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Festival of Sufi music
and Documentary films of Yousuf Saeed
at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, Chandigarh
on 28th and 29th March 2013

Organized by Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy

Day One:
28 March 2013, Thursday

4 pm:
Introduction to Sufi music and qawwali: By Madan Gopal Singh and Yousuf Saeed
This multimedia presentation makes an easy introduction to the role of Sufism or Islamic mysticism in the development of Indo-Islamic poetry, music and culture, and how best to appreciate the Sufi literature and music available in our midst. How to recognize and avoid a lot of popular music that is being passed off these days as ‘Sufi music’. Where to find the best live or recorded Sufi music in India and what places to visit to see a vibrant Sufi culture. How Sufism is relevant to our society and how to appreciate its nuances.

5 pm: Introduction to the film screenings by Yousuf Saeed
All films start with an introduction and end with a discussion with the filmmaker

Film: Boojh sakey to boojh – The Heritage of Amir Khusrau, 1997 (75 mins)
This comprehensive documentary film, in production for the past decade, explores the poetic and musical heritage of India's 14th century Sufi poet-composer Amir Khusrau Dehlavi. It looks at how the legend of Amir Khusrau evolved over centuries not only through his Persian poetry that is known mostly to scholars and historians, but also through his Hindvi songs, couplets and music compositions that have been kept alive and preserved by musicians and others in north India. The film uses the voices of several well-known musicians, scholars and art practitioners from India. Produced in 1997 for Doordarshan. (Language: Urdu/Hindi with English subtitles)

Film: Basant, 1997 (13 mins)
A short musical film about how the Indian ancient festival of spring called Basant is celebrated by some Muslims in the Sufi shrine of Nizamuddin Aulia in Delhi. The celebration is related to a legend attributed to the 14th century Chishti Saint Nizamuddin Aulia and his companion Amir Khusrau Dehlvi. The film has been screened at many international film festivals. Produced in 1997 for UGC at Delhi

Film: Jannat ki Rail, 2006 (7 mins)
A 7-minutes experimental music video celebrating the spirit of India's popular Islam, illustrated by popular devotional art and music. The song Jannat ki Rail (a train to paradise) uses the analogy of a train journey to explain for the faithful the way to reach the divine. 2006. (Language: Urdu/Hindi with English subtitles)

6:30 pm - Tea break

7: pm Conversation with Mohammad Ahmed Warsi qawwal from Rampur
followed by the Qawwali performance
M.A. Warsi comes from a prestigious tradition of musicians whose family served in the court of the nawab of Rampur in Uttar Pradesh. Mohammad Ahmed Warsi’s speciality is the traditional Persian lyrics, composed by poets like Amir Khusrau, Sa’di, Maulana Rumi, Kabir and others.

Day two:
29 March 2013, Friday

Festival of films by Yousuf Saeed

3:00 pm: Qasba Sanskriti – Amroha, 2011 (41 mins)
This documentary film explores the material culture, performative arts and crafts of Amroha, a small town near Delhi in north India, especially focusing on the evolution of Islamic and syncretic cultural values and interdependence between different communities and sects of people, through their arts, crafts, religious rituals and iconography. Amroha is not only famous for its handicrafts such as woodwork, handlooms, embroidery, and percussion instruments, but also for being a centre for the production of Urdu literature, poetry and music. The story of Amroha’s communal harmony is told in the film in the voices of its Hindu and Muslim residents. Produced for Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.

3:45 pm – Qasba Sanskriti – Bilgram, 2011 (51 mins)
This film is a cultural sketch of Bilgram, a small town near Lucknow in north India, especially focusing on the performative arts associated with the Shia rituals of Ashura on Muharram. For many centuries Bilgram has been a rich centre of refined culture and literature, producing several scholars, poets as well as administrators for the historic province of Awadh and beyond. The film also looks at the syncretic or plural values ingrained in the daily lives of the people of Bilgram, where the Muharram is commemorated by Shias, Sunnis and Hindus with equal passion, using local iconography and plural symbols. Produced for Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.

5:00 pm – Khayal Darpan, 2006 (100 mins)
In a quest to explore the impact of India’s Partition on the classical music traditions of South Asia, Yousuf Saeed spent about 6 months in Pakistan in 2005. After travelling in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad - interviewing musicians and scholars, attending music concerts, and observing the teaching of music in various institutions, Yousuf not only documented some of the surviving practitioners and patrons of classical music, but also raised many vital questions, about cultural identity, nationalism, legitimacy of music in Islam, Pakistan's popular culture and its affairs with India, and the survival of classical music itself in South Asia. (Language: Urdu/Hindi with English subtitles). More details

7:00 pm – The Making of the Taj, 2013 (29 mins)
A short film that explores the history of the famous Mughal monument of Agra. The film talks to historians and scholars of Mughal architecture about what went into the making of Taj Mahal and what the building tells us about the Mughal sovereignty, especially the aspirations of Taj Mahal who built it. The film also explores the popular visual culture that has emanated from the romantic image of the mausoleum all over the world. Produced for Sahapedia and Archaeological Survey of India.

All films start with an introduction and end with a discussion with the filmmaker.

For more details, contact Chairman CSNA: 0172-4673260