Sunday, March 7, 2010

Zia Mohyeddin and Amitabh Bachchan in Bombay

Last month, we had the opportunity to listen to Zia Mohyeddin. He had been invited here as part of the Aman ki Asha programme that Jang and the Times of India have organised. It's an excellent initiative because in the absence of trade, and given that we can hardly agree on anything else, culture is the one thing we can share comfortably.

A few years ago I had read about Mohyeddin's famous annual recitations in Pakistan. A friend from Lahore then sent three compact discs of his performances recorded at what I think were functions of Pakistani-Americans. The recordings included an irreverent one about different Pakistani communities and their cultural traits. There was one funny story about Chinioti traders. There was also a smoothly delivered dialogue in English between man and God about the nature of woman. I had read about Mohyeddin's readings of Ghalib's letters, but those were not included in the recordings.

These were the sort of things I had wanted to listen to from Mohyeddin. I read that Mohyeddin had revived the more traditional style of reciting Urdu poetry. This had been eclipsed 50 years ago by the hammy style of Z A Bokhari, brother of humorist Patras. I looked forward to understanding what that meant.

Full report here The News

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