Hamid Ali Khan steals the show as three-day ghazal festival begins at Arts Council
By Naseer Ahmad
KARACHI: With hands raised above their heads, the audience applauded incessantly as Ustad Hamid Ali Khan variegated the pitch of his voice supported by a competent group of musicians late on Friday night, when the three-day grand ghazal festival got under way at the Arts Council.
The event was organised jointly by the Pakistan National Council of Arts and the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi to pay tribute to master ghazal singers. Placed aesthetically in carved cubical wooden frames, those whose portraits adorned the stage included Mehdi Hasan, Noor Jahan, Ghulam Ali, Iqbal Bano, Freeda Khanum and Amanat Ali Khan.
A cool breeze sweeping across the lawn decorated with fancy lights uplifted the mood of the audience further as some seven singers sang ghazal after ghazal, a pair each.
Everyone performed remarkably well. But, of course, it was Hamid Ali Khan who stole the show.
Coming as the last singer of the day, the maestro started off with Laagi ray, tu say laagi najar sayyan lagi…And then everybody – men, women and youngsters – seemed to be in rapture as long as the lyric continued.
The lawn had both carpet-pillow and chair seating arrangements. It was filled to capacity when the programme began but started thinning out as the night wore off.
The discerning classical music enthusiasts, however, remained glued to their seats as they waited for the real treat of the night – the performance of Ustad Hamid Ali Khan.
Acknowledging that it was in essence a ‘ghazal night’, Hamid next presented Jahan, jahan teri zulfon ki aus tapki thee…. It was also enchanting and the audience appreciated it duly.
Earlier, young Karam Abbas also performed wonderfully. He presented Shanul Haq Haqqee’s Andaz hein mausam mein meri rang-i-ghazal kay…He said the poet had specially written the piece to be composed by his late father Ahmed Ali Khan.
Karam next sang Nasir Kazmi’s popular ghazal Tujh bin ghar itna soona tha…
Ikram Mehdi, a pupil of Mehdi Hasan, paid tribute to his teacher and first sang Parveen Shakir’s Koo ba koo phail gai baat shanasaee ki…and later Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Gulon mein rangbharay…. He copied the Shahansha-i-Ghazal admirably well.
Wearing light green sari, Azra Riaz sauntered onto the stage and first sang Muhabbat mukar jana zaroori ho gia tha… Her next item was Khamoshi say dilon ka bhar jana, aur phir baat kar kay dar jana…She received her due share of applause from the audience. The other singers included Tanveer Ahmed and Zafar Ramay.
Dr Huma Meer, who conducted the programme, broke the proceedings midway and called onstage Karachi Arts Council president Ahmed Shah and PNAC chief Tauqee Nasir.
The two chiefs of two cultural organisations lamented the law and order situation in the county and stressed the need for not giving in to the terrorists, and carry on cultural activities relentlessly.
Tauqeer Nasir suggested that the three-day grand ghazal festival be called: Music for Peace.