A Man With A Wide Repertoire
Speaking of versatility having a nodding acquaintance with Muzaffar Ali will be wrong. Ali stands head and shoulders above the rest of his contemporaries. High he goes in a different league with an epicenter of innovation, creativity and newness with a style which is too ethnic, real and unique. He is a multifaceted and multitasking man not just for the sake but a lot oozes out of him that sets the trend in its own style. Raja Syed Muzaffar Ali of Kotwara, Lucknow, adores perfection above all. His unflagging energy keeps exploring more than one thing at a time and shaping it simultaneously to the last go.
Muzaffar took to colours and brushing when he was at Lamartine, Lucknow; he loved dabbing canvas vibrantly with exotic colours that spoke volumes from landscapes to portraits to anything, he colours the flights of his imagination on the canvas. Besides, in him is an erudite poet who is well versed in both Urdu and Persian poetry. His love for Awadhi, Braj and Punjabi cultures and their languages is vast. He sings paeans to Zauk, Ghalib, Faiz and Sheryar. He has an equally tall list anchoring his widely diversified achievements he ties under his belt without a tinge of arrogance. The magnanimous Muzaffar with patiently cool temperament busies himself with making Noorjahan, a movie he has donned his hat for is based on the life of the Mughal empress. Zooni yet another film shot in the Kashmir valley is still waiting to see the light of day. That’s not just the end, he is full of beans and poised to take a new experiment at hand always. The soft and suave Libran addresses himself as a servant dedicated to the service of humanity and mankind. “It’s tough to be an insaan in this world otherwise you are everything. Insaniyat is the religion I belong to,” he mused philosophically.
He, in India, with great perseverance and tenacity, carries the torch to keep the message of sufism alive either by way of organising the concerts like Jahan-e-Khusrau with the combined efforts of Rumi Foundation and Delhi Tourism where famed percussionists and vocalists from Turkey, Iran and US rub shoulders with each other and share the same stage that opens the window overseas, or through the medium of Rumi Foundation that not only holds the sanctity of the word Suf but also takes it to the global dais. “Through this medium you relate your soul to God and go sinking in a trance and leave behind the material. This is bhakti (devotion); this is something when you resign from your being and stand in His submission. It’s rather a state of bekhudi,” the artist unfolds and expounds in a sufi andaaz.
A connoisseur of art, a versatile hombre with aesthetic edges he has scaled all heights of fame. A man behind Gaman, Awadh, Anjuman and Umrao Jaan he endeavours to take the Indian cinema to the international platform. He chisels the prominence of art and brings it to the surface. The league in which he fits himself is just class apart. Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta are more or less the same when it comes to the parallel cinema and Muzaffar is well right on stage. Who can forget the magnum opus Umrao Jaan; those beautiful songs fabulously penned by Shahryar and magnificently composed by Khayyam still chime into millions of ears and touch off the sepia memories of yesteryears and call forth the nostalgic knots. Now, the filmmaker once again flops down into a wicker chair, dons his hat and works on his new film Noorjahan.
Muzaffar Ali has been working diligently to infuse apparels with a universal appeal, his elegance of needle work was explicitly acknowledged at the recent Wills Fashion Week, his a la mode creation is suffused with ethnic essence of the traditional India that weaves earthy hues with ethereal beauty. He’s already done a good number of fashion shows in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Singapore, Kuwait, London and New York.
By Syed Wazid Ali From New Delhi