Faiz Ahmed Faiz has been known for his bold and outspoken poetry for which he has been exiled to pay the price of freedom. With all the controversies, he never shied away from penning down the truth. The world has acknowledged Faiz to be one of the influential poets of his times. His poetry still resonates with the time. He has written poems on freedom, dictatorship, and censorship. His works have been translated into many languages as well. His poem Subh-e-Umeed, the only poem based on partition has been featured in the docu-drama Child of Empire as its theme song.
Project Dastaan works for reconnecting the displaced refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India during the subcontinental partition of 1947. The docu-drama ‘Child of Empire is a 17-minute immersive animated virtual film by Project Dastaan which was nominated at the Sundance Festival 2022.
The story revolves around two partition survivors who share their journey of partition. It includes Ishar Das Arora, an Indian Hindu who migrated from Pakistan to India, and Ahmed, who is a Pakistani Muslim who made his journey toward Pakistan. The directors of the docu-drama are Sparsh Ahuja, Erfan Saadati, and Stephen Stephenson. It is written by Omi Zola Gupta.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s partition poem, Subh-e-Umeed captures all the sentiments of the people who have gone through the partition. The theme song is composed by Amira Gill and Vasundhara Gupta with the support of Faiz Foundation and his daughter Salima Hashmi.
Amira and Gupta shared their views on why they chose Faiz’s poem Subh-e-Umeed as the theme song, “Sparsh Ahuja, founder of Project Dastaan and director of Child of Empire, had envisioned that at the end of said film, the only poem Faiz ever wrote about the Partition would be put to song. He wanted a song made to the poem which would be the theme track for the film. It was important to use the words of Faiz, a man who directly experienced and lived through the tragedy that was the Indo-Pak Partition when we are trying to tell the story of Partition inspired by the real-life experiences of two characters.”
They also shed light on Faiz’s work’s relevance to today’s world, “This goes to show that his words are relevant to us even now and they move and invigorate an audience that wasn’t even alive during his time. We wanted the message to reach the audience of today and I think Faiz’s words do just that. We really believe that music and stories have the power to penetrate man-made borders and we really hope that this song achieves that, even if it’s just with a handful of people. ”