Dubai: World’s largest Urdu literary fest, UAE’s oldest annual mushaira set to mesmerise audiences from Saturday

A must-not-miss event is 'Shab-e Rafta,’ (Night of Departure), an enchanting session of Sufi music featuring Abida Parveen on Sunday


Mazhar Farooqui

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Anjum Rehbar (left) and Javed Akhtar. Photos: File
Anjum Rehbar (left) and Javed Akhtar. Photos: File

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2024, 12:58 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jan 2024, 2:08 PM

Some of the most illustrious names in Urdu poetry are set to enchant audiences over two days at two venues in Dubai, starting this Saturday. Dr. Kalim Qaisar, Dr. Majid Deobandi, and Tahir Faraz will work their magic at the annual Indian Republic Day Kavi Sammelan & Mushaira at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium on Saturday. On the final day of Jashn-e-Rekhta at Zabeel Park on Sunday, renowned figures like Abbas Tabish, Shakeel Azmi, and Manish Shukhla will cast a spell with their soulful ghazals.

Making its debut in Dubai, Jashn-e-Rekhta, recognised as the world’s largest Urdu literary fest, will kick off at Zabeel Park at 1.30pm on Saturday with a panel discussion featuring acclaimed Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar and Pakistani human rights activist Arfa Sayeda Zehra in conversation with Adeel Hashmi. Simultaneously, the dynamic duo of Samina Peerzada and Usmaan Peerzada will engage in a conversation with Bee Gul.

The first day will witness three book launches, including "Andaze-e Bayan Aur" by Sanjiv Saraf, the founder of Rekhta Foundation, a non-profit organistion dedicated to the preservation of Urdu.

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Highlights of Day 2 include a Sufi concert by Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan and an interactive session featuring Pakistani actress Mahira Khan and veteran Indian actress Shabana Azmi, in conversation with renowned Indian filmmaker and actor Shekhar Kapur. Both these events are scheduled for 2.30pm.

Visitors will be spoiled for choice with two other unmissable events around the same time (4 pm-6 pm) on Day 2. "Dozakh" (Hell), a stage rendition of Ismat Chughtai’s Urdu play, and "Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaau'n" (I will sing a song like this) — a masterpiece project entwining poetry, songs, narration, and music, featuring Javed Akhtar, Meiyang Chang, and Jahnvi Shrimankar with a live band.

The evening’s highlight will be ‘Raqs-e-Naa Tammam,’ portraying the life of the legendary singer Noor Jehan, presented by Shinjini Kulkarni, Danish Iqbal, and their troupe, starting at 7.15pm. A must-not-miss event of the evening is ‘Shab-e Rafta,’ (Night of Departure), an enchanting session of Sufi music featuring Abida Parveen scheduled from 9pm to 11pm.

The pinnacle of the literary fest is the grand international Mushaira (poetic symposiums) titled ‘Gehan aur Dhoop,’ showcasing acclaimed poets.


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