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All roads lead to Bhendi Bazaar

Today is the last day of the Bhendi Bazaar Festival, the neighbourhood's first, and one, which hopes to illustrate the area's contribution to Urdu's legacy

In your reminiscences, Bhendi Bazaar is sure to have found place in shape of a neighbourhood with old architecture and vintage charm. The ongoing Bhendi Bazaar Festival will veer you toward its contribution to Urdu language and culture.

The Mughal Masjid at Bhendi Bazaar and (inset) festival director Zubair Azmi
The Mughal Masjid at Bhendi Bazaar and (inset) festival director Zubair Azmi

The festival has been organised by Urdu Markaz, an organisation which works toward revival of Urdu. Today, on the last day of the festival, the festival will take its participants on a thought-provoking journey, says Zubair Azmi, director of Urdu Markaz and the festival.

“The highlight of the festival is ‘Hundred Years of Urdu Cinema’. Urdu lyrics and dialogues have been an important part of Indian cinema, and this show will pay homage to 25 best songs over the past 100 years. Ghazals, nazms, bhajans and qawwalis have made our music ever so soulful, and singer Pooja Gaitonde will pay tribute to the people who have given us that legacy, including Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Shailendra and Hazrat Jaipuri. “We hope people appreciate the subtlety of Urdu,” smiles Azmi.

A rather quaint part of the evening will be the session titled ‘Zerelab’ in which TV actor Neha Sharad wil read out personal letters Javed Akhtar’s mother wrote to his father when the latter was struggling in the film industry in Mumbai. “They exchanged around 100 letters and Akhtar’s mother assures his father about how better days await them,” says Azmi. Another session will have voiceover artiste Madhvi Ganpule reading out Ismat Chugtai’s humourous short story, Dui Ka Ikka. Noted lyricists such as Ahmad Wasi (who wrote for Khayyam) and Akhtar Rumani (the oldest living lyricist from the Hindi film industry), Kausar Munir (who penned the lyrics for Ishaqzaade) will discuss the changing nature of lyrics in the Hindi film industry.

“We will also have a panel discussion between Urdu and mainstream media, wherein participants will debate the portrayal of the community in most of the media,” says Azmi.

When: Today, 5 pm-8 pm
Where: Imamwada Urdu Municipal School, opposite Mughal Masjid, Bhendi Bazaar
Entry: Free

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