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‘Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ was the topic selected for our mehfil in March. To most Urdu lovers Faiz- the poet needs very little introduction. His works stand the test of time and have influenced many writers, lyricists and filmmakers. At mehfil we decided to delve deep in the hidden recesses of Faiz’s life through visual representations, audio clips and casual conversations



We started the evening with a poem of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, which was an audio recitation by renowned Pakistani Actor Zia Moyeddin. As Zia’s voice resonated through the speakers, the audience warmed up for what lay ahead. We played an audio clip of the song “guloon mein raang bhare”  – Faiz’s poem beautifully rendered in singer Mehendi Hasan’s voice.

Shama Zaidi (Apa) read an interesting piece from a book, which was written by Faiz himself giving us an insight on the colourful life of his father. It was interesting to learn that Faiz not only wrote in Urdu but also in English and was also the editor of ‘The Pakistan Times’. After the passage was read, Salim Arif gave the audience a brief summation on Faiz’s life and his style of writing.

Taking a cue from that summation Suhail Warsi read some renowned poems by Faiz in a fluid and lithe fashion, after his recitation we played ‘Mujhse Pehli Si Mohabaat Mere Mehboob Na Maang’ sung by Noor Jahan and the audience remained spellbound.

Followed by the song, Arwa Mamaji read a poem called ‘ Khwaab Basera’ which was received well and before calling for an interval an audio clip of the poem ‘Yeh Daag Daag Ujaala’ in Naseeruddin Shah Saab’s voice was played

In the course of the interval, ideas and views on Faiz were exchanged. People sipped tea, purchased books on Faiz and quickly settled back.

The second half commenced with letters written by Faiz and his wife Alys while Faiz was in prison. Salim Arif and Lubna Salim presented these letters as an amalgamation giving the audience a sense of the state on mind of the couple. It also brought out the social climate at the time.

Befitting Alys’ introduction, we played a visual clip wherein she spoke about how she and Faiz got married. It was a very endearing clip followed by Priya Nijhara’s recitation of a very popular Faiz poem titled ‘ Bol’.

Actor Om read some beautiful poems including ‘ Intesaab’ which kept the audience mesmerized. We played two more clips – one which was an excerpt from a Doordarshan documentary titled ‘ Mamujaan ki Diary’ and another clip was where Faiz’s daughter speaks about the incident where Faiz won the Lenin Prize in Russia. His daughter also mentioned the Faiz/ Pablo liason which was very endearing.
We ended the evening with a song title ‘ Dasht-e tanhai’ – the version produced by coke studio. This was a perfect end to a loaded evening. We realized that to encompass Faiz’s life in one evening is not only brimming the surface but also it is doing injustice to the magnitude of his work. We will have many more session on Faiz in the Future and each time we will pick up an interesting aspect of his life. But as for this evening people left still humming to the tune of Faiz Ahmed Faiz

1. Watch : Video clip of Alys ( Faiz’s wife) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxl8mn7Pc4I
2. Read : Culture and Identity- Selected writings of Faiz Compiled by Sheema Majeed. Also all poems mention in the note will be shared on the blog
3. Listen: Dasht-e- tanhai by coke studio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYB-6i_q4sU