'Raag Shayari' will be a special evening of music and Kaifi Saheb's poetry conceived by Javed Akhtar and starring Ustad Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, Javed Akhtar, and Shabana Azmi and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan with production design by Anuradha Parikh.
Shabana Azmi says, "It will be an evening of archival value because Shankar Mahadevan will sing a selection of Kaifi Azmi's poems. Javed Akhtar will recite them in Urdu and I will recite the English translations with Ustad Zakir Hussain interpreting the same on the tabla.
Javed Akhtar adds, "The idea was to celebrate Kaifi sahab's poetry and its essence. The reason we have Shankar Mahadevan singing it with Zakir Hussain sahab interpreting it on the tabla and Shabana and I reciting it in Urdu and English respectively is to show how Kaifi sahab's poetry transcends boundaries of language and medium.”
Director Feroz Abbas Khan who is directing the show added, "It's a tribute to the greatness of Kaifi Azmi interpreted in different ways yet with a single thought running through the entire performance. With music, verse, and song we are attempting to share the universality and timeless quality of Kaifi Saheb's poetry."
Ustad Zakir Hussain says, "This is I think one of the first times where we are going to actually interpret the words and the rhythm elements through percussion along with the singing of Shankar Bhai to break the traditional sense of what the words are all about, and what Kaifi's life was, and what a unique human being he was.”
Says Shankar Mahadevan, "When you hear the name Kaifi Azmi you can just imagine that you are getting associated with history because he was one of those, I wouldn't say a poet I wouldn't say a social activist, I wouldn't say a film lyricists - he was a multifaceted, true legend in the true sense."
Kaifi Azmi, one of the finest Urdu poets of the subcontinent, was born in Mijwan, Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. As a poet, he grew with influential poems including Aurat and Makaan. Having written some of his most celebrated songs for films Kaagaz Ke Phool, Shola aur Shabnam, Hanste Zakhm, Haqeeqat and Arth, he is also famously known for writing some of the best screenplays and dialogues for films Heer and M.S. Sathyu's masterpiece, Garm Hawa.
Throughout the year, Kaifi Azmi will be celebrated in the country and abroad with mushairas, plays, seminars, a pen festival and three book releases.
Text & Images: SIFY