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Faqeer Nimaana
- Kasturika Mishra
Photos: Tell and Tale studios

August 24, 2019

Figurines of milestones engraved of a bygone era,
Fissures of time and tide showing on their
Winding sculpture bodies,
Displaying the emotions of their brethren and times,
Living testimonials on life and death!

These are some feelings that came out from my soul after watching the quadruplet discourse going on in Faqeer Nimaana, the theatrical piece on Shah Hussein, the mystic from Lahore of sixteenth century.

With use of pedestals like ramp boxes as stage tools, Sanjukta Wagh of the Beej Company, Mumbai, displayed all her primary skill sets as she danced, sang, narrated the concept, and brought us face to face with the internal turmoil of a lovelorn whining lover Hussein for his muse Madho Lal. Her bilingual dialogue delivery catered to the bilingual audience. The Punjabi community flavor of the undivided Indian peninsula, the syncretic amalgamation of spirituality of the period reminded of another seer Kabir, a poet Sanjukta has covered in her earlier productions. Except the fact that the dervish was donning the same bedazzled facial expression and rarely went into trance, contradicted the dance movements.

The breaking of timber to light a pyre, the burning of bodies and the churning was a pious display aptly accompanied by the soothing guitar monologues of the exceptionally talented guitarist Hitesh Dhutia. What a composed accompaniment from him to a restless charkha weaver thoughtful Saint! The poetry and music inputs by Radhika Sood had distinct flavor of the land yet used quite some serious evening raaga like Darbari too. All the four artistes including Vinayak Netke on tabla, equally participated in the performance delivering Shah Hussein's lines in original Punjabi and then in Hindi and English. That the world of a Malang is still relevant in today's time and the madness of love never dies was so beautifully etched in the performance.

Ghoom, maaye ni nain bhayi deewani and Jeti jeti are composed by the artist herself. Vocalist Radhika composed Asaan and Buriyaan, two other poems of the poet. Maayeni mai kinu akhaan and Rabba are traditional tunes from the times the poet belonged to and has been part of the oral tradition. Excellent is too small a word as the ensemble was never on an easy boat ride. The performance took place on August 21, 2019 at Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

Kasturika Mishra is a Cataloging Library Specialist, music and dance critic, blogger at Mihika Mishra on facebook.

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