Sabina England’s expressive ASL translation of the great Urdu poet’s poem about the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. Be sure to click the CC icon to get the subtitles, and choose either Spanish (translation by Sabina England and Alberto Hernandez) or English (translation by Agha Shahid) by clicking on the settings icon. England notes that ‘The poem is recited by Naseeruddin Shah, a famous Indian actor, from the movie “Firaaq” (2008).’
Oh my beloved country
When I sing of your separation
I return to myself
But all I hear in return,
Is the language of guns…
A poetry film in the style I like to think of as illustrated spoken word—a style that works particularly well for poems that blend the personal and the political. Sofian Khan of Capital K Pictures directed. Here’s the Vimeo description:
An exiled Pakistani poet finds fresh inspiration in his new home, while reflecting on the tragedy of partition that has left a legacy of war and strife in his beloved land. Fragments of a globalized world seem to coalesce here on fifth avenue, strung together in the poet’s mind.
Directed by Sofian Khan / Cinenmatography – Bob Blankemeier / Original Score – Joshua Green / Sound + Mix – Evan Manners / Animation – Will Clark / Makeup – Jackie Push / Starring – Arik Hartman
The English translation is by Annie Ali Khan. I couldn’t find a website for Hasan Mujtaba, but he’s active on Twitter.
Be afraid of poets –
they have a hand-grenade
made of dreams…
The late Pakistani poet Zeeshan Sahil “has often been praised for writing in a simple yet profound manner”—a simplicity admirably captured in this short film from Umang, directed by Fahad Naveed and narrated by Mahvash Faruqi with a performance by dancer Suhaee Abro.
Be sure to click on the CC icon for the English subtitles, translated by Nauman Naqvi, or click through to the Umang website to read the full text in English and Urdu.
All the flowers in my country have been picked
And gunpowder planted instead.
Fragrance breathes its last
In a torture camp.
The very lane where hand in hand with you
I have danced to the music of peace,
There a death-dealer is spread-eagled.
Ammar Aziz directed this poetry film featuring Pakistani poet, writer, and women’s rights activist Attiya Dawood, accompanied by dancer Suhaee Abro. Be sure to press the icon marked “CC” at the bottom of the video to view subtitles in English, Sindhi or Urdu, or click through to the Umang website to read the text in all three languages.
Pakistani poet Abrar Ahmad reads his poem in this video from Umang, directed by Ammar Aziz. Press the CC (closed captioning) icon for the English translation by Zahra Sabri, and visit the video’s page on the Umang site for the complete original Urdu text as well as the translation.
A completely captivating film by Pakistani filmmaker Shehrbano Saiyid about a Hunza poet named Shahid Aktar, and how a particular poem of his has been received by his primary audience — his fellow villagers. The film documents its recording by Zoheb Veljee, who has spent five years recording music in remote locations around the world.
Be sure to click the CC icon for the English translation of the (sung) poem. It’s also available in text form in English (translated by Nosheen Ali), Urdu, and the original Wakhi at the new website Umang, which looks very promising indeed — a platform for “poetic thought in multiple languages as well as in multiple formats – including text, audio, video, and art,” initially from Pakistan and South Asia. (They also welcome submissions to their moderated forum.)
Do read the biography of the poet on the site.