Indian filmmaker who rejuvenated Pakistani classical music denied visa

November 26th, 2007 - 2:14 pm ICT by admin  

Karachi, Nov 26 (ANI): An Indian filmmaker, who spent nearly a year making a documentary on the dying art of classical music in Pakistan, was denied a visa to attend the screening of his short film in Karachi.
The screening of the documentary was organised by vocalist Safia Beyg who runs Sampurna, an NGO dedicated to promoting classical music.
Yousaf Saeeds Khayal Darpan is the outcome of his hard work for six months, during which he spent time meeting musicians, musicologists and observed musical teaching in different cities of Pakistan.
He started interviewing Pakistani musicians and scholars about Amir Khusrau, but went on to explore Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali, Ustad Chotte Ghulam Ali, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and Roshan Ara Begum to name a few.
“There is no visa provision yet for research or study between India and Pakistan,” Saeed said.
“I had to pull all sorts of strings before I could get a special visa for eight months. During my stay in Pakistan, people showed extra warmth and affection when they got to know about me as an Indian,” he said.
Saeed said that it is very rare for an Indian scholar and filmmaker to visit and stay for so long in Pakistan, working on a specific subject. They only expect westerners in such role.
In 2004, he received an Asia Fellowship from the Asian Scholarship Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand to visit Pakistan and stay for a long period to pursue his research and filming.
Khayal Darpan is what Saeed refers to as an attempt to “open a discussion” to let people see whether classical music can adjust in Pakistani culture where, after Partition, a crisis of national identity had arisen.
“Unfortunately, the legendary classical music ustads, who had migrated to Pakistan from India, have gradually passed away,” he said.
“This created a gap of classical music institutions and training. The loss was so great that it could only be repaired if strenuous efforts are made,” Saeed added.
Saeed found that people abroad do not know what is going on in the field of classical music in Pakistan even if they do recognise Pakistan for Qawwali and pop.
The documentary contains valuable input from Raza Kazim of Lahore, a scholar of classical music and inventor of the instrument Sagar Veena. (ANI)

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