Renowned film and stage actress Shabana Azmi was in Bangalore on August 12 for a special screening of Kaifinama, a film made on her illustrious father and poet, the late Kaifi Azmi. The film, directed by Sumantra Ghoshal, paints a lovely picture of the life and times of Kaifi Azmi, whose real name was Sayyid Akhtar Hussein Rizvi. The legendary poet-lyricist was not just a writer, but also a Comrade till his last breath, a visionary, and a social worker who worked towards woman empowerment - much like what he preached through his famous poem Aurat wherein he urges the wife to walk beside him (and not behind him) in the journey of life.
The Kaifinama event was held at the newly opened Bangalore International Centre (BIC), in association with the Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bengaluru. Shabana Azmi interacted with the audience consisting og some well read and distinguished people at the BIC and spoke about her father Kaifi Azmi and mother Shaukat Kaifi with utmost fondness and reverence. The acclaimed actress read out the famous poems or sher of Kaifi Azmi Sa'ab, which were translated into English by Sumantra Ghoshal live for the only too pleased audience.
Post the interaction, a screening of Kaifinama was held exclusively for the patrons. Another discussion followed with Shabana Azmi, Sumantra Ghoshal and the audience, moderated by Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India and an acclaimed journalist-columnist.
Kaifi Azmi was born on January 14, 1919 in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, in the Hindi and Urdu heartland of India. Kaifinama is in celebration of the centenary year of Kaifi Azmi. There will be another screening of the Kaifinama film in Bangalore on August 13. It will be held at the Forum Shantiniketan Mall (East Bangalore), along with an interaction with Shabana Azmi.
Kaifinama is produced by the Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) run by the Azmi family, which works towards upliftment of rural India with a focus on the girl child. In Bengaluru, Shabana Azmi threw light upon how through the MWS, Kaifi Azmi worked towards changing the mindset of families towards the girl child. Shabana Azmi informed at the event that through their schools and training centres, Mijwan has been able to bring about women empowerment and more confidence in school-going girls, who were earlier married off at the age of 12 in rural India.
Mijwan is just one of the things that a multi-faceted personality like Kaifi Azmi contributed to society, naming the NGO after the village he grew up in. Kaifinama the film showcases this and other aspects of the great poet's life, including his early days of Urdu shayari (poetry) and his love story with Shaukat.
Made in documentary format, Kaifinama is pleasing to the eye and the ear. A good watch for connoisseurs of Urdu poetry and the culturally conscious.