Cannes, May 20 (PTI) A new film on the life and times of Urdu poet Majaz Lakhnawi is among the Indian entries at the Cannes Marche du Film 2023.
"Majaz: A Life in Poetry", written and directed by Huma Khalil, was screened here on Saturday.
Khalil, the founder of Rekhta Foundation, which is engaged in the promotion of Urdu through its hugely popular website and a well-regarded annual festival of letters, has plans to use the audiovisual medium to tell stories about poets and writers who contributed to the growth of the language.
The two-hour film is the first in the series that Khalil intends to make.
It is a coincidence that "Majaz: A Life in Poetry" is ready for public viewing in the tenth year since the launch of Rekhta Foundation. Khalil says, "We started filming in 2023 and completed the film in April this year." "Majaz: A Life in Poetry" premiered at London's Nehru Centre on May 11 as part of the UK Asian Film Festival.
"What drew me to Majaz is the fact that he was the first Urdu poet to speak of women as equals and not just for their beauty and charm. He was a romantic poet and also a revolutionary one in terms of how he treated gender." In his radical, inclusivist poetry, Majaz, according to Khalil, encouraged women of his community to give up the purdah and assert their right to be free.
In a famous couplet, Majaz exhorted women to turn her 'aanchal' (veil) into a 'parcham' (flag) of revolt.
Ghazal singer Amrish Mishra, in his first acting assignment, plays Majaz in the film, which sees the poet's life is seen through the eyes of a research scholar.
"Mishra is perfect for the role," says Khalil. "Not only is his diction unerring, he also recites Majaz's poems in his own voice." PTI CORR RB SHD SHD