Shabhana reads dad Kaifi Azmi’s work at poetry festival

Many young poetry buffs turned up at the Bangalore Poetry Festival at The Leela Palace. The two-day festival concluded on Sunday. DH Photo by S K Dinesh

The third chapter of Bangalore Poetry Festival was held at The Leela Palace on August 4 and 5. Established and aspiring poets came together under one roof and let their words flow in the presence of eminent personalities. What unravelled was poetry in all forms and languages, meter and idiom and across genres. 

Shabana Azmi, actor and poetry enthusiast, inaugurated the festival. She spoke about her father Kaifi Azmi, the romantic poet, in a segment called ‘My father Kaifi’. “My connection with Bengaluru is very strong. ‘Nagarjuna’ Biryani attracts me the most,” chuckled Shabana, who spoke about the progressive writers movement on the occasion. “The progressive writers movement wielded art as a weapon to bring about social change. Poetry manages to communicate things in a different way from the novel. It is a thought and it makes life beautiful”. She also spoke about her mother and talked about the deep bond between them. 

Talking about the interest evinced in poetry by today’s youth,  Shabana said, “I’m very delighted that there is a separate festival of poetry. I was very happy to see a young crowd at the festival. Poetry is the only answer to all the sorrows.” She added, “I always have a poetry book by my side. Any of my father’s poetry, ‘Tarkash’ by Javed Akhtar, and ‘Sare Sukhan Hamare’ by Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Whenever I am low, I turn to these books. They give me the comfort I need.”

Aneesh Vidyashankar, famously known as the walking violinist, performed during the festival. “To me, poetry is no different from music. Poetry becomes a song with music in it.  My performance today included pieces from Israel poetry, Javed Akhtar’s Afreen Afreen, and D V Gundappa’s ‘Vanasuma’,” he said.

Famous poets like Mamang Dai, Michael Creighton, Nirupama Menon Rao, Anand Lal, Bhuchung Sonam, Kavish Seth and Nandita Bose were present at the event.

Award-winning German performance poet Ulrike Almut Sandig and well-known band ‘ALIF’, enthralled the poetry buffs with musical renditions of Urdu and Kashmiri poetry.

Those present at the event enjoyed being there. “This is my first time at the Bangalore Poetry Festival, and I am indeed amazed by the organization, the schedule of events and most importantly the venue. It goes perfectly with the theme. The diversity in poetry is evident. Everything just feels perfect,” said Asambhava, blogger and spoken word artist. Arpith, a poetry enthusiast said, “The Bangalore Poetry Festival has given us an amazing opportunity to meet and listen to our favourite poets and their recitals. There are also many workshops conducted which give one a closer insight into poetry. Looking forward to many more poetry festivals.”

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Shabhana reads dad Kaifi Azmi’s work at poetry festival

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