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Centuries-Old Ghazal tradition given a modern twist on Lafz Bheege Hain

Five new original pieces using the ghazal form, inspired by the iconic 20th-century love story of writers Amrita Pritam and Sahir Ludhianvi

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Prachi Desai

“There is a saying in India that if you want to express love, you resort to Urdu,” declares poet Ajay Sahaab, author of the emotive lyrics beautifully sung by Pratibha Singh Baghel on LAFZ BHEEGE HAIN (“words drenched in tears”). This remarkable new release from Sufiscore consists of five songs, modern in sound and conception, yet following the traditional form of the ghazal: a poem with rhyming couplets in prescribed patterns, usually sung in Urdu.

Sahaab drew on his lifelong passion for Urdu to evoke a familiar “tear-drenched” story that has almost acquired the status of a legend or folk tale. It’s a story of unrequited love involving two eminent writers from India’s social justice-oriented Progressive Writer’s Movement, Amrita Pritam and Sahir Ludhianvi. The story has been depicted in literature and film — and in that spirit, director Parasher Baruah has created a sequence of videos to accompany all of the ghazals of LAFZ BHEEGE HAIN, featuring famed actors Prachi Desai and Som Chattopadhyay in the leading roles.

Says Parasher Baruah, “For me the songs on LAFZ BHEEGE HAIN are part of a single work of cinema. I wanted to narrate certain aspects of the story and portray universal themes of love and longing. I approached the cinematography with an idea of recreating the 1950s and ’60s, a personal homage to the heyday of Indian cinema when romance was celebrated in all its emotions, blending poetry with visual storytelling. Choosing to shoot in colonial Pondicherry and Mumbai, our choice of locations, production design and styling helped in this a lot.”

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Says Prachi Desai, “When I first listened to LAFZ BHEEGE HAIN, time stopped. I knew I had to be a part of this. I’m glad that this was my first ghazal ever. I don’t know where we all find our strength, but after some of the biggest losses we ever have, we somehow make it through. It’s a hopeful message for anyone watching these videos or listening to this music.”

Says Pratibha Singh Baghel, “The emotions summoned by this love story are held in common throughout the world. Those feelings of love and separation and sadness are the same everywhere. The poetry and compositions of LAFZ BHEEGE HAIN are for everybody who can relate to this. We are trying to convey emotions so that modern generations can feel the intensity of words, music, poetry, composition and instruments.”

Says composer Rajesh Singh, “As a composer I had to find a correct mood and balanced sound to express the melancholy and divinity of pain portrayed in these ghazals. I observed that the pain of separation expressed by the poet here has no bitterness, and there is a subtle acceptance of separation due to social circumstances. Hence the notes had to be carefully woven not to sound depressing or negative.”

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Arranger and producer Paras Nath says, “I tried to enhance the feel of the ghazal. In every song I used something different. Cello, acoustic guitars, violin, viola and keyboards enter into the mix, as well as Hindustani bansuri flute, the fretless sarod and the bowed sarangi. Each instrument has its own character. I didn’t want a loud arrangement, and I was careful not to overshadow the singing and the lyrics.”

Presented by Sufiscore, LAFZ BHEEGE HAIN with poetry by Ajay Sahaab, vocals by Pratibha Singh Baghel, compositions by Rajesh Singh, music produced and arranged by Paras Nath with videos directed by Parasher Baruah featuring Prachi Desai and Som Chattopadhyay will be available August 31st, 2023.

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