Thursday, August 2, 2012

Khayal Darpan

Movie: Khayal Darpan
Directed by Yousuf Saeed

Khayal Darpan (KD) is a documentary on Classical music scene in Pakistan.  Made on a very small budget, in a time (2006) when getting visa to Pakistan was also not that easy, Yousuf Saeed overcomes all odds and gives us a comprehensive view through various artists, teachers and critics.  Khayal Darpan offers us a glimpse of classical music post the independence and creation of Pakistani state and how it has shaped up in the last five-six decades.

Through various candid conversations with artists, we learn about the maturity of audience in Pakistan, the quality of talent - the ustad and gurus that migrated after partition, yet even with such great pedigree, the state of affairs is quite sad.  There has been an evolution in the music, it has drifted more towards ghazals and qawalli. All this has been a result to distance themselves from anything that had roots in Indian part. Lack of support from state, lack of patronage has resulted in a significant decline, lack of good schools has resulted in break in the transfer of knowledge.  Comparisons are made between the Indian and Pakistan's evolution, state support; there is an acknowledgement that Indian govt. had played a better role but it is clearly stated that classical music is in decline in both lands.

 If we look at the facts presented, it will come as a very sorry state of affairs, but here lies the beauty of the movie. Through some carefully chosen conversations and through some careful editing, there is always hope in every corner. Yousuf Saeed gives us beautifully sung music bytes at several key junctions that we forget the despair.  Khayal Darpan also shows us a glimpse of how things have changed, Indian music is accepted and adopted;  as the popularity of various music competitions rise,  a young teacher remarks that youth will realize the importance of classical music and soon, there will be a turn to its roots.

At the start of QnA session, Yousuf waits by saying "Take your time, it will take some time to sink in". He realizes that for many of us, this is a first time experience about the Pakistani classical music; he realizes that his movie has much to offer than we can grasp. Yousuf offers insights about the decline of music under the Zia government and how the two wars further deteriorated the scene mainly as radio stopped supporting classical music.

Khayal Darpam deserved repeated viewings, not only to comprehend the content but also, one should note the artists to follow. The Khayal Gayaki in Pakistan is a treat to ears, it should be heard again and again. 

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