Relive Kaifi Azmi's genius

As the All India Kaifi Azmi Akademi in Lucknow proposes to digitise his works, Culture Shoq Poet’s Lab will discuss the legendary progressive poet later this month in Mumbai

His verses are now our social cliché, catchphrases for ad campaigns, injected into our ability to express and emote in ways we don’t even realise. The hauntingly painful lines, Waqt Ne Kiya … from Kagaz ke Phool with Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman or Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathhio penned by Kaifi Azmi, with or without our knowledge, has seeped into our lives to become a part of our everyday existence.

Kaifi Azmi
Kaifi Azmi

Tribute to the legend
To celebrate this star of the progressive poetry movement, and understand his work and currency better, Culture Shoq Poet’s Lab, a wing of Cuture Shoq (a platform for developing performing arts), will be discussing the life and times of Kaifi Azmi at their monthly event, Celebrating Classics, on December 27.

A poster of Kagaz Ke Phool
A poster of Kagaz Ke Phool

This series, Ramneek Singh, a member of the literature team of The Hive says, started with revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and was followed by events on Amrita Pritam, Sahir Ludhianvi and Ahmed Faraz.

The evening will see a short documentary compiled by the Culture Shoq team, an open mic event where young poets will read out their works and a session of reading session of Azmi’s poems.

Shabana Azmi
Shabana Azmi

“Many in the earlier generation love his poems but we want to introduce him to the younger generation, to make them aware of his relevance,” he shares.

May his works live on
The team also invited Shabana Azmi, Kaifi Azmi’s daughter, and her lyricist husband Javed Akhtar for the event. Shabana, who is yet to receive the invite, sent over words of encouragement. “I am delighted at this initiative and surprised nobody from my family knew about this…But I suppose that is true appreciation because Kaifi belongs to the people he wrote about and struggled to bring justice to,” she texted this reporter.

Saurabh Jain, a part of the organising team, says that for the documentary and the talks they go through intensive research to dig out facts and anecdotes and pick poems that are most relevant. “While researching, I realised how important his poem, Aurat, written 50 years ago is,” he shares. Jain adds that young poets should learn from Faiz and Azmi to talk about things around them instead incessantly bothering about form and vocabulary.

On: December 27, 8 pm
At: 50-A Huma Mansion, next to Ahmed Bakery, Chuim Village Road, off Union Park, Khar (W).
Call: 9619962969

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