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Friday, July 27, 2007

Rahi Masoom Raza's novel on survival in film industry in Mumbai: 'Scene 75'

...mera fun* to mar gayaa yaaro
maiN niilaa paD gayaa yaaro
mujhe le jaake Ghazipur ki Gangaa ki godii meN sulaa dena
magar shaayad vatan se duur maut aaye
to meri yah vasiiyat hai
agar us shahar meN chhotii sii ek nadii bhii bahtii ho to mujhko
uskii god meN sulaakar usse kah denaa
ki yah Gangaa ka betaa aaj se tere havaale hai...
[Preface]

*fun=art, the Urdu word [not English]

I am reading Rahi Masoom Raza's novel 'Scene 75'. Earlier I have read a few of his other novels including his masterpiece Adha Gaon, Topi Shukla, Katra Bi Arzoo, Os ki Boond, and Neem Ka Ped as well.

Scene 75 is a short novel. The main characters of the novel are Ali Amjad, Harish Rai, VD (Virendra) and Alimullah Khan, who have come to Mumbai in search of livelihood, and live in a small rented room.

The novel is set in the decade of sixties, the nascent new born India, where the wounds of partition are still fresh. Through characters like Sarla, Ms DeCruz, Manchandani and Lata Sinha, the novelist delves into the anxities of the generation and sensitively deals with issues of human existence, survival in film industry and of course, communalism.

Raza writes, 'I am a son to three mothers--Nafisa Begum, Aligarh University and Ganga. Nafisa Begum is no more and even her features I can't recollect but the other two are alive and I can recall them clearly. This novel is dedicated to these three mothers of mine'.

Read the lines:

...jisko dekhiye, jisse miliye
auroN jaisaa lagtaa hai
is bastii meN jaise kisii kii apnii koii pahchaan nahiiN
siiDhiyoN par phir kisii kii chaap hai
phir koii be-chehraa hogaa
muNh meN hogii jiske makhan ki zabaaN
siine meN hogaa jiske ek patthar kaa dil
aayegaa
aur muskuraa kar, mere dil ke ek varaq le jaayega...

I feel it's an engaging novel though not in the same league as Topi Shukla or Adha Gaon, still, a good one to read. After this, I plan to get and read Himmat Jaunpuri, another major novel by the same author who is remembered for his Bollywood scripts as much as his contribution to the scripting of DD's epic Mahabhrat serial.