on such cold evenings.
It might not be really wrong to say that the capital is literally bathing in all things artisty. The inaugural ceremony of the 2nd edition of ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta’ not only saw Najeeb Jung as a die-hard Urdu lover but also witnessed Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar’s brilliant performance ‘Kaifi Aur Main’ that moved the audience to tears and ended up getting a standing ovation.
What happens when a renowned actress and one of the finest lyricists of our country come together on stage? To say, it creates magic, might just be an understatement. Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar gave Delhi-ites an evening to remember with bringing to life Kaifi Azmi’s life and works through a dramatic rendition called 'Kaifi Aur Main'. It transports you to the era where the finest ghazals were written, where the Mushairas were more than just some evenings.
Set in the backdrop of the rebellious pre-independent India, this saga revolving around Kaifi Azmi and his wife Shaukat Azmi is indeed a warm treat on such cold evenings. It’s not just a direct narration of Kaifi Azmi’s personal stories but it’s a fine compilation of Shaukat’s interaction with him from the book ‘Yaad Ki Rehguzar’ and various interviews of Kaifi that have been woven together in a thread of just the right creativity by Javed Akhtar and Ramesh Talwar.
It’s not just about two people falling for each other but it’s a story for everybody who has ever fallen in love and dreamed of making this place a better place to live in. From Kaifi’s first meeting with Shaukat as a young girl to Shaukat weeping about her loneliness after his death, from Kaifi’s rebellious social revolutionary ideas to Shaukat’s elegant feminism; no stone is left untouched in this wonderful role play. More than the romance, it is simply enthralling to see how minutely all the details have been captured of Kaifi Azmi’s life; not just personal but professional too.
While Javed Akhtar’s part evoked applauds every time he hit the right note with maestro’s ghazals and nazmz, it was Shabana Azmi who bought tears to the eyes. Whether it was the fact that she was enacting her parents saga or just the brilliance she has as a performer; you just can’t deny the fact that every line she speaks, strikes a chord with the audience. When she smiled, we smiled. When she wept, we wept. It is hard not to mention how her face glowed with a mischievous smile when her character expressed her deepest feelings for Kaifi.
Even if you aren’t the most poetic person and you've absolutely no knowledge about Urdu language, as beautiful as it might be, you’ll still be amazed to see how Kaifi’s songs from Bollywood have been fit to suit the various gamut of moods and situations in the play. From 'Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam' from ‘Kaagaz ke Phool’ to ‘Tum Itno Jo Muskura Rahe Ho’ from ‘Arth’; Jaswinder Singh’s live orchestra just works like a cherry on the cake.
While there're just too many couplets from the play to be cherished and shared with you, we bring you the final words of Javed Akhtar about Kaifi Azmi that perfectly captures the essence of that great man.
"Ajeeb aadmi tha wo.
Wo zindagi ke sare gum, tamaam dukh ,
har ek sitam se kehta tha ki mai tumse jeet jaaunga;
tum ko hara hi dega ye aadmi, bhula hi dega ye jahaan, meri alag hai dastaan.
Aankhein jinme khwaab hai, wo dil hai jinme dhadkane, wo baazu jinme hai sakhart,
wo honth jinpe lafz hain, rahunga unke darmiyan ki jab mai beet jaaunga.
Ajeeb hi aadmi tha wo."
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