Punjabi Poet: Shah Hussein

Poet, weaver, mystic and saint, Shah Hussein created a stir in sixteenth-century Punjab through his unconventional lifestyle and the subversive power of his poetry. Popularly known as Madho Lal Hussein, after he adopted the name of his young lover and disciple, he remains a beguiling, enigmatic figure: a firebrand whose growing fame was a cause for anxiety for the political elite, a Muslim who fell in love with a Hindu boy and won his heart and devotion, a rebel philosopher who found solace in ignominy.

Deceptively simple and astonishingly relevant, the poems in this magnificent collection are charged with longing and offer insight into the true nature of love and death, desire and sublimation. Naveed Alam’s lilting translation brings out the verve and allure of Hussein’s verses which continue to be sung and recited over 400 years after his death.

The Author:

Madho Lal Hussein (1538–99), also known as Shah Hussein, was a weaver by profession and a mystic by vocation. To this day, he commands great reverence as a poet–saint in Punjab. His urs (death anniversary), known as Mela Chiraga’an (Festival of Lamps), continues to be held annually at his shrine in Baghbanpura, Lahore.

The Translator:

Naveed Alam is a poet and translator. His first collection of poems, A Queen of No Ordinary Realms, won the Spokane Poetry Prize, and his works have been published in a number of literary journals and magazines including the Prairie Schooner, American Poetry Journal and Poetry International, among others. He currently lives in Lahore, Pakistan.

Jaipur Book Mark 2016

Jaipur BookMark, now an established international publishing event in its third year, will once again take place in the Pink City this January, in association with the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2016.

To be held on the 21st and 22nd January 2016 at Biblio Square, Jaipur BookMark (JBM), powered by DailyHunt, is a dynamic forum for the global publishing industry, with seminars, talks and discussions focused on the emerging South Asian books and allied services markets.

The event also creates a unique platform for publishing professionals from across the world to come together and connect with their South Asian counterparts over issues facing the industry as a whole.

Jaipur BookMark 2016 is delighted to welcome DailyHunt as an associate sponsor. Over 90 million people in India access eBooks and news in 15 languages through DailyHunt every day. A champion of content in the Indian languages, it is an important player in broadening the diversity of consumption of digital material.

We are also thrilled that the Oxford Book Cover Prize will be announced at JBM 2016. This award for brilliance in book design recognises the extraordinary work of illustrators, designers and publishers throughout India in making a book stand out from the many others in book stores and online. The prize will be announced on 22 January.

The 2016 Jaipur BookMark edition will have presentations and workshops running throughout the two days. The workshops will offer those in the industry insights and practical advice around signing contracts and book deals, copyright laws, and translation support with industry experts.

Translation is the main focus of JBM in 2016. For the first time, Jaipur BookMark is bringing out a Translation Rights Catalogue featuring 8 – 10 titles from across Indian languages for which rights will be made available at the event allowing publishers to pick up new authors and support translation.

Highlights of JBM 2016

– Opening keynote by John Makinson, Chairman of Penguin Random House.

– Translation: Focusing on South Asia, its expanding print and digital publishing industry across languages and cultures. How do we ensure South Asia’s translated stories make it to readers around the world?

– Technology: With Apps, e-wallets and 4G, how do we optimize technology and opportunity in publishing?

Forefronting Books: In a crowded market place how do you create and sustain an effective platforms for books? The specialized activity of forefronting books is explored in traditional and new marketplaces.

– New Frontiers of Narrative: Data, statistics and intuitive innovations inform debate. How do we monetize new media markets? A diverse panel shares insights into new and emergent trends in publishing, hybrid media and the new frontiers of narrative.

– Ravinder Singh, India’s best-known romance writer, shares his unique and refreshing publishing success story. He discusses a platform set up by him for aspiring authors, which offers mentorship, guidance and the opportunity to publish their work under the Black Ink imprint.

Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival said, “This year’s edition of Bookmark brings together many exciting and pertinent aspects of the trade, including a special emphasis on translations. The publishing industry is indeed the heart and core of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. It is gratifying to see a significant space emerging for the exchange of opportunities in the dynamic and emergent world of print and electronic culture.”

Sanjoy K. Roy, Director of Teamwork Arts, Producers of the Jaipur BookMark said, “Jaipur BookMark is a unique opportunity bringing together publishers, agents, festival directors and authors at the back of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival. It is also being developed as a platform for acquiring translation rights across languages and platforming the best Non Fiction and Fiction across Indian languages

Virendra Gupta, CEO and Founder DailyHunt said, “We at Dailyhunt are excited to be part of 3rd edition of Jaipur Bookmark and we appreciate the effort of bringing Indian and global publishers together on a common platform. We look forward to forging new alliances & partnerships with publishers and opening India’s largest marketplace for e-books to them”

Neeta Gupta, publisher and co-organiser of Jaipur BookMark said, “Jaipur Bookmark, held in association with the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, provides a dynamic platform for a meaningful dialogue between traditional publishing and latest technology. DailyHunt is a natural partner. JBM is also a perfect networking opportunity for International Publishers and their South Asian counterparts.”

Registration for the Jaipur BookMark is now open and is Rs 3,500/- per day or Rs 6,000/- for two days per person (which includes delegate status for the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival specific to the date).

Movie Review: ‘Angrej’


Movie Review: ‘Angrej’

Punjabi cinema has arrived finally and now the greatest challenge would be living upto the zenith high benchmark by ‘Angrej’. Till now the question was – Do we deserve the cinema we are getting,  overall dominated by stand-up comedy type concepts and’Golmaal’ type scripts. Now a very wise and pertinent question to be asked would be: Do wedeserve this cinema that has come to us as a full-packaged form in the masterpiece called ‘Angrej’? To put it into other words rather than answering this question we can safely say that now is the time that Punjani audience elevates its cinematic sensibilities. We can’t complain that there’s a dearth of such brilliant concepts in Punjabi cinema. Now that you have it, give it your best response because otherwise you run the risk of not having it repeated  again in Punjabi film industry.

Talking about the film in detail, we know that it is set in the Punjab of 1945. But it is needless to say that merely saying is not enough. ‘Angrej’ film ensures that every aspect of it, every thread is woven around that flavour of undivided Punjab. One actually visits it as the journey of the characters progresses. You feel like being one of them.

The writer has done a brilliant job with the story and dialogues being something that stand out from the mundane crowd of Punjabi films we had been a witness to recently. The almost flawless screenplay is and will prove itself to be the thing that carries on its shoulders the success of an experimental subject based movie. ‘Angrej’ is actually a writer’s film and Amberdeep Singh, who has contributed the story, screenplay and dialogues of the movie, is the man who carries the success of the film on his shoulders.

The film has a brilliant opening. It’s brilliant in the sense that it sets the tone and flavour of the film. We have an old man, who comes out of nowhere amidst the already laid down fabric of modern phone-hooked generation. The entry of the old  man serves two purposes – on the one hand he gives us a fair idea that we have two generations in front of us and hence, a comparison would  follow; secondly, he is remiscient and nostalgic about his past and has come to his old house and this proves to be the connecting link with the past times to be portrayed in the film as its main fabric.

Talking about the dialogues, one can only but marvel at their being so beautifully worded. They are not just well-worded but has an indepth connotation. “Azadi aayi nhi sagon fael gayi si”; “Jawani aayi nhi handayi si”; “Fatt khulla chhad chheti bharoo ya patti  bann ke”;  –  a just a few instances. They have some  literary air around them, which makes them all the more meaningful. All dialogues are very aptly placed. There’s one more characteristic feature about the dialogues in this movie, what at times where someone might even do without saying something, we have a word or two, but not just for the sake of saying it. There it adds to the psychological dimensions of the character in question.

