Ujala Ali Khan
Flanked by six musicians, the Pakistani singer Tina Sani serenaded Dubai with some of the best works by the poets Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Allama Iqbal and Rumi on Friday.
The ghazal singer, her two percussionists, two harmonium players, violist and flautist were joined by Adeel Hashmi — the grandson of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and no stranger to the world of literary and performing arts — as a host and co-narrator.
Hashmi opened the floor with some anecdotes about his grandfather’s life and work, and about the family’s close relationship with Sani, who has gained numerous accolades for renditions of the great poet’s work.
Hashmi was merely a child when Sani started her journey with the work of Faiz soon after the poet’s passing in the 1980s. With the composer Arshad Mahmood on the guitar, Sani performed a Faiz poem at the annual Faiz Amn Mela held in Lahore in honour of the great poet — an event that she now performs in almost every year. Since then, the work of Faiz has featured prominently in Sani’s repertoire and it was with Faiz that she started her performance on Friday.
She presented several pieces; the showstealer was her rendition of Sheeshon Ka Maseeha (Messiah of Glass) where she was joined by Hashmi. Faiz’s Daccani ghazal also drew plenty of applause.
From Faiz, Sani switched to Rumi, reciting some couplets before going for a considerable change in tune and pace with Nala-e-Ne (Song of the Reed) from Rumi’s Mathnavi. After the mellow, lilting hour dedicated to Faiz, this part of the evening was slightly more assertive. The musicians played their part with gusto, and Sani switched back and forth between Persian (the original language of Rumi’s poetry) and Urdu.
Towards the end of the show, during the segment dedicated to Allama Iqbal, Sani and Hashmi performed the delightful and highly thoughtful verbal repartee that is Iqbal’s Shikwa Jawab-e-Shikwa. The poetry was originally penned in two parts — the first being a man’s lament to God over the injustice suffered by Muslims around the world, and the second part being God’s reply — that were put together for this performance.
Sani and Hashmi’s experience of having performed together for years translated into an evening that proved to be an unmatched opportunity for lovers of Urdu poetry to indulge their passion for the three literary giants.