India has always been regarded as the birthplace of literature and literary geniuses, who have contributed to the socio-cultural framework of the country and remain a significant part of our cultural heritage. Poet Kaifi Azmi has been one such prominent personality. One of the finest Urdu poets of the Indian subcontinent, he had penned down some of the most memorable poems, couplets, and songs that we hold on to till date.
Commemorating his birth centenary, some of the prominent personalities from art, literature, and cinema, have come together for a year-long celebration of Kaifi Azmi’s life and work. The cultural milieu called Raag Shayari was conceptualized by his daughter, actor, and philanthropist Shabana Azmi, along with poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, table maestro Zakir Hussain, singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan, and filmmaker Feroz Abbas Khan.
On 13th January 2019, the event premier was held at National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, followed by a celebration on 14th January, 2019, at St. Andrews Auditorium, Bandra. There will a follow-up event on 17th January, 2019 in Kolkata.
Raag Shayari will mark the beginning of a nation-wide celebration (and abroad) throughout the year through plays, poetry, mushairas, seminars, literature, and book releases.
The premier event in Mumbai was graced by leading film personalities from the yesteryears, to celebrities of modern cinema. Veteran actors like Asha Parekh, Waheeda Rehman, to legends like Rekha, Anil Kapoor, to modern celebrities like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Dia Mirza, Urmila Matondkar, Juhi Chawla, Vidya Balan, Divya Dutt, and Siddharth Roy Kapur, Twinkle Khanna, filmmakers Farhan and Zoya Akhtar, Kiran Rao, and singers like Sonu Nigam and Ila Arun.
A prominent figure of the Progressive Writers’ Movement, Kaifi Azmi had given the Indian society some inspiring and influential poems. Beyond his contribution to literature, poet Azmi had also penned some of the most iconic songs of Indian cinema for films like “Kaagaz Ke Phool”, “Shola aur Shabnam”, “Hanste Zakhm”, “Haqeeqat” and “Arth”. A recipient of Padma Shri and numerous literary awards, poet, lyricist, and author Kaifi Azmi remains a literary legend of Indian cultural history.