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The Bhendi Bazar kaleidoscope

What: The famed fables of Bhendi Bazaar, passed down from older generations, have created an aura around the locality, which beats a heart of its own. Infamous incidents aside, Bhendi Bazar has been a tremendous contributor to the Urdu language with the locality counting several noted poets, writers and filmmakers as its residents. Now, cherishing, celebrating and trying to revive the Urdu culture that has received much contribution by the locality is the Bhendi Bazar Urdu Festival. And a part of this three-day festival is a photo exhibition that chronicles the current and the past heritage and history of the locality.

Muharram processions on the streets of Bhendi Bazar
A little boy joins the Muharram processions on the streets of Bhendi Bazar. Pic courtesy/Mayank Soni

Saifee Masjid, Bhendi Bazar
Besides the beautiful architecture, it is the calm and serenity of Saifee Masjid that attracts a lot of followers. Pic courtesy/Mayank Soni

dargah of Abdul Rehman Shah Baba, Dongri
Sufi dervish blessing a devotee at the dargah of Abdul Rehman Shah Baba, Dongri. Pic courtesy/Rizwan Mithawala

How: Zubair Azmi, the founder of Urdu Markaz, the body organising the festival, tells us that they worked for two / three years trying collect photographs of the famous poets who resided at Bhendi Bazar. The task was daunting as these famous names have long left the world and their next generations worked as sources for these photographs. These images, which are a mix of new and old portraits and images of old literary mehfils will form the highlight of the exhibition. Also contributing to the collection is photographer and filmmaker Rizwan Mithawala, who being a resident of Mohammed Ali Road, gives an insider’s perspective through his lens. Photographer Mayank Soni, too, has captured the various candid facets of the locality, which is inching towards progress with plans of redevelopment and yet mirrors the past.

Dilip Kumar, a guest, Ramanand Sagar and noted Urdu writer Krishna Chandra
(From right to left) Dilip Kumar, a guest, Ramanand Sagar and noted Urdu writer Krishna Chandra

Lobaan at the dargah of Abdul Rehman Shah Baba, Dongri
Lobaan at the dargah of Abdul Rehman Shah Baba, Dongri. Pic courtesy/Rizwan Mithawala

Hamidiya Masjid, Pydhonie and Bhendi Bazar
Hamidiya Masjid, Pydhonie and Bhendi Bazar. Pic courtesy/Rizwan Mithawala

Where: Imambaada Municipal School Grounds, Bhendi Bazaar.
From: January 10 to 12;

Time: 4.30 pm to 10 pm
Entry: Free

Also, look for these at Bhendi Bazar...
>>Chwayanprash and other locally-made medicines are sold by vendors here.
>>Iranian Baklava at Iranian Sweets Palace on Imamwada Road in Bhendi Bazaar.
>>Patangwali Galli, near Mughal Masjid is a haven for quirky kites.

Did you know?
Jewish cemetary
The Jews were here too: A century-old Jewish cemetery right besides the busy Nagpada junction. The area had a high concentration of Jews until the 1940s and 1950s. Yesteryear’s Bollywood actress, Nadira, lived in Nagpada. At one time, as many as six synagogues dotted the stretch from Jacob Circle to Masjid. Pic courtesy/Mayank Soni

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