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Coming soon: Film to depict Benares through Ghalib’s verses

Working in association with Ghalib Institute, New Delhi, Beenu says she researched for over nine months before starting to shoot for the documentary.

lucknow Updated: May 04, 2017 16:51 IST
Sudhir Kumar
Filmmaker Beenu Rajput at a Varanasi ghat.
Filmmaker Beenu Rajput at a Varanasi ghat.(HT Photo)

The temple city charm has impressed many a mystic and poet, including the legendary Mirza Ghalib.

In fact, Ghalib’s much acclaimed poem “Chirag-i-Dair” (Temple lamps) was composed during his trip to Benaras in the spring of 1827. Now, these much quoted verses are set to become the plot of a documentary being shot here in Varanasi.

“The film is a tribute to both Kashi and Ghalib. Not many know that how beautifully Ghalib had depicted culture, atmosphere, holy Ganga, iconic ghats and lanes of Benaras in his work Chirag-i-Dair,” says filmmaker Beenu Rajput who is directing the documentary aimed at showcasing the beauty of present day Varanasi through Ghalib’s verses.

“For Ghalib, Kashi was Kaba-E-Hindustan. It was here he mused about India and how Qiyamah (doomsday) had failed to arrive here, in spite of the numerous conflicts plaguing it,” says Rajput.

Working in association with Ghalib Institute, New Delhi, Beenu says she researched over a nine month before starting to shoot for the documentary.

“The effort is to depict the deep bond that Ghalib developed with the city. He was so much in love with Benaras that he extended his stay in the city for two months,” claims Beenu.

“On his way to Kolkata Ghalib had stopped at Allahabad where he took ill. He had high fever when started off to Benaras, where he had planned a stopover. However, he liked the city so much that he overstayed,” says Beenu.

“After he recovered, Ghalib wrote a few letters to his friends. In the letters, he talks beautifully about Benares, its ghats, its morning, the fresh airs and the clean atmosphere,” says Beenu while quoting some of the 108 verses that Ghalib wrote on the topic.

The film will be shot at a sarai (inn) where Ghalib stayed here in Aurangabad (then Naurangabad) in the city.

Beenu’s research revealed that Ghalib often had long chats with priests at ghats. “We are trying to cover all such aspect as aesthetically as possible,” says the director who got attracted to Ghalib five years ago while watching a show based on poet’s stay in Benaras.

“My Kathak guru, noted classical artist, Shovana Narayan performed the show,” she says.

An hour-long documentary is set to be released in December. It will be in three languages, Hindi, Urdu and Persian.

The shooting has already taken place at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Pandey Ghat, Maan Mandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat, Rana Mahal Ghat, Rajendra Prasad Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Chet Singh Ghat, Meer Ghat, Sarveshwara Ghat, Assi Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat.