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My Father, Kaifi Azmi…Shabana  Azmi Remembers The Great Poet On His 104th  Birth Anniversary



Poet-thinker Kaifi Azmi’s birth anniversary  musn’t and  doesn’t go unnoticed.

Says Kaifi Saab’s proud daughter Shabana, “His birthday is celebrated in Lucknow , Mijwan , Delhi , Hyderabad annually . In Kaifi and Shaukat’s cottage Janki Kutir in Mumbai,  my brother Baba Azmi holds an annual celebration of music and poetry to encourage younger artists which was Abba(Dad) ’s great desire.He was very encouraging of the younger generation:   ‘Khaar o- khas to uththe raasta to chale .Main agar thak gaya raasta to chale,’ he would say  about encouraging the young to keep the poetic tradition  going.”

 Speaking on the annual Kaifi Azmi celebration at Janki Kutir Shabana says, “it’s a treat as  many stalwarts from the  world  of  the arts, music and cinema  come to cheer them on . This year Javed and I are attending an entire day celebrations at the Kaifi Azmi Akademi in Lucknow :  seminars , screening of Kaifinama , a beautiful documentary on his life and works by Sumantra Ghosal .And a mushaira is  also being held.”

Recalling her  iconic father , Shabana  says “Kaifi was a multi-faceted person . His was always an open house . All were free to walk in . His comrades , mazdoors strugglers . On the other hand we had Guru Dutt , Sahir , Majrooh,  Madan Mohan , Chetan Anand , Begum Akhtar . And Of course Faiz Ahmed Faiz , Firaq Gorakhpuri,Josh Malihabadi , Jan Nisar Akhtar.”

       Shabana  affirm that behind the success of this  genius too there  was  a man. “Every brick in Janki Kutir resonates with incomparable memories. But none of this could have been possible without his partner Shaukat Kaifi who was an excellent hostess with a large heart”

  Shabana  also  shares that Kaif Saab had a wicked sense  of humour.  “Once Abba was having guests for tea and he was besides himself because there were so many mosquitos in the lawn . I was shooting but organised for the house to be fumigated .When I got home I  asked him if the fumigation  worked.  Deadpan he replied . ‘Haan bilkul . Mehman sab bhaag gaye . Machchar wahi ke wahin bathe rahe.’He was great at one liners and few know what a terrific sense of humour he had.”

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