Farida Khanum to cast musical spell on Mumbai

Mumbai, Oct 25 Pakistan's acclaimed ghazal queen Farida Khanum performs for the first time in the city Friday evening, and attending the rare event will be celebrities from the Indian classical music world as well as Bollywood.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 | 2:54:43 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Mumbai, Oct 25 (IANS) Pakistan's acclaimed ghazal queen Farida Khanum performs for the first time in the city Friday evening, and attending the rare event will be celebrities from the Indian classical music world as well as Bollywood.

The India-born 72-year-old maestro, who is very popular for her full-throated rendition of ghazals in the Patiala gharana style, will also be honoured by the announcement of a music academy named after her.

'The proposed academy will have an Indo-Pakistan chapter and a SAARC countries chapter to enable students from all these countries come here and learn classical music,' Bobby Sethi, head of Kala Sangam, told IANS Thursday.

However, he declined to say when the academy would be functional.Farida Khanum

Though she has performed in Delhi, Kashmir and Punjab in her earlier tours, this is the first time Khanum is to perform in Mumbai. The performance will be held at the Nehru Centre.

Khanum, who is in the city for the past three days, has created waves of excitement in music and Bollywood circles. She held a warm and friendly meeting with eminent singer Lata Mangeshkar.

Khanum, who learnt singing khayals (a classical form of singing) from her sister Mukhtar Begum and then legend Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan, broke into the top league of Pakistani singers when she was invited to perform at a concert by the late Pakistan president Ayub Khan in 1960. Later, she was awarded the country's highest civilian honour, Hilal-E-Imtiaz.

Describing her as 'the last flickering flame of the famous Patiala gharana', eminent filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt said it was an honour to meet and interact with her.

Last year, she met Sethi at the 15th century haveli of the great Urdu poet Iqbal in Lahore. 'We discussed a lot about music and I invited her to perform in Mumbai. She readily agreed,' he said.

The concert, sponsored by HSBC, took almost 18 months to organise and entry is only by special invitation.

The Friday concert will be inaugurated by former union minister and Bollywood actor Shatrughan Sinha, while eminent lyricist and poet Hasan Kamal will introduce Khanum, her style of singing, achievements and set the tone for the musical evening.

During the interval, Khanum and Pakistan industrialist Qasim Jafri, who has dedicated himself to improving Indo-Pak relations through the cultural route, will be felicitated.

The prominent personalities expected to attend the concert include legendary classical singer Kishori Amonkar, classical maestro Ghulam Mustafa Khan, playback singers Alka Yagnik and Hariharan, actors Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Dimple Kapadia, Shabana Azmi and her poet husband Javed Akhtar, music director duo Vishal-Shekhar, producer-director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, corporate personalities like I.M. Kadri and Arvind Parekh.

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