Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
Monalisa Das | The News Minute | December 5, 2014 | 06:09 pm IST  “There is a saying that ‘Music nourishes the soul’, every being strikes its own note”, says Hamza Jafri, trying to explain to a group of parents the meaning music holds.  Can something as subtle and yet powerful and binding as music be defined? Jafri’s words, a beautiful poem in itself, do the justice it deserves.  Jafri’s response comes following one of the parents expressing their concern, “Music has been portrayed in a bad light in Shariyat”. Needless to say, Jafri does win over them. Thirty-seven-year old Hamza Jafri is a co-founder of the Music Art and Dance (MAD) school in Karachi, Pakistan. He, for the past two years, has been teaching music to twelve girls from Lyari, a volatile district on the outskirts of Karachi.  It was the parents of these girls that Jafri was trying to persuade, urging them to send their daughters to his music school.  Jafri’s initiative is being made into documentary, titled Lyari Notes aptly, directed and produced by Maheen Zia & Miriam Chandy Menacherry. While Maheen hails from Pakistan, Miriam is from India. This is what makes their endeavor of a special kind.  “I used to follow music from Pakistan, not the very popular ones, mostly on the internet. The music was very edgy and politically charged. I also found that most of the comments on the pages were from Indians”, says Miriam speaking to The News Minute.  ( A still from Lyari Notes ) “Music is capable of starting a kind of dialogue between countries which political talk cannot. This sort of a dialogue is absent at present between India and Pakistan”, she adds. The seed of an idea for a documentary had planted itself in Miriam’s mind then.  Miriam had previously worked with Maheen on a National Geographic project, but it was not until after a year into the project of Lyari Notes that both met in person. “Lyari Notes was one of the 16 projects selected worldwide for the IDFAcademy Summer School 2013. Maheen and I met in person for the very first time then in Amsterdam”, she states.  Both the directors have been shooting the film for almost two years now and recently a short trailer of the Lyari Notes was released on the internet. â€œMaheen does the shooting part and I work on post production”, says Miriam.  Watch the first trailer of Lyari Notes here.  ( A poster of the film ) If shooting in a volatile region in Pakistan did come with its supplement of hurdles, Miriam does not give away any signs confirming the same. “The entire experience has been interesting. Besides, today we have technology on our sides”, she says in a not-a-big-deal way.  “Documentary is a platform through which we take the viewer to a place they otherwise could not have gone themselves. As filmmakers we can only plan so much, and later have to go with the flow, believe in one’s instinct”, she asserts.  The team has started a crowd fund for the film and the response so far has been positive. The makers hope to release the documentary sometime next year. ( Maheen Zia and Miriam Chandy Menacherry, the directors and producers of Lyari Notes ) Lyari Notes is beyond Hamza’s initiative and the girls’ journey into a world very few in their country have access to. It is about music and its power to transcend boundaries, its ability to give strength through the medium of expression.  Amidst the uncertainty that is a constant companion in Lyari, the girls putting it aside, sit on stools next to each other, all clapping in harmony, as they sing, Main toh dekhunga,Tum bhi dekhoge,Jab roti sasti hogi aur mehengi hogi jaan,Woh din fir aayega jab aisa hoga Pakistan…  ( Someday I will see, So will you, Bread will cost nothing and life will be precious. Pakistan will see that day! )
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