Ghazal Festival 2007

Quite a few years back, one of fellows from my college was a member of some Musical Society (I forgot the name as usual), and she used to brag about the musical events in Alhamra a lot. I saw this ad in the newspaper and I thought to give it a try as I heard so much about this ghazal evening at Alhamra. I have never been to such an event, I like ghazals and I thought that there would be people sitting on the floor on white chandani and you know how one can imagine about an event like that (but of course, it was not the case).

Let me tell you some details, this was a three-day festival on 15th, 16th and 17th, today is the last day. The ghazal singers for first day were Saima Jahan, Sameena Iqbal, Riaz Ali, Habib Ali, Jamshaid Chishti and Saaria Zafar. Second-day singers were, Saira Naseem, Nida Faiz, Fida Hussain, Abdul Raof, Saira Tahir and Shakeel Basheer.
alhamra_ghazal.jpgToday, the talented Hamid Ali Khan is going to perform along with Suryya Khanum, Aqeel Manzor, Sana Noor, Sara Raza Khan and Muzzafar Chauhdary, and the time is 7:30 PM.

On the first day of festival, I was there at sharp 7:30 and no rush? yes, not much crowd was there, but people kept on popping up till 8:00 PM or so and I heard someone saying, that it is going to be rush around 8:30. Mostly the crowd was lower middle class, who definitely always look for affordable entertainment (good for them, haan?). There were free passes available for entering the hall, and if you are with your family, no one would ask you for the pass. When I stepped into the hall, to my surprise, Ali Zafar welcomed me….(sounds like exaggeration?) ok, his voice welcomed me, the DJ was playing Sun Re Sajanyaa, while the stage was going through some settlements. On the entrance, I asked the guard, “time par shuro hota hai na?” and he said, Ji…unfortunately I believed him, because it never happened in a Lahoree function (am I right?).

Though, most of them were local and unknown faces to me, they were greatly applauded by the audience. Events like these for general public should be appreciated and I must not forget to admire the efforts put forth by Alhamra Arts Council to carrying out the cultural activities in Lahore to a greater extent. They are also playing Sa’adat Hasan Munto’s Toba Taik Singh today and tomorrow by Ajoka. I hope one day, i will catch up with Ajoka too :)

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