Aurangabad : Cultural Memoir through Memories Ignored

कोई यादो से जोडले हम को

हम भी एक टूटता सा रिश्ता हैं

‘Lest, someone connects us to their memories… As we too a link in kin… getting disconnected’

When renowned Shahir (poet) Bashar Nawaz of Aurangabad wrote these lines for his sher, perhaps then he lamented on growing disconnect among people about heritage and culture.

Culture is thoroughly space and time bound. If we ignore its space-place rootedness, then we take away a lot from its essential elements and viability as a truth. What remains in absence of time and space is a fable of falsehood and misinterpretation which distorts the actual weave of people and their place. Certain memories from human past and community make us what we are today.

History of India or rather world with its regions of Deccan, Maharashtra, Marathwada which predominantly evolve around Aurangabad are also not devoid of these elements of truth. Moreover, the essential paradigms of history and culture which happen from so called ancient to modern history in the western and southern part of India evolve around and through Aurangabad. Present Aurangabad also known in past as Fatehnagar, Khadki and Pratishthan as its extended region contributed enormously in formation of cultural trends of Maharashtra, the way we know them today.

Globally when film and cultural festivals are organized the purpose for them is to promote a specific objective. For example, MAMI film festival promotes film all over the world and it also specifically highlights movies and documentaries showcasing art and cinematic vision about city of Mumbai. Same goes with renowned film festivals of Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and so on. Prime objectives of film festivals promoted through a city identity are to let the world know the localized potential. Or as we say in the new vocabulary of connected world of today ‘Glocal’. ‘Glocal’ which could be understood as globally recognized and accepted local identity.

The new age of cinematic art and aesthetics is thriving on the regional or local genres of history, culture and traditions. In these contexts, Aurangabad has lot to offer. In past, if we could not capitalize on our assets then perhaps, time has come to showcase rich history, heritage, culture and folk memories of Aurangabad and its regional galore. As now we celebrate 6th Aurangabad International Film Festival, we are fondly recalled about the retro memories of Aurangabad itself. A city which gave some of the best backstage artists to India’s film industry and mesmerizedthe filmdom with many of its backdrop images. Bashar Nawaz our own city-based poet wrote screenplay and dialogues of Amir Khusrau a series telecasted in 90’s Doordarshan.

In the world of movies, the sepia mode, baritone of the cultural voices of Marathwada and Aurangabad silently claim their voices through movies like ‘Fandry’ and ‘Dashkriya’. Although attempts of showcasing rich cultural heritage failed miserably through Chandrakant Desai’s ‘Ajintha’. For our memoirs we have movies of immense popularity like Pakeezah, Love and God, Razia Sultan and recently the M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and a few more. The limit to these cinematic ventures is they had in them landscape and artistic monumental splendor of Aurangabad which adorned the cinematic world. Yet many folk, fiction and historic tales of Aurangabad and its region remain without spectator and celluloid frames. In the contemporary times what remains oblivious is lack of good movies which could highlight the regional cultural value of Aurangabad itself.

In a recent buzz Hollywood is planning for a script on ‘Malik Ambar’, the Ethopian slave turned ‘De facto’ ruler of Nizamshahi dynasty and founder of the city of ‘Khadki’ he is our the very own hero of Aurangabad. Yet, in our Indian and Marathi cinema we don’t have any movie on him. There are many subjects and themes in the narrative which are begging recognition and space in the aesthetic virtual and popular culture. The new genre of artists, imaginative thinkers and cinema lovers have lot to learn, depicts and portray through these themes.

The silent monuments of Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Khuldabad, Ajanta, Paithan have repositories of stories to be shared with the world. The medium of cinema could speak loudly for these living cultural spaces which are narrating their stories through their well-crafted buildings, breathtaking landscapes and buzzing humans living through diverse and prodigious traditions. Why there are no movies on Amir Khusrau’s poetics on Daulatabad? Or why we failed to re-create esoteric magic of Bhakti and Sufi movement through cinema which prevailed in entire Marathwada with its main seats in Pratishthan, Daulatabad and Aurangabad? While writing this narrative I tried to search and know about good movies on Sant Dyaneshwar, Sant Eknath, Sufi Saints of Khuldabad and strangely I could hardly find any! The best documented movie on Sant Eknath on IMDb dates to 1926. This brings to question our own flairs and priorities, when we patronize world of cinema through our own identities in them. Hope the #6thAIFF will bring together artists and patrons and many new subjects to explore, which consequently will enrich purpose of Aurangabad and films…

Hence, lastly in words of Bashar Nawaz again…

जाने किन रिश्तो ने हमे बांध कर रक्खा हैं की मैं

मुद्दतो से आंधियो की जद में हु बिखरा नहीं

Don’t know what all relations have tied me so long… For long I survived thunders and not splintered…

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