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Ghazals and their Goddesses

The mesmerizing poetry was made even more spellbinding by their not so conventional voices!

The Ishq was made Sufiyana and the Love found more expressions than just romance!

Qawwalis were the new adult rock and lyrics found more meaning than music for a while!

– To all the gemstones who lend their voices and lives to ‘Ghazal Gayaki’

Here enlisting the female gems who have earned their places in millions of hearts by their ada and kala!!

1. Farida Khanum

Roots in Amritsar, born in Kolkata and now in Lahore, Pakistan; Farida is a Classical singer being entitled “Mallika-e-ghazal” by Times of India.

She started learning Ghazal from her sister Mukhtar Begum at age seven and later learnt Khayal, Thumri and Dadra from Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan. Her sister Mukhtar Begum would take her, a seven-year-old Farida, to Khan’s place for riyaaz.

She became a star in Pakistan when President Ayub Khan first invited her to a public recital in the ’60s. Khanum was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour.


Her claim to fame was the unforgettable ghazal “Aaj Jane ki Zid Na Karo”.

2. Abida Parveen


A Pakistani singer of Sindhi descent and one of the foremost exponents of Sufi music, she is held as one of the greatest world’s singers.

She received her musical training initially from her father, Ustad Ghulam Haider, whom she refers as Baba Sain and Gawwaya. He had his own musical school where Parveen got her devotional inspiration from. She and her father would often perform at shrines of Sufi Saints. Parveen’s talent compelled her father to choose her as his musical heir over his two sons. She sang her first complete kalam when she was 3 years old.

Parveen also has a distinct clothing style which she has created out of ease and comfort. She wears long simple frocks buttoned up to the top covered with a coat. She is always accompanied by an ajrak, a sindhi duppatta,which she claims come from the dargah of Shah Bhitthai and her wardrobe are full of it. Parveen always lets her curly hair untied.

Her claim to fame were the cherished Yaar ko Humne from the album Raqs-e-Bismil and Tere Ishq Nachaya which is a rendition of Bulleh Shah’s poetry.

3. Begum Akhtar

Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, fondly known as Begum Akhtar was a well-known Indian singer of Ghazal, Dadra and Thumri genres of Hindustani classical music.


Received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for vocal music, and was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan (posthumously) by Govt. of India. She was conferred upon the title of Mallika-e-Ghazal

She trained under Ustad Imdad Khan and classical stalwarts like Mohammad Khan, Abdul Waheed Khan of Lahore, and finally she became the disciple of Ustad Jhande Khan.

Her first public performance was at the age of fifteen. The famous poetess, Sarojini Naidu, appreciated her singing which encouraged her to continue singing ghazals with more enthusiasm.

She was amongst the early female singers to give public concert, and break away from singing in mehfils or private gatherings. She also acted in Indian Cinema and sang all her songs herself.

She has nearly four hundred songs to her credit.

4. Noor Jahan

Noor Jahan was the adopted stage name for Allah Wasai, a singer and actress in British India and Pakistan. With a career spanned seven decades, she was given the honorific title of Malika-e-Tarannum


She has recorded about 10,000 songs in various languages of India and Pakistan including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Sindhi languages.

Along with Ahmed Rushdi, she holds the highest record of film songs in the history of Pakistani cinema. She is also considered to be the first female Pakistani film director.

In 1957, Jahan was awarded the President’s Award for her acting and singing capabilities.

5. Penaz Masani

Penaz Masani is an Indian Ghazal singer who started singing in 1981 and has made over 20 albums in following years


In her career, she has won a number of awards, including the title of ‘Shehzadi Tarunnam’ and the 11th ‘Kalakar Award’ for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’. Masani has worked as a playback singer for Bollywood, in more than 50 Hindi movies and sung in over ten languages. Under the aegis of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, she has performed in countries as far reaching as Germany South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Vietnam.

She was honored with the Padma Shree award in 2009 too!

Photography Workshop with Vincent Versace – Few Tips

Are you the kind of photographer who carries a big back pack filled with several cameras, lenses and other photography gears? Are you also worried more about the scratch on of any of your precious photography armors rather than worrying about that delicate little souvenir carried back home?

Vincent Versace, the Nikon Ambassador for US shares a few handy tips in his one day photography workshop at Mumbai with Tumbhi!

1. Shower Caps

They act like the perfect raincoat for most of your cameras and lenses. With their elastic wide enough to hold any size of head, they prevent your cameras thereby also protecting them from any water drop or scratches!

So the next time you are visiting a hotel room, don’t forget to throw in a few complimentary shower caps!


2. Lens cleanser

‘Hoodman ‘an enzyme based lens cleanser is what Vincent prescribes. You do realize keeping the lens clean is as necessary as wiping off your eye glasses clean- to give a clearer view and thus a better photograph. Like wet wipes this cleanser is easy to carry and use. Available at Amazon this will sure give you a clearer lens if not a photograph!

3. Torch

A torch is to not only show you your ways through uneven plateaus of that deadly forest for wildlife photography , but also when you need that “little extra sunlight” on the object of your photograph. A 4 spectrum light bulb (battery operated) is what Vincent prescribes.

