Shujaat Khan

Press Release » Literary Fest - Audience soaks in immortal verses


Kolkata : Not everyday does the city host such an evening when verses of the iconic Faiz Ahmed Faiz are recited by actor Naseeruddin Shah in chaste Urdu and rendered as ghazals by Ustad Shujaat Khan. Naturally, the audience at the Town Hall was mesmerized and long after the programme was over, the music kept reverberating in their ears. Or should we say souls?

The evening was a part of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival and was hosted in association with the Anamika Kala Sangam.

There was another first. Shujaat Khan, who is son and disciple of legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, played the sitar as he sang the ghazals. The programme was titled ‘Lab Azaad Hain’, rightly so because Faiz was an avowed Marxist who sang for the freedom of mankind. Ironically, many a time it cost him his own freedom and he spent some of his best years in jail. An intellectual, Faiz has often been accused of atheism by the political and military establishment of Pakistan. Throughout his body of works, he juxtaposed poverty and pain with everlasting love that mankind has been gifted with, Faiz has had a complicated relationship with religion.

The poet's daughter, Salima Hashmi, spoke about how easily verses came to her father and how humorously he would introduce them to the family. “Often he would send poems to my mother from jail. He was a die-hard optimist. He believed in universal brotherhood and every time he wrote he sang paeans to that,” Hashmi said.

Perhaps in coherence to this, Khan sang, Naseeb Azmaane Ke Din Aa Gaye Hain…Chalo Faiz Kahin Dil Lagaayen, Thikane Mil Gaye Hain and perhaps in the same tone, Shah read from another inimitable creation, Kalam Chin Gaye To Kya Ho Gaya Hai, Khoon Mein Oongliyan Dubo Di Maine. Naturally, the hall went into raptures with an ‘ahas’ and ‘wahs’.

Naseeruddin Shah and Ustad Khan perform at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival on Thursday