Jan Nisar Akhtar was an important 20th century Indian poet of Urdu ghazals and nazms, a prolific lyricist and a part of the Progressive Writer’ Movement. At mehfil we decided to discuss his prolific works and life so that we could delve deep into his oeuvre and enjoy it to the optimum.
The evening was graced by actor Shabana Azmi who made a surprise visit to the Mehfil. We also had with us Javed Siddiqui Saab, Salim Saab, Suhail Warsi, Shabana and Sadiya Siddqui.
Like always Javed Saab introduced Jan Nisar Akhtar giving the audience an introduction and background of the poet. This was followed by a song titled “ Ae Dil-e- Nadan” from the film Razia Sultan, the lyrics of which were written by Jan Nisar Akhtar.
We asked Sabana Azmi to enlighten the audience with her stories about the poet. She spoke about how Jan Nisar Akhtar had taught his children that one should not get lost in the magnificence of words. It is very important to put forth the thought of what the writer wishes to express rather than get lost in the maze of eloquent phrases and words. She also mentioned that Indian Urdu poets wrote not only on taverns, love and alcohol but also on nationalism and patriotism.
This was followed by Sadiya Siddiqui who read an interesting article written by writer Ismat Chugtai called “ Kaantoon Bhari Waadiyaan” which brought to light the relationship between Jan Nisar Akhtar and his wife Safiya Akhtar.
We played another song titled “Aaja re” from the film Noorie which was also written by the poet.
Suhail and Shabana read some beautiful letters written by Safiya Akhtar to Jan Nisar Akhtar and vice versa published in a book titled “Zer-e-lab”
Salim Saab also read some pieces of Jan Nisar Akhtar’s work and after playing a few more songs we brought the curtains down on a spectacular evening.
Read: Zer-e-lab- collection of poems written by Safiya Akhtar
Listen : Aankhon hi Aankhon Mein in Guru Dutts CID (1956), Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye in Prem Parbat (1974), Aaja re in Noorie (1979) and his last song, Ae Dil-e-naadaan, in Kamal Amrohi’s Razia Sultan (1983).
And here is a wonderful write-up penned by our regular Mehfil visitor, Sophia Andrade Kapadia, who has been a consistent fellow enthusiast of the language and supporter of the Urduwallahs. Thank You, Sophia. The write-up is in Urdu and has not been translated.
Kal Sham Urdu Mehfil mein humne mashoor shayar, geetkar, Jan Nisar Akhtar ko gehrai mein jan-ne ki koshish ki.
Javed Sidiqui saab ne badi khoobsurti se Akhtar bhai ka ek character sketch hamare nazron ke samne utarte hue, Mehfil ki shuruat ki.
Sadia-ji ne Ismat aapa ki likhi hui ” Kaanto Bhari Wadiyaan” mein se kuch pan-ne padhe jo Jan Nisar Akhtar aur unki begum Safiya ke rishte pe roshni dal…te hain.
Jab Akhtar bhai apna taqdeer azmane Bambai aaye toh Safiya aapa ne; jo Hamidia College mein padhati thi, Bhopal mein rehkar badi himmat se ghar ko sambhala.
Itne milon ki duriyon ko thodasa kam karne ke liye, un donon ne ek doosre ko bahut saare khat likhe.
Sohail aur Shabana ne unme se kuch khat padhkar sunaye.
Aisa laga ke Safiya-ji aur Akhtar bhai ek doosre se baat kar rahe ho aur unhone hamein ye ijazzat di hain ke hum unki chotti chotti baatein, mohabbat ka izhaar karte hue lafz sune.
Salim Arif Sa’ab ne woh nazm padhi jo Akhtar bhai ne apni jawani mein, college ki ladkiyon se bhari laari ki ek jhalak dekhte hue likha tha
Jan Nisar Akhtar ne filmon ke liye bhi gaane likhe.
Unme se do geet
Ye dil aur unki nigaahon ke saaye –
bhi bajaye gaye
Is Mehfil ko sur bhi nikhaar is wajah se aayi ke Akhtar Sa’ab ki bahu – Shabana hamare beech thi. Unhone bataya ke Hindustan ko azaadi milne ke baad, Jawaharlal Nehruji ne chaha ke urdu nationalist shayri ka ek mazmua tayar kiya jae – jo yeh saabit kare ke urdu shayri sirf maikhane o sharab aur husn o ishq mein uljhi hui nahi hai.
Is kaam ke liye unhone Jan Nisar Akhtar ko chuna. Ye nazm ‘Hindustan Hamra’ ke naam se do volumes me chappi gayi.
[Urdu me likhne ki koshish ki hai. Galtiyaan maaf karna. Your corrections are most welcome]