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Kaifi and I: Important document of an era gone by

March 30, 2010 05:14:50 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Slowly but surely, and in trickles important nuances of Hindi cinema of an era gone by are coming out in the form of memoirs and one such memoir that adds to our understanding of the world of Hindi cinema is KAIFI AND I: which is a memoir written by Shaukat Azmi, one of the pillars of the parallel cinema in Hindi films.

As it is a biography it also provides valuable insight into the career graph of Kaifi Azmi one of the most unsung lyricists of Hindi cinema. He is the lyricist who wrote lyrics for KAGAZ KE PHOOL, SHOLA AUR SHABNAM and EK KE BAAD EK. Ironically enough while the films in which Kaifi Azmi wrote lyrics were flops his songs were super hit. Probably he was waiting for a Chetan Anand, as Chetan Anand was waiting for him, akin to Sahir Ludhianvi for his brother Dev Anand, as when they both came together, having series of flops behind them, they created new benchmarks for Hindi cinema. The films included HINDUSTAN KI KASAM and HEER RANJHA and from then on both of them never looked back. In fact HEER RANJHA is the only film in Hindi or for that matter it could be the only film, which has been written in verse.

It is also important to know, keeping in view the controversy that emanated between Javed Akhtar and Aamir Khan about the importance of lyricists, that the name of lyricists started being announced over All India Radio after Shaukat Azmi took up the matter with the Station Director of AIR in Mumbai. May be, she could have provided the inspiration for Javed Akhtar.

Shaukat Azmi has been one of the important pillars of parallel cinema, more so the cinema that brought into relief important elements of Muslim culture. Shaukat's foray into acting started with MS Sathyu's GARAM HAWA that was written by Kaifi Azmi and is one of the landmark films of Hindi cinema. She was an integral part of UMRAO JAAN as well, and after seeing her performance, as per the memoir of Shaukat, Kaifi had quipped that had she enacted the role of Khanam before their marriage, he would have been forced to check the antecedents of Shaukat Azmi. Can such examples of stellar performances be quoted from the modern times? Incidentally, it was at the prodding of Suhasini Ali, mother of Shaad Ali that Shaukat had acquiesced to enact the role of Khanam in UMRAO JAAN. Other notable films with which Shaukat had been associated include BAZAAR, ANJUMAN and LORIE. She again gave a stellar performance in Meera Nair's SALAAM BOMBAY, precursor to SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Incidentally, Kaifi had again been so much taken off by her getup when one day he had gone to pick Shaukat after shooting of SALAAM BOMBAY, that he passed a comment to her that she should have come after removing her makeup as he had a reputation in society.

If actors receive these kinds of complements from their near and dear ones, it would indeed be clear that they have given peach of a performance. May be, cinema fans would be treated to more such memoirs that would give a sense of respect to the world of Hindi cinema, akin to that in Hollywood.

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