Sunday, January 30, 2011

Classical Music in Pakistan - Badr uz Zaman

I love his comments about "toofan e bat-tamizi" and the use of rarely used words like "kan-rasayya". Wish there was a new group of "Zinda-dilan-e-Lahore" comprized of ordinary merchants and working class people. All over the world classical music is looked upon as an exclusive domain of those who understand it well, whereas if any ordinary person gives it a chance, and listens to it live, they will soon develop a taste for it. Like coffee or olives that may not appeal to us immediately as children classical music grows on you slowly as you start to undestand it more. The more you listen the more you fall in love with it.

Yousuf Saeed, the film maker from Delhi, lived in Pakistan for six months conducting interviews in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and studying the condition of classical music on our side of the border. He has done a great service to Pakistanis by making this documentary (Khayal Darpan) because it helps open the eyes of music lovers and gives them a jolt to do something about it.

Perhaps a Pakistani would not have been as successful in deriving such candid comments from participants like Badr uz Zaman because at times they are perceived as being too close to the matter as well as having biases. Yousuf has done a fine job of not just bringing forward some lessor known Pakistani musicians but also helped in shaking us into realizing how a treasure of knowledge and skills can be lost so easily if it is not given our attention and love. The need to change things is desperate to keep classical music alive and thriving in Pakistan.

A few months ago I had taken Yousuf's permission to edit parts of his film and present smaller clips of various players. Badr uz Zaman has played an important and honest role in my opinion in highlighting issues. So has Raza Kazim whom I hope to present separately at a later date as well our Aaliya Rashid.

The complete film can be viewed in two parts on Youtube..

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