The New Indian Express
It was a story of poetry, politics, romance and grief. Noted lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar and veteran actress Shabana Azmi presented the life of revolutionary Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi, through a theatrical collage, ‘Kaifi Aur Main’, at a jam-packed Rabindra Mandap in the Capital City on Sunday evening.
Directed by Ramesh Talwar, ‘Kaifi Aur Main’ traced the lives of Kaifi and his wife, Shaukat, the childhood romance that ended up in their unusual marriage, the couple’s days of struggle during the pre-Independent India, his relationship as a lyricist with Bollywood and Kaifi’s work towards a progressive society even when he was partially paralysed following a massive heart stroke. While Javed played the part of Kaifi, Shabana essayed the role of her mother Shaukat in the play, which is based on Shaukat Azmi’s book ‘Yaad Ki Rehguzaar’ and some media interviews of Kaifi.
The play began with a young Hyderabadi girl Shaukat falling in love with the rebellious poet in the backdrop of the Freedom struggle and ends with Kaifi’s hard work towards bringing the fruits of development to his small native village. The beauty of the play lay in its simple rendering. Shabana, through her performance, portrayed the innermost feelings of Shaukat towards her husband. Javed in his rendition of Kaifi, was witty and comical at times. Every episode from Kaifi’s life was beautifully punctuated by ghazals and songs rendered by singer Jaswinder Singh and his five-member troupe. Jaswinder made it a delightful experience by interweaving songs like ‘Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho’, ‘Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho’, ‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’ – all Kaifi Azmi’s songs – into the play.
While the performances received standing ovation from audience, the only flaw that shadowed the play at regular intervals was the poor sound system in Rabindra Mandap that even irritated Shabana, Javed and Jaswinder. The play was organised by Zain Foundation and its proceeds would go for setting up an autism care centre in the State.
The New Indian Express, “Javed, Shabana Present Life and Times of Kaifi,” in The New Indian Express, July 27, 2015. Accessed on July 27, 2015, at: http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/Javed-Shabana-Present-Life-and-Times-of-Kaifi/2015/07/27/article2942857.ece
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