Renaissance man, designer and filmmaker, Muzaffar Ali, best known for his classic ‘Umrao Jaan’, will be wooing the Hindi film screen shortly with ‘Jaanisaar’. The very cultured Muzaffar Ali, who hails from the royal Muslim Rajput family of Kotwara, is also a poet, an artist, a music lover, a revivalist and a social worker.
His passion, needless to say, is Lucknow, which he terms “a city of sounds”. Ali elaborates further to explain these myriad sounds – voices whispering poetry; a repartee; a strain of a thumri or a khayal; a lyrical resonance of the lost language Urdu, a language of love and romance. He believes Lucknow has seen the most evolved poets as testimonies to the romance, revolution and tragedy of Karbala.
For Ali, his city is a meeting of minds and ideas, which are manifested in architecture and clothing – from the ruins of the grand palace of Moosa Bagh, the Bara Imambara, the Tiley Wali Masjid, the Residency, the Chhatar Manzil and so much more…
Recounting the numerous treasures of Lucknow, he points out that the La Martiniere College is a beautiful example of Indo-French architecture. Even the river Gomti is described poetically as flowing through the heart of the city, waiting to unfold its memories to the heart of the visitor.
Lucknow is also the centre where Muzaffar and wife Meera keep alive the city’s tradition of craft. They have been working on upgrading this craft form, positioning it in an organic way to suit contemporary India and the world. He takes great delight in creating the costumes of his films, from ‘Umrao Jaan’ to ‘Jaanisaar’ and thereby keeping Lucknow’s culture of moving images alive.
Ali has gone one step further in his great love for his great city – he keeps his Lucknow residence, wara House in the Qaiserbagh Palace Complex, open to visitors on request, where they can experience first-hand the archives of his work.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)