Pilgrimage back to native land and family after 17 years...

"India! My India" is a powerful series of four short-films made by veteran British-Indian filmmaker Yavar Abbas which documents his own experiences when he returned to India after seventeen years of self-imposed exile. Yavar Abbas went to UK after the partition of India into two countries: India and Pakistan in 1947. He refuses to accept the partition - as people connect with each other in a powerful manner across man-made boundaries. Yavar Abbas was a special guest at UGC Academic Staff College (ASC), Lucknow University and his film "India! My India" was screened in January 2011. Professor (Dr) Nishi Pandey, Director of UGC Academic Staff College at Lucknow University welcomed him.

One of the most poignant scenes of "India! My India" was when Yavar Abbas meets his mother after 17 years. The camera captures the intense emotion so well. "These scenes couldn't have been retaken" said Yavar Abbas, who at 90 years of age, continues to be an inspiration through his art forms.

"When India gained her independence in 1947, and was partitioned into India and Pakistan, I saw my dreams for a United, free India confounded overnight" said Yavar Abbas. 

In 1964, he went back to India and thus was filmed India! My India.

Yavar Abbas received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award of South Asian Cinema Foundation (SACF). He is a noted writer, broadcaster, journalist, film-maker comes from the home of Urdu- Lucknow in U.P. India and is based in UK. He has worked with BBC for 26 years. A love of classical Urdu literature was second nature to him, having been exposed to the poetry of one of one of the greatest practitioners of that art, Meer Babar Ali Anees, whose epic Marsiyas were part of his staple diet from a very early age. Equipped with a liberal education from Allahabad University in India where his main subjects were English and Persian Literature, Yavar moved freely between making films, broadcasting, and translating from English into Urdu plays and features he produced and directed for the BBC. Shakespeare, Shaw,Wilde, Wells, Coward, Stoppard, Chekov, Isben, Burke, Gibbon. Jhonson, Macaulay, Hazlitt, lamb, Dickens, kipling are just some of the playwrights and writers he has translated into Urdu.

A full length Othello, a full length Macbeth, an eighteen part series masterpieces of English Prose, a thirteen part series Historic English Speeches (Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah et al), an eight part series European Poets World Service) which he also produced and directed, will give some ide of the range of his work. He is now in the process of collating and editing this body of work together with his original articles and commentaries both in English and Urdu for publication in the form of books.

His films India! My India (a series of 4), Faces of India (a series of 7), India Called Them (a series of 6), Mother Ganges, Cricket in India, The Khans of Pakistan (many of which he wrote and all of which he narrated, produced and directed) have been shown on national TV networks in Britain, USA, Canada, Germany, France, Holland, Sweden, Poland, India, Pakistan etc. And have won top awards at International Film and TV Festivals of New York, Milan and Hollywood.

Bobby Ramakant - CNS

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