On the Valentine's Day weekend this year, various artists and artist groups collaborated for an event celebrating love and harmony among the people of India. This event honoured the country's essence — its tolerance, acceptance, and inclusivity. "A bunch of us — a motley group of friends with some industry links — and some activists like producer Aditi Anand and activists Fahad Ahmad, Vikas Katyal and a whole bunch of volunteers put together this programme celebrating India," said actor Swara Bhasker, who is one of the co-organisers of this series of events.
Theatre and film personalities like Bhasker herself, cinema veterans Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah, filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj, and musicians like Rekha Bhardwaj and Swanand Kirkire marked their presence at the India, My Valentine event, giving speeches and performing poetry and music. This series of events was conducted over three days across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Dehradun, among other cities.
Bhasker added, "This is a chance to reaffirm our faith in our fraternity; in our unity; in our Constitution —as Indians. Because no matter what our political differences may be, we can all agree that we love India. And that's enough to help us rise above our divisions."
Proceeds from the event will be split between organisations working towards the welfare of the widows of war veterans and empowerment of women in public spaces, the Press Trust of India reports.
NASEERUDDIN SHAH and RATNA PATHAK SHAH:
Theatre and film veterans Ratna Pathak Shah and Naseeruddin Shah talked about how they feel hopeful for and inspired by the Indian youth who are striving for a better country. They pointed out how art is representing the concerns of those who either feel lost or dejected, given the turbulent times they are currently living in. Ratna Pathak Shah read a poem titled 'Chhipkali' by Hussain Haidry.
Naseeruddin Shah chose to read some excerpts from Jawaharlal Nehru's book Discovery of India, in order to give a glimpse of what makes India so unique as a country and "what has been our pride and has been the envy and has won the admiration of the entire world."
VISHAL BHARDWAJ and REKHA BHARDWAJ:
Vishal and Rekha Bhardwaj sang songs from the director's films, like Kaminey, Maqbool and Ishqiya as well as her well-known songs 'Kabira', 'Tere Ishq Ne'. Vishal also recited a poem which he said he had composed during the protests at Bandra's Carter Road ("Jaag Bhi Jaao, Jagao Bhi aur Jagake Rakhho...Koi Soya To Kabhi Jaag Nahi Paayega").
Swanand Kirkire dedicated his songs and poetry to the women who are leading the anti-CAA protests across the country. From his single 'O Ri Chiraiyya' to his poem 'Woh Ladki Dhoom Dhadaka Thi', he emphasised how the CAA-NRC laws would affect women the most.
Actress-musician Saba Azad sang songs by Kabir and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. She talked about how these songs have always been relevant, and more so in these times. She also performed Shankar Shailendra's song 'Tu Zinda Hai' with Poojan Sahil.
Renowned Hindi poet, lyricist and Kavya Samman Award-winner Raj Shekhar performed a few of his poems like 'Prem Baarish Aur Inquilaab', 'Jantar Mantar Pe Lohri', 'Arab Saagar Ke Aaspas', with Nishant Agrawal and Anadi Nair as accompanying artists.
Delhi-based musician Poojan Sahil is best known for his viral song 'Wapas Jao', based on the popular Italian song 'Bella Ciao'. He also composed a parody song 'Pachtaoge' in solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University. He dedicated the song to the students' determination.
Delhi-based rapper Rahul Negi, aka Madara, started his performance with a mention of how — as an individual and an artist — he has been deeply influenced by Gauri Lankesh, and that her assassination stirred him and inspired him to write.
— All videos courtesy of the India, My Valentine team
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Updated Date: Feb 18, 2020 21:20:39 IST