The exotic natural sights and sceneries have been used so charmingly that they are in such close proximity of the main fabric of the film, that they become a part of it and thus, add to the portrayal of the particular emotion. For instance, Angrej’s  (Amrinder Gill) pain is depicted by the place where he is standing – an open hut made with dried straws.

Screenplay of the movie is so flawless that not even for a single moment we feel that the writer leaves your finger to be lost in the listless movement. The journey is so perfectly timed throughout the film.

Binnu Dhillon finally got a chance to act instead of just indulging in his funny acts as had been the case in his previous films. In ‘Angrej’ we also have a full-stop to the stand-up comedians getting the limelight in a major part of the film and trying to take forward the plot of the film with they comic acts and punches.

Amrinder Gill has climbed quite a few ladders as far as his acting skills are concerned. Ammy Gill was very repetitive in his actions, not just physical actions like curving up his moustache, but also in his dialogues. There can be two reasons for that – either his role did not require much of verbal brilliance apart from a few charming dialogues or he wasn’t given a major chunk of a larger variety with a view to test the waters since it is his debut film. After all, he is a singer just like Amrinder Gill and that too par-excellence as far the singing capabilities of both the actors are concerned. Of all the heroines Sargun took the cake with her spontaneity while playing Dhan Kaur, though Aditi Sharma playing Maado too did justice to her part.

The music is another highlight of this film. None of the song is imposed or inserted unwanted. The songs have some very good lyrics and nice music. Overall the some songs are actually addictive. The background score adds to the charm.

The humour in the film is so natural and spontaneous that nowhere one is forced to laugh. It is actually witty at times than just simple plain humour. The complexity of emotions and romantic inclinations keep the audience spellbound. It was tough to entangle the situations thus developed till the climax but the have been beautifully justified with full support from the tight screenplay. Overall it is a must watch film, not just once but at least twice.

Star Rating: 4.5/5

Importance of Art


History bears testimony to the fact that art plays a crucial role in life. Art is universal and is everywhere. We experience art on a daily basis from the houses we live in, to the movies we see and to the books that we read. It expresses ideas beliefs in more than one way. It can record the experiences of people. Art pieces have given historians valuable information about the standards of beauty, fashion, society and beliefs of the artist’s time. They can also make statements and provoke serious thought about the current issues. Art immortalizes people, places and events, clearly evident in our vast treasure of paintings and sculptures. A very famous example, are the enchanting frescos depicting life of Lord Buddha at the Ajanta caves.

The critically important role of art in the academy, as in life, is to enable us to see the world and the human condition differently, and in seeing the world through a particular work of art, to see a truth we might not have understood before. Imagination and a sense of discovery are often as important as knowledge. Composing a song, writing a play, creating a painting, or writing a poem forces us to think in alternative ways, to hold different assumptions and to entertain different and often more instructive ways of making connections and ways of looking at all that surrounds us. A good artist advances culture and civilization by provoking thought, introspection, and discussion.

Art can be a key to a child’s mind. Art, being a natural expression, gives children an easy and smooth outlet to express their emotions, ideas and thoughts. Plenty of therapists recommend art as a form of therapy to help children open up and to build self-confidence. It also lends itself to physical development and enhancement of fine and gross motor skills. Children should be encouraged to play and connect with colours and enjoy the radiance of life and hence celebrate their childhood.

Art is a great medium of meditation. Great art can invoke many positive mind states in a viewer. It can ease stress and renew energy. Each time we look at a painting or a sculpture, or watch a good play or movie, of listen to a certain music, it connects us to emotions and inspires us to dive deep within. In this way art can serve as a catharsis, or help us uncover feelings of which we were previously unaware. Colours used on the canvas can bring colour and brightness to our otherwise mechanical and mundane lives. Art makes people happy and happiness is what we all strive for.


Suguna Salhotra