A feast to ears
The Radio adaption of Gulrez reconnects youth to their past!
The recently concluded Radio adaption of Gulrez, from Radio Kashmir Srinagar, was a thrilling tribute to the celebrated poet Maqbool Shah Kralwari. The recent harsh winter reminded us the hardships faced by our ancestors in the past and to pep them up Radio Kashmir organised a feast for winter, that is to say that Radio Kashmir used the opportunity by presenting Gulrez in an opera style under the direction of famed broadcaster Shamshad Kralwari.
Remarkable for his depiction of love or of sorrow, the note of passion, a characteristic of Maqbool’s Poetry, distinguishes Gulrez as a masterpiece of early 19th century love romance with spiritual message from other Mathnavis of the time and earned Maqbool immense popularity.
Maqbool’s Gulrez is an abridged adaption of a Persian story by Zia-ud-Din Naqshbandi, but at the same time it isn’t a translation of the obscure original. Naqshbandi had written partly in verse and partly in prose, while as Maqbool has cast it in a beautiful poetic style from beginning till the end of the story.
The Radio adaption in fact enlivened the romance with a befitting presentation with a rare passion. The background music, appreciable sound effects and the dialogue delivery, with deep musical lyricism created an emotive structure, the production brought to the fore the essence of the complex romantic mathnavi, casting a spell on the audience. Gulrez is considered one of the finest Mathnavis of Maqbool Shah Kralwari which marks a departure from the Persian language to mother tongue Kashmiri.
As the presentation on Radio Kashmir was in an opera form, early on I had doubts about the broadcast ability of the same in a dramatic style, but the credit goes to the producer and broadcaster Shamshad Kralwari who brought to fore the spiritual richness of the romantic Mathnavi with Ghulam Hassan Gamgeen, a renowned broadcaster and the producer himself playing a leading role as Sutradharas (The Anchors). The producer lent his voice mostly for Persian couplets and made the narration sweet and effective by the modulation intone with the situation.
The presentation of Dastaan from Radio has been in a set style of Ismail Mir, where listeners would be enthralled by the high-pitch style of the singer and would not enjoy the poetic essence of the writer, the listeners would listen and forget but this innovative style made listeners to enjoy the poetry in its original craft. Thousands of listeners would have listened to this broadcast; I am sure, considering how people would talk about it in the Masjid Hamams, while travelling on buses, in literary circles discussing the content and the form of presentation of Gulrez. The youth could after listening to the serial broadcast, realize that Kashmiri literature has a treasure and the master pieces even relevant in the modern times. The presentation made the listener revisit the bygone times and prompted me to suggest that other Mathnavis also deserve to be taken up for broadcast in a modern style with latest techniques available, so that the present day youth do not suffer a disconnect from his glorious past and the rich cultural heritage - a la treasure. Yes, it is a fact that such broadcast requires a learned class of listeners, otherwise common listeners would lose the interest but the producer has played safe by way of presenting recap in the beginning and at the end of every episode that too in a humble and soft voice of prominent broadcaster Satish Vimal. This addition gripped the listeners to the programme from the beginning till the end. I could not resist from putting my laptop on hold and listen to the weekly broadcast.
In radio broadcasts especially of dramas the background music is one the powerful means to create an effect; it can create magical eerie silence, a joyous mood, anguish, a mood of horror, cry and the sense of enlightenment and romantic spiritual and elevation. It evokes a whole gamut of human emotions. A desperate and tired prince, Ajab Malik, has miserably suffered to meet the unseen fairy, Noushlab, the princess of Bait ul Aman in a long and tedious search for her. The effects used visualize the journey in the minds of the listeners. The serial created hope of the revival of the glorious past of Radio Kashmir Srinagar.
The musical lyricism forms the undercurrent of the production to reveal the hidden spiritual undertones of the Mathnavi. Here lies the contemporary relevance of the masterpiece. It suggests that the spiritually crippled humanity can redeem itself from the dehumanizing effect of vulgar materialism. The magnitude and impact of this collective memory on the people’s psyche is palpable. The narrative as such is rather skeletal and provides ample scope for individual as well as collective imagination. The inherent contradiction in the epic is a food for thought. Arguably, the contradiction is result of the King’s obsession with his son who in-turn betrays him and leads a life of his own.
It has a message that everybody is floating in a vacuum, for many of us disappointments, pain, agony and sufferings have made the life difficult but surviving against all odds has also made heroes out of us. That is why Gulrez was being recited in almost all the localities till my childhood days during winter season, as it highlights “we are not human beings on a spiritual journey, but we are spiritual beings on a human journey and unless we live with spirituality, we are not living well.” It is important that we go beyond mere worldly success that is why in Gulrez the prince prefers love over worldly comforts and sacrifices his thrown in search of the unseen.
The misnomer that Gulrez is only a worldly love affair story was washed out of my mind with the clear and flexible voices of Shazia Bashir (Noshlab) and Waheed Jeelani (Ajab Malik). The duo made listeners understand that Gulrez is not a story of body but soul. To cap it all music maestro Muneer Ahmad Mir and noted musician Raja Bilal gave their best to the programme to make it fascinating for the listeners.
The characters of Masoom Shah (Sarjan Ahmad) Naz Mast (Shahi Mumtaz) clarify the illusion of reality and the suspension of disbelief and bring to the fore the multiple layers of a complex literary piece by Maqbool Shah Kralwari. The Radio adaption was really a tribute to him by Shamshad Kralwari and a service to the Persian and Kashmiri Language, especially at a time when Radio Kashmir and Kashmiri language is losing popularity at a rapid pace.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 31 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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