FRIDAY REVIEW

A feast of ghazals

MANJARI SINHA

A careful selection of different poets' craft made Anita Singhvi's performance a complete treat

Husna Ara Trust recently presented Jahaan-e-Ghazal, when Anita Singhvi took the audience along with her on a Ghazal ka Safar, a journey of ghazals. Right from the dazzling foyer of Kamani auditorium to the backdrop of the stage,there were life-size portraits of Urdu poets from Amir Khusrau to Ghalib, including Bahadur Shah Zafar, Daagh, Mir Taqi Mir and others, thus creating the right ambience. The evening started with the ceremonial lighting of the shamma (the candle lamp), followed by award presentations. The Malika-e-Tarannum award was given to Anita Singhvi, and the Khwaja Gharib Nawaaz award was presented to Abdul Ahmad Siddiqui for his contribution to Sufism. Anita Singhvi with the best accompanying artistes like Ghulam Sabir Khan on the sarangi, Saddam Hussain on the harmonium, Salim Ahmad on the tabla and Hyder on the keyboard, opened the evening with a Parsian Manquawat which she rendered as naat in devotional fervour without the tabla accompaniment, in a free flowing alap style that had the nuances of an Arabian dhun. The ghazal sequence took off most appropriately with Ghalib when she sang "Daayam Pada hua tere Dar par Nahin hoon main" based on the melodious raga Desh. Ghulam Sabir enhanced the singing when he filled up the blanks between the ashaar (couplets of the ghazal) with the melody of a romantic raga. Next came a ghazal by Hasrat Mohaani, "Raushan jamaale yaar se hai Anjuman Tamaam... " based on raga Patdeep that had an old world charm to it. Anita went on to sing Daagh Dehalvi's "Lutf woh Ishq Mein Paaye hain ki Jee Jaanata hai... " and "Mohabbat Karnewaale Kam na Honge... " by Hafeez, to "Mere Hamnafas mere Hamnawaan... ." by Shaqil Badaayuni and "Mujhse Pahli si Mohabbat mere Mahboob na Maang... " by Faiz Ahmad Faiz.The selection of her ghazals in fact deserved to be called "Dawat-e-Ghazal".The sufi kalam by Sarmad in Saraiki dialect, based on raga Ahir Bhairav, provided a good contrast and a welcome variety. The best thing about Anita is that she has a knack for retaining audience interest. Her selection of poets is thoughtful and maintains a certain standard. Although Urdu is not her language, her enunciation is good. Musically she is mostly in tune and also has a perfect sense of rhythm. She knows her limits and never tries to overdo or pretend to be what she is not. This is perhaps the secret of her tremendous self-confidence, which kept the elite gathering glued to their seats till the end.