Shabana Azmi on father Kaifi Azmi: Abba would be very pleased

Updated: Jan 12, 2020, 07:32 IST | Sonil Dedhia | Mumbai

Concluding her year-long tribute to father Kaifi Azmi with the screening of brother Baba's film, Shabana remembers the legendary poet.

Javed Akhtar and Shaban Azmi
Javed Akhtar and Shaban Azmi

On January 14, 2019, which marked the birth centenary of Kaifi Azmi, commenced a year-long tribute to the legendary poet and lyricist. After an array of mushairas, plays and seminars, the tribute will come to a close on January 14 this year with the screening of Kaifi's son, Baba Azmi's first directorial effort, the Hindi feature film, Mee Raqsam (I Dance).

The film that explores the relationship shared by a father and his daughter also features Naseeruddin Shah in a special role. It was shot in Kaifi's hometown Mijwan, near Azamgarh. Baba tells mid-day, "My father had asked me if it would be possible to shoot a film in Mijwan. Those words stayed with me. It's emotional for me as this is my tribute to him."

Lyricist Javed Akhtar, husband of Kaifi's actor-daughter Shabana Azmi, was the brain behind the celebration. Akhtar says. "So many people came together to participate and contribute [to this tribute]. Shabana and I recited his poetries, while Shankar Mahadevan sang them and Ustad Zakir Hussain interpreted them on the tabla. A documentary [Kafinama] was made by Sumantra Ghoshal. So, it has been an interesting year."

Baba Azmi with Naseeruddin Shah
Baba Azmi with Naseeruddin Shah

Shabana, who has been overseeing the developments, says, "With satisfaction and gratitude, what started off as a family tribute, was soon embraced by poetry lovers. We had over 48 celebrations during the year, including lit-festivals in UK, USA, Europe, and India. Mee Raqsam is about a Muslim tailor in Mijwan, and his daughter, who wants to learn Bharatnatyam. This is the ultimate tribute to Kaifi, who loved his village. The role of the teenager will be played by Aditi Sharma. She is a resident of the village and the daughter of a former attendant of abba [Kaifi Azmi]. I get gooseflesh when I think how pleased abba would be."

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