Nida Fazli’s last Filmfare interview

“The story goes that as a college student Nida was infatuated with a classmate. But one day he read about her death in an accident on the college’s notice board. “I felt a knot in my heart. I wanted to express my ache through verse but couldn’t,” confides the 76-year-old writer. “But one day I heard a pujari in a mandir singing Surdas’ pad ‘Madhu ban tum kat rahat harey…’ It was about Radha sharing the pain of separation from Lord Krishna with nature. The innocence of the relationship between nature and man appealed to me. I found a pattern to express myself in folk dialect.” Incidentally, years later his song Mere tere naam naye hain, yeh dard purana hai (Sudhir Mishra’s Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin, 1996) conveyed the pain of separation, intrinsic to life.”

Life took a detour once again for young Fazli when post the riots in Gwalior in the mid ‘60s, his father migrated to Pakistan. He, however, chose to remain in India. “In my autobiography Deewaron Ke Beech, I’ve mentioned that my father was swayed by Mohammed Ali Jinnah (founder of Pakistan) while I was influenced by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (freedom fighter),” he smiles. A ‘homeless bird’, he came to Mumbai and wrote for publications like Blitz and Dharmyug. As a precocious youngster, he took on stalwarts like Kaifi Azmi, Sardar Jaffrey and Sahir Ludhinavi in his book Mulaqatein for what he believed was their ‘fake’ Marxism. “I was fresh out of college and had great dreams. I found their communism paradoxical. I thought ye log aaram se flats mein rehte hain (just the way I do today) while talking about the mazdoor and the kisan. It seemed all preaching and no practice,” he explains his prejudice. “Naturally, they were upset. Eventually, I realised the truth. I even wrote for Sardar Jaffery’s magazine Guftagu for some time. But Sahir saab remained upset with me – shayad zaroorat se zyaada!””


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