Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yi Aas Akh Padshah Bai ( There was a Queen once)

Pe'ot digruk ous taaph
te aachvon harud veshun
aavay che ratich ze be asis
darvaay tarfich yaeth zonne daabey paith
vas vin vyeth'i, thet aebras goebras
neelis nab te the bay rangnavan
aech aech vay bay bhoj tulaan

Dalvun doh ous thukmut thukmut
sukhbol sukhbol mausum meoth
hume bathi, hoetnas trushphael aen aen 
naara zalith, boeth vaeshla vith 
shuer aes naech naech chaeri-pop vayaan
soroii aend paet ous vesaan

Soi waqt, soi mausum te toethey lukh
shaam, harud te baye taaph chhu khushvun veyn gov 
na chhu aaz konni shueer choergish
na che range naave
na chhu vyeth'i su qarar
na chhu bonin paith Kaw yene volye
na chu mey nazran manz kahn shok

humei bathe hang-te mange
naar heten vasse
pranis lare gagris  gov soor
zanni khuda keoth vav 
sou dol aede
adde daed kadad khaet asmaan
mye thee, mye bronthe kanne gov soroii
na chhu krake-naad
na chhu lukh arsaath

maeth gom, baye chatte baagh
dapakh haez chaet tav chopey hund yee parde
shueer ney daptav andrun travith
chaer-pop vavith khushyah karhan
koche galen paith thade thade gayvhan
bhuje ya bhuje laer hay daze'ye


The afterglow of the receding day
The sweetly creeping warmth of autumn
Only yesterday was I sitting 
on the moonlit balcony, 
gazing at the gently tumbling Vitasta, 
the gathering clouds
the crystal blue sky, the colorful boats
The tranquil sight entered my eyes,
and gladdened my heart

The day was waning, tired
Its embrace warm to the touch
Over there, on the other bank,
Collecting twigs, lighting fires
Dancing and clapping, the children gathered
their faces aglow
All around was but radiance

It is the same warm autumn evening,
The same fading light of day
But there is no babble of children anymore
No colorful boats
Even the Vitasta has lost her old ease
No crows nest in the mighty Chinars
No desire touched my empty eyes

The other bank
is aflame suddenly!
The old manors burn to ash,
as if an angry wind
has dropped a spark
The pieces of paper burn
Their embers rising skyward
Before me has this ensued
I am witness to all
But no one speaks, no one comes forward

I want to lament, wail and shout
"Tear apart these veils of silence!"
Tell the children to clap and dance
And run from alley to alley shouting
"Old crone, old crone, your hut is on fire.."


Ye aas akh padshah bai
Yehay aes prath doh shaman
bar meich-ravith pyaraan
paninyn lokten lokten shahzadan

kehn-cha mandchith
kehn-cha trahvith
hamsay bayin aes prechaan
tohe te cheva vene shuerr aaz nebray
myenan gharre chune yaad pyavaan
zanni khuda kath kun gaye nerith
batte phel chikh na banan sherith

Aem sey kemtaam, khetaam
voen adde, darri te bar thopravith beeth
apoez rutle grekh chatravith grekh sodran
hamsayav booz brakha zeeth...
Matte maertav vene chev na vansi kam
Matte maertav vene chev na manze nam


There was a Queen who with the onset of evening,
Would wait at her doorsteps, restless, impatient

A little afraid, a little shy
She'd ask every passenger by, "Tell me.."
Have your children not come home?
Mine have forgotten they have a home
There's little cause for worry really
Its just that I'd laid out dinner

That night, that Mother, that Queen, 
heard something
Tonight, she sits silently in the dark
With all the doors and windows closed
But from her house, in the dead of the night
A cry pierced the silence and was heard by all
Do not go yet, do not die
You're too young to die
Do not die yet,
The henna on your nails is still fresh.

Naseem Shifai- Yi aas akh padshah bai ( There was a Queen).

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saath Saath- The Idealist Farooq Sheikh.

Saath Saath released in 1982 immediately stuck a chord with me. With a story line that deals with the predicament of an idealist- worn and torn by materialism, I could associate with Faruq Sheikh's character at many a levels. It so happens in life so often, we begin with strong principles, with an opinion for everything, only to be brought down by worldly pressure. Give-in is such a common excuse. 

Faruq Sheikh (Avinash Verma) loathes the bourgeois in his fiery lectures during his college days. His strong ethos (though not made visually visible) drawing inspiration from communism, where gaining riches more than one's needs is mounted to recreancy and sellout- perhaps rightly. He sees deceit and corruption everywhere, working as a part-time writer. His work though praised by everyone, is seldom published- the publishing houses look out for quick money, be it through sleazy articles- that hardly matters.

His concerned orates though has an admirer in Deepti Naval (Geeta), who immediately falls for his ideas. Moved by his ideals and disregard for capitalist clowns, she marries him against her rich parents wishes. Later on however, to her dismay , Avinash gets drawn and lured by materialism, though in effect you do not blame him. One feels sorry not for Avinash but for the society that we have grown up in. And the society that is averse to many such Avinash's. His helplessness does not go unnoticed. He worries about his family, his two square- meals, his humble cramped one-room flat. Thus begins his brush with what he used to condemn. Bribing people to get things done; compromising on his writing to appease the publisher; praising the wealth of the same bourgeois worms for a favor or two. And all this his wife Geeta, regrettably watches. She is disappointed to have married a man who was unnerved by the world- her idealistic man who she fell her- betraying her and eventually himself. 

At the end Avinash realizes he is gaining nothing in this mad rush for the crown- as his wife confronts him on his own ideas that he used to sermonize not long ago. It leaves a feeling of fulfillment and hope, and it goes to the directors credit for doing it all subtly. 

As far as performances are concerned Faruq Sheikh as Avinash is very impactful. I cannot imagine anyone else pulling his strife all so elegantly. Deepti Naval as his muse and then wife comes across all very natural. Her expressions are wonderful. Rest of the supporting cast adds adequately to the plot barring the all too frequent Neena Gupta's stupidity- which was totally not required. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Papillon- The butterfly of freedom

Shawshank Redemption for me and many others is the Wordsworth of Prison break movies. Papillon matches it for me if not overcoming its awe. And reasons are quite a few.

The beauty of Papillon lies in its sweat infecting, malaria prone, mosquito squabs that literally swells the viewer with shocks and brazenness about the penal colony conditions in French Guinea. One exactly feels the misery of the inmates, the helplessness of the convicts and the inhuman behavior of the wardens- the visuals and the background score accentuating the whole cinematic experience. The characters played by Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffmann couldn't have been better accomplished- with both actors doing absolute justice. The camaraderie and friendship between two visibly different men who're bought together by fate is subtly yet effectively portrayed.

The movie also brings to point the basic psychology of convicts- for it is the innocent Papillon, who though being battered with two physical and soul crushing terms, in what is called as the silent torture cell, yet yearns for freedom, achieving it finally in his last attempt. The defiance of the innocent is admirable. On the other hand, his friend Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffmann) is always reluctant and in fact never interested in breaking the prison walls. He has forged, and he perhaps knows that he deserves the incarceration. 

The sequences where Papillon meets the helpful lepers, the erotic Indians and the treacherous nun is reflectively melancholic but beautiful in essence- capturing the whole indictment of unfortunate consequences that unfold.   

The final scenes in the 'Devil Island' are poignant, as the much battered old friends re-unite. Nothing though has changed in the spirits of these two surviving prisoners. Papillon still dreams of freedom while Dega is still closely clinging to fate.