regular-article-logo Friday, 09 June 2023

Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi launch Tagore monsoon music video in the UK

The couple launched music video ‘Megh hi Megh’, created by London-based not-for-profit organisation Baithak UK

PTI London Published 06.07.22, 11:27 AM
Javed Akhtar and actor Shabana Azmi.

Javed Akhtar and actor Shabana Azmi. @azmishabana18/ Instagram

A new music video collection of some of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s most popular monsoon songs, translated from Bengali into Hindi by poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar, has been released in London.

Akhtar was joined by his wife, actor Shabana Azmi for the launch of Megh hi Megh (Clouds), created by London-based not-for-profit Baithak UK at a special rendezvous event at Taj Hotel on Monday evening. The video brings together British Indian artists Sangeeta Datta, Shoumik Datta and Kathak dancer Shivani.


“Javed Saab’s translations of Tagore’s works are very well known around the world and this video is our homage to another such great poem, which brings the monsoons to life,” said Sangeeta, the director of Baithak UK.

“We at Baithak offer a platform for dialogue, debate and new work and enjoy bringing great masters and younger talent together to exchange ideas, collaborate and create. We have created projects to give work to younger artists who were out of work during the long years of the COVID crisis,” she added.

The launch event included a special evening of poetry, read in Urdu by Akhtar and translated in English by Azmi.

“Translating poetry is like pouring perfume from one bottle into the other, some of the fragrance is bound to be lost. But at least that way it makes it accessible,” said Azmi, as she translated poems from her husband’s collection entitled In Other Words.

Some of the poems, such as Woh Kamra Yaad Aata Hai (I remember that room) and Aansu (Teardrop), were also read out in their French and Italian translations.

“It's a first for us to have all these languages come together, it reflects the universality of poetry. Art can create an atmosphere of sensitivity, poetry can be an anthem for a procession,” said Akhtar, during an in-conversation segment of the event.

“Most of the time my poem is in my mind, and I keep on improvising it. When I write a poem, I see to it that this angle or thought has not been written at least in Urdu because if somebody has already said this, then what's the point,” added the 77-year-old poet.

“So, the idea should be new. I believe in letting the germ of an idea grow in the mind and then one day you realise that you are ready to write,” shared the poet-writer behind film scripts such as Sholay and chart-topping hits like Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga.

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