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Muzaffar Ali: The man for all seasons


Speaking to Muzaffar Ali is replete with previous world appeal. His impeccable Urdu diction, the pauses, the grace… all mix to take you again to a time that has lengthy been consigned to pages of historical past. There is a component of wistfulness, some good nostalgia when he talks of Kotwara, his ancestral home, the place historical past resided on the mantelpiece and riches lay within the courtyard. His father, Raja Syed Sajid Hussain, was a man with a lot to commend. A taluqdar wedded to humanism, but a man who favored sure privileges that life bestowed on him. “The abolition of zamindari was a game changer. Some taluqdars could not come to terms with it. As I saw changing social matrix, it was a signal for me that I could not be in this feudal zone. I had to do something on my own,” says famous filmmaker-fashion designer and sufi music lover Muzaffar Ali.

His autobiography, apparently titled  Zikr: In the Light and Shade of Time is being talked about as a lot for the frankness with which he describes his early days as the heat he shows when speaking of his household, movies and poetry. As he says, “Poetry would come and receive me with open arms. After the unfulfilled saga of  Zooni, I found new meaning in poetry and music.”

He was drawn to the hospices of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, and Delhi, town of saints, one thing that will enrich his Sufi oeuvre within the years to come back. In 2001, it manifested itself as a celebration of sufi music with Jahan-e-Khusrau in Delhi. He teamed up with the formidable Begum Abida Parveen from Pakistan, and shortly music lovers have been swaying to Raqs-e-Bismil. It was uplifting so long as it lasted. Will or not it’s potential to revive the heady days? “Really difficult in the current climate. The walls between the two nations have been raised too high, but yes, in future, if an opportunity presents itself, then why not? Sufi music brought people together. Religion was not supposed to pit people against each other but celebrate each other.”

It all stemmed from his abiding love for sufiism, Chishti, Nizamuddin Auliya, Amir Khusrau and Rumi. “Their words gave me wings,” he says. These have been the wings which noticed him redefine his relationship with Kotwara, embrace the place he as soon as regarded with studied indifference.

A model at the ‘Weaver of dreams -The Passion of Muzaffar Ali of Kotwara’ fashion show in Hyderabad in 2018.

A mannequin on the ‘Weaver of dreams -The Passion of Muzaffar Ali of Kotwara’ style present in Hyderabad in 2018.
| Photo Credit:

On his personal phrases

“Once I left Kotwara, I never really went back for a considerable stretch of time. I had no interest in feudal paraphernalia. Things changed after my father died,” says Muzaffar. Between leaving Kotwara and coming again, he went into the world of promoting, then had a quick stint at Air India earlier than getting into the world of Hindi cinema. In 1990, he launched his couture model House of Kotwara with spouse Meera to revive the standard crafts and textiles of the Awadh area. All on his personal phrases, and in his personal inimitable approach.

Back within the late Nineteen Seventies when the widespread man was relishing the escapist fare churned out by dream retailers, he selected to do  Gaman, a movie steeped in realism. In what was to turn into his signature, Muzaffar listened to his coronary heart and selected to work with music composer Jaidev and singer Chhaya Ganguly for the movie. The consequence was a winner referred to as ‘Aap ki yaad aati rahi’ and a timeless melody ‘Seene main jalan aankhon mein toofan’. Incidentally, the songs have been penned by the reclusive Shahryaar. “I chose Shahryaar obviously because of our Aligarh Muslim University connection and also because his poetry resonated with me. It possibly drove me to do certain kind of films. But yes, he was not meant for Bombay cinema. He never shifted to Bombay,” recollects Muzaffar.

Rekha and Farooq Sheikh in ‘Umrao Jaan’

Rekha and Farooq Sheikh in ‘Umrao Jaan’
| Photo Credit:
The Hindu Archives

This deep respect for Shahryaar’s poetry gave start to the timeless songs of  Umrao Jaan resembling ‘In ankhon ki masti ke’, ‘Justuju jis ki thhi’ and ‘Ye kya jagah hai doston’. Jaidev who was initially drafted, was changed. “Because of my proximity, I could take a few liberties with Shahryaar but with Jaidev sahab, things did not work out for  Umrao Jaan. His compositions were good but they lacked certain energy. Also, I was not entirely happy with the way Madhurani sang them. So I went to Khayyam sahab. And Asha Bhosle came in. She wanted to read the novel on which the film was based to do justice to the songs. She came disarmed and fully committed,” says Muzaffar concerning the movie which modified Asha Bhosle’s picture of simply being a superb cabaret track artiste. “Her Urdu diction took many by surprise. Each song for her was like an act of worship. She would write ‘Om’ on top of the page, then write down the lyrics, repeating them quietly before going for recording. Her dedication was matched by Rekha on whom most songs were picturised. Each song opened a window to Rekha’s soul. Everybody associated with  Umrao Jaan seemed to be listening to his or her inner calling, much like the way a sufi would.”

Begum Abida Parveen performing at the Jahan-e-Khusrau 2005 edition

Begum Abida Parveen performing on the Jahan-e-Khusrau 2005 version
| Photo Credit:
Gurinder Osan

Umrao Jaan grew to become a part of historical past. It was for Muzaffar what  Mughal-e-Azam was for Okay. Asif or  Pakeezah for Kamal Amrohi. “You could look at it that way,” he says.

Of course, he additionally made  Aagaman quickly after  Umrao Jaan and  Anjuman a bit of later. In the previous, Anupam Kher made his debut, within the latter, Shabana Azmi truly sang 4 songs! However, any discuss of his movie journey could be incomplete with out the point out of  Zooni, a movie based mostly on the peasant poetess of Kashmir, Habba Khatoon.  Zooni was being shot in Kashmir in 1989 when militancy raised its ugly head. Even as Dimple Kapadia left the director spellbound along with her efficiency, the hero Vinod Khanna, didn’t present up for many taking pictures schedules. With militancy rising, it was a race towards time to finish the movie and Muzaffar was not helped by the hero’s absence. Will the movie ever be accomplished? He sighs, saying, “We lived on hope for a long time, but things never really changed. Today things are totally different.”

Source: www.thehindu.com


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