Revolutionary poet Fayez Ahmed Fayez wrote only one poem about partition and it has now been turned into the lead song for a virtual reality documentary drama called Empire kid. Written by Amira Gill and Vasundhara Gupta, the track is now available to listen to online!
The Sundance-nominated film is a work of Project Dastaan, a peacebuilding initiative that reconnects displaced refugees from Partition India with their childhood communities and villages through detailed 360-degree digital experiences. The mobile partition project was launched this year.
Released on all broadcast platformsThe people behind Sobh Azadi believe its release will be a historic moment in the South Asian art and music scene. It is so special that its release coincides with the 75th anniversary of independence.
In a conversation with *Images*, Jill and Gupta revealed why they chose Faiz’s poem. Sparsh Ahuja, Dastaan Project Founder and Director Empire kid It was envisaged that at the end of said film, the only poem written by Fayez on Partition would be placed in the song. He wanted a song made for the poem to be the main track of the movie.”
Ahuja approached the composers and exactly a year after they began their journey, the song was released separately. Featuring musicians from all over Asia, “Subh-e-Azadi” brings together the worlds of traditional Indian music and modern electronic music production. The subject track was produced with the full support of the Fayez Foundation and Fayez’s daughter, Salima Hashmi.
“It was important to use the words of Faiz, the man who experienced and lived first-hand the tragedy that represented the partition of India and Pakistan when we were trying to tell the story of the partition inspired by the real-life experiences of two characters,” the duo explained.
They find it remarkable that Faiz’s poems are still chanted and sung by young South Asians today, even though they were written decades ago. Commenting on the immortality of his words, they said, “This shows that his words are very relevant to us even now, and they move and energize an audience that was not alive during his time. We wanted the message to reach today’s audience and I believe Fayez’s words do just that.”
The release of the song was intentionally scheduled after August 14 and 15. The artists were aware that the significance of the seventy-fifth anniversary of independence would lead to an explosion of content and thus flooding their path. The duo added, “This song is very special to us, and we wanted to do our best to allow the song to reach as many people as possible and get maximum visibility.”
This project is very important for authors who have felt both personally empowered and professionally challenged. Because it was linked to it historically through family trees, zoning felt like a very personal topic.
“When we had this opportunity, we felt happy and grateful. It felt like, and really ended up being, something bigger than us. We had the opportunity to explore how to write music for someone else’s words, feelings, and experiences.” They went on to distinguish between writing one person’s story and another, “It’s an entirely different creative muscle one has to use—you almost have to be more aware and sensitive in this situation than writing the music for your own story or experience.”
Presenting a “very true and honest story” to an audience beyond South Asia, Empire kid He was touring Europe. She takes with her the stories of partition and Fayez’s poem turned into a song for an international audience that may not understand the language.
“We really believe that music and stories have the power to break through man-made boundaries and we really hope that this song will achieve that, even if it’s only with a group of people,” Gill said. The team hopes that Sobh Azadi will find listeners in South Asia at home and abroad, who are well established on the same date.