4: Wrist Strap

A wrist strap, mostly that one used by sports persons is to keep your hand anti-shake while you click that amazing rare moment. It stiffens the wrist and ensures that you don’t get disappointed with a great yet blur picture.






5. Shade Card

A simple shade card will enable you to have the idea of that perfect shade of ‘grey’ while clicking Black & White photographs. A simple yet very effective technique to determine the desired shade of color in your finished photograph while clicking itself.

6. CamRanger

A CamRanger wirelessly tethers your Nikon or Canon DSLR with your iPad or iPhone. So basically you keep your camera at the set angle and click with your iphone or ipad in hand without pressing the button of your camera. Its best when you need to click secretly without scaring away the subject of your photograph. See more about CamRanger here http://www.camranger.com/

7. Battery Chargers

And last but the most essential, the batter chargers! Generally photographers carry lot of batteries but one or two chargers! That’s a big NO! Carry enough battery chargers in proportion to the batteries you are carrying! You can’t let go of a rare moment just because of a stupid battery you see.

Hope a few of these tips will come in as handy to you as they were meant to be.


Vincent Versace is an internationally recognized pioneer in the art and science of digital photography. His passion for natural light photography is manifest not only in his work but also through his role as a creative and technical leader, contributing to innovative breakthroughs across the entire digital image value chain.

Vincent has recently conducted a series of Photography Workshops in India in association with Tumbhi! A three day workshop in Banaras (Sept 20-22) and one day workshop at Mumbai (Sept 26) along with a photography tour in Meerzapur (U.P.).

To remain updated with Vincent’s future programs in India, stay tuned with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Once There Used To Be Film Critics…

Pankaj Shukla

Having stopped reviewing films on weekly basis long back, I hardly have an urge to watch each and every movie first day first show now. Friday noon or Thursday evenings used to be booked for a film in my weekly schedules for almost a decade then and no matter what, be it rain, the thunderstorms or the scorching heat, I had to be there to see a new film. Sometimes the time used to pass by with an entertaining film, sometimes it was more thoughts than entertainment that used to come to mind and sometimes it were all emotions. But to see a film and then curse the self for wasting more than two hours of life on a trash used to be a case once in a quarter. Even flop films till sometimes back had a sense and something or the other in their making had some magic to keep you intact.

Nowadays in the time of celebration of corrupts, Film reviews too have fallen in the hands of marketing people in the dailies of most of the newspapers in India. Any person who dares to judge a film by his or her gut is sure to be crucified with so called Gangs of Marketing Men. They are modern Men In Black who are out to write the new rules of journalism and their over enthusiasm to milk producers have taken a heavy toll on ethical film journalism. Last year only when I was sitting with a close friend and one of the top most film distributors of Northern India, he cursed me for not writing weekly film reviews in a time when critics not only get plasma TV, double door fridges and foreign trip tickets but also their palms are greased well. I was aghast listening this and could only feel ashamed of the fact that the person sitting across the table is making fun of a profession which I almost fell in love. It was like listening someone abuse your darling and you could do nothing.

I don’t know how much truth was in his satire, but if he is wrong then how would a critic will rate a film with one star and other one will go on to give the same film four stars or sometimes even five stars. Not long back, a producer friend of mine wanted to make a film on this film review business and approached me to write a story for the same. I advised him if he wants to make a standing in the film trade, he should keep away from this and better make films on some other topics. Thankfully, he agreed and I was saved in washing dirty clothes of my own fraternity in public. But, now it is becoming above saturation point. It is like a time when somebody needs to stand up and say, Enough.

I liked the reviews of Minty Tejpal off late who used to write in Mumbai Mirror till very recently and may be because of his being true to his heart has cost him his job. His name has vanished from the paper’s weekly film review section. All these thoughts have been occupying much space of mind since the time I came out watching film 3 They Bhai recently. I was so much in praise of its producer Rakeyesh Omprakash Mehra till the time I didn’t see this film. He gave interviews with the headlines, ‘Producers in Hindi Film Industry do not have story sense’. And, he went on record to say that was the only reason he made 3 They Bhai. The headlines seekers gave huge space to Mr. Mehra in their papers. I am certain that he learnt this art from his hero in Rang De Basanti, Aamir Khan. Shout from the top of the highest building in town like Veeru and win Basanti (the viewers). Who cares what happened when Veeru and Basanti left in the train from Ramgadh. The money spent in buying tickets is in the pocket of the producer. His job is done, the viewers can wait for their revenge till his next film. As a producer he is not going to release his next film very soon in near future and it is certain that he will not have to bear the same burnt that Akshay Kumar is still facing post his idiotic comedy Singh Is King.

Gone are the days when writing a film review was deemed as an art. People used to line up to get an admission in film appreciation course, now every Tom, Dick and Harry is a film critic. Those who don’t even heard of plot points and basics of screenplay are the most talkative film critics in any press show. People who have no knowledge of music and its beats praise a shit song like National Anthem of the country. So overawed are these reviewers that they declare even a film like Raavan, a super hit, as soon as you start reading end credits in the theatre itself. One can now count genuine film critics in the country on finger tips, who are not in awe of stars, who don’t look for complementary things, who have no issue in watching a film with their own money than to watch in a press show and feel obliged for hardly 200 bugs. But, do newspapers have space to publish their views any more. The question is Too Boo or not to boo