Updated: May 30, 2021 10:04:06 am
Written by Seona James
The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, marked the 40th anniversary of Umrao Jaan with an online conversation with director Muzaffar Ali, screen writers Javed Siddiqui and Shama Zaidi, actors Naseeruddin Shah and Satish Shah and singer Talat Aziz on Saturday.
The film, which revolves around a courtesan in Lucknow called Umrao Jaan, played by Rekha, captured hearts when it released in 1981 and is one of the classics of Indian cinema. “I was very fortunate to work with people who were intensely involved with the film,” said Ali. This was the third interaction organised by FTII under a new initiative, Diamond Jubilee. Golden Memories, in celebration of the institute’s diamond jubilee.
The interaction, which took place virtually, was anchored by Vaidehi Sancheti (FTII, Screenplay Writing, 2014-15) and Milind Damle (FTII, Editing, 2000-04) Asst. Prof, TV Direction. It included references to the novel, history of the film, screenplay, acting, music and costumes, among others. Multiple clips and songs from the film were included in the conversation.
Zaidi said that the that the pain portrayed by the characters in the film was the director’s contribution as it was not as prominent in the novel Umrao Jaan Ada on which the film was based. Siddiqui added that the audience connected with the protagonists and felt their pain.
“I tried to make my character as sincere and truthful as possible. Luckily, this character was so well-written that I did not have to do much,” said Naseeruddin. While Satish spoke of his memories of the film, Aziz recalled that this was his first experience singing in cinema. Aziz took everyone down the nostalgia lane and concluded the session on a beautiful note by singing Zindagi Jab Bhi.
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