Film: Majaz-Ae Gham-e-Dil Kya Karoon
Cast: Priyanshu Chatterjee, Rashmi Mishra, Anas Khan, Kajal Raghwani & Neelima Azeem
Director: Ravindra Singh
This formulaic attempt at biopic based on the life of Asrarul Haq Majaz Lakhnavi – the renowned pre-independence era Urdu poet commonly known as Majaz Lakhnawi (19 October 1911– 5 December 1955), is a noble idea but the effort is pedestrian at best. Majaz hailed from a family of poets and litterateurs which include Muztar Khairabadi, one of the great masters of Urdu poetry and Usman Harooni, an early modern Sufi poet. Majaz’s sister Safiya married Jan Nisar Akhtar, father of Javed Akhtar.
Majaz is said to have started writing poems while in Aligarh and soon became one of the front ranking poets of the Taraqqi Pasand Tahreek or Progressive Writers’ Movement. His composition for the anthem, tarana, for Aligarh Muslim University, ‘Ye meraa chaman, hai mera chaman, Main apne chaman ka bulbul hoon’ is resounding and two of his poetry compilations “Aahang” and “Saaz-e-Nau” are said to be amongst the best examples of urdu poetry.
This film though, focuses largely on the relationship fracas that embodied his life. The ups and downs in his professional life combine with a setback in his love story and fragmentation of his family, to wreak havoc on his tender psyche – enough to lead him into a drunken stupor. The pity was that Majaz, who had such a large fan following of young female students at Aligarh, lost his heart to a married woman in Delhi who was his admirer.
The lady in question belonged to a wealthy family and had no intentions of abandoning her well-connected husband for a penniless poet. But love Lorn Majaz wrote some of his most beautiful, romantic poems in this phase of his life. The story here is an ubiquitous one, that doesn’t appear either distinctive or inspirational in form.
This low-budget effort tries hard to circumnavigate its many shortcomings and it’s a herculean task- mostly unsuccessful I might say. The attempt to bring in an old world ‘Mirza Ghalib’ like feel to the narrative fails to garner purchase. This movie attempts to lay bare the heart of a poet but instead lays bare the ineptness of the filmmakers.
Even the song based narrative is short changed by inept period costuming and tacky period etchings. The music, which should have been the heart of a film like this, also fails to ignite interest. While the poetry is sublime, the compositions fail to do justice enough to create any distinctive affect. This less than potent exercise in reengaging with the forgotten glory of a rich cultural past is both lacklustre and clueless.