It was one of those usual movie screenings that I thought. The same 6 pm exit, pop into the notice board, get glued to the notice for about 5 minutes, sailing towards the auditorium without having second thoughts. Finally I am in that cozy, lousy, comfy, atmosphere all around. Almost dark with those decorative LEDs around lighting up the surroundings as though they rule the dark now. Then the spot light flashes on a person sitting on there in the front row.
Hushhh and there I find the advent of silence after a 15 min long chitters chatters of the aged ones around, the so called BIC members. I wonder how people spend so much on just being members of such clubs and centers so that they can relax and enjoy their leisure times at some place like this rather than Home!! If I relate….The Membership fee for an individual in such clubs in Bangalore here could suffice the whole 4 year engineering expenses of a needy in AP!!!
“Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce Mr. Yousuf Saeed…..” said a beautiful voice. My focus now shifts onto this one now. The Rich, The Poor ….The Needy and The Wealthy can be discussed later.
Yousuf Saeed, an Independent filmmaker and a researcher who had to wait for more than 6 months to get a Visa approved for coming up with this wonderful work from Pakistan. Pretty much an eye opener his movie “Khayal Darpan”…that I get an opportunity to have a look into the brighter side of Pak for whole 180 minutes.
What the promoters have to say…can be read in http://ektaramusic.com/khayaldarpan/melodypak.html
My words, here it goes…
Pak…First few thoughts that would hover across everyone’s mind…some stuff of war, enemy, terrorist…and all the worse things the mankind could ever imagine. This one does not deal with such critical issues. So What it is..??
Even my engineering friend at C.B.I.T., Ravi, a rock and metal freak once listened to the melodies of Roja, a perfect musical hit from my i-pod. As long as the music is pleasing…who cares of the language or the age…?
“Shankara suta Ganesh…..Gauri nandan…” and so the song goes on in an enchanting beautiful voice… sang by the visually disabled lady Alia in some remote village of Pak. Yes you did read it right…Strange?? Well that only made my eyes open wider in that very comfy auditorium. What is My Friend Ganesha ji doing in Pak in form of these songs?? Whatever it is, this lady has come all the way to India, to learn this classical piece. Guess what, she is the only common citizen in Pak who got 4 year visa to India!!
Thus starts the Traditional musical journey…the classical one…The sitars and sitars…and sitars and variety of sitars. Interviews from Lahore, the present picture among the students at National College of Arts – Lahore and more. Looking at the jaw dropping differences of the past and the present. Yes change is inevitable, but to this extent? Seriously this paradigm shift should drive one to think upon the perception, the approach people had upon the very music of its own kind…just because of some rivalry among the nations. Does it have to go so deep that the context of the culture, the music…that has been carried over different generations is subjected to personal modifications based on religion and nationality?
Baddruzuman’s (classical singer, Lahore) facial expressions during singing, reflecting how deep he was involved…to Shehroz Hussain, a 10 year old boy’s “Dekho sakhi mare piya …” song that laid us spellbound wanting for more. The instruments, handmade…with an intention to connect the mind, the heart of a human. The dedication was so intense that there were few who spent more than 35 years in designing such instruments. All this strike the cord of emotional communication. The photography, the pictures on the screen during the movie… with the music in background……a great inside view of Pak.
Different artists express their concern of this art dying as time passes by. There reasons shed light upon the extreme capabilities on the narrow mindedness of people and the way as they looked things at. They say that there is no such thing as voice training these days. “We don’t have a product to sell to the new generation” shares one such eminent artist Sijjal Ali who happened to share his pre partition experiences in the way the classical music was in harmony. The current generation is into more of the western music, all to do with the raps, the headbangings, metal, rock and what not.
It was shocking to see how the classical music just fades off…phase by phase after every war in 60s and 70s. Currently it is said to be the “Dark ages for Classical Music”. Not all are into this form of music now. Back then there were concerts where audience knew the techniques and nuances of Taal and other such terms. It was the audience who would decide the ability of a performer. The Gharanas, the Dhrupads…would happen with the Bang!! Unlike today…it’s all about the Rock Band!!. Even if such classical concerts happen, it’s only for the elite mix.
One of the reasons for its disappearance is lack of teachers in numbers. People are there, but are confined to themselves and their closed communities. For most of them, this art is within the family. Not many would like to share this to the common public. There was one such angle to the reasons for the decline to such era. Such music then was tagged to what we call as Red Light areas. It is evident that why would people not from this particular musical background would allow their children to learn such music when it has got such a tag. It is still a debate in Pak if music has to be allowed or not. I learnt that in the Namaz, though the Azaan contains some musical element, it should be only considered as the call for the lord. The music in it is not meant to be enjoyed.
The fall of classical music also had few unbelievable instances like, the lyrics were changed or the whole song was scrapped just because they did not want to call Durga or Vaidevanti etc. which were the part of the lyrics. Names like Shiv was changed to Shub…and so on. The question arises, these regional, religion differences, the small tinge of enmity of few responsible ones behaving irresponsible way kills the whole atmosphere. “What is the point of revival again??” was one such view from the fellow audience.
Recently there has been some improvements. New platforms like Coke Studio encouraging people to come forward to show case their talent are in place. After the General Zia’s era, it is said that the revival starts and was encouraged by Musharraf. Such initiatives are however lacking appropriate funds for them to be alive. In India, bodies like Spic Macay are trying to get that flavor back reaching out to colleges.
Our M.Tech group at TU started off with the trend of opting to have a classical end by inviting Spic Macay, instead of some Rock Band…for the closing event of our tech fest REtopia. If language is the reason as a barrier, the view is perfectly wrong. Music does not need any language to be accepted. The efforts for survival of such music continues, in form of fusions these days. I loved the Advaita’s performance in fusion back then in SARC festival at Old fort in December 2011.
I finally get that the Punjab musical heart is by origin vigorous. Only realized not to blame the DJ at TERI University for playing those Punjabi songs. So dear DJ you’re a poor lil chap all this while for I cursed you a lot then. I should understand that this style was never the tea of my cup. Just can’t blame anyone…maybe I was unfortunate for not understanding the beauty of it.
The journey of an Indian film maker exploring the classical music traditions for Pak !! …The content I relished that 180 minutes was perfectly out of my subject though. No pumps, no boilers, no Heat exchangers, no chillers…It’s a different track all together, that I was enjoying. In addition to that…I could peep into how Pak looks like…and how life exists. Not all are Anti-India there. Few such things that Many really miss today! One would only realize when they could have at least a very little taste of it.
Pretty tough to write something on completely different never dealt before topic…and with a flavor of some critical cross border practices and perceptions. Even today one would never know what the truth is and who really holds the trigger for creating such imbalances among the nations.