LAHORE: Numerous promotional campaigns for the 4th Faiz International Festival have been ongoing for the past week. Invitations have been sent and the gala is all set to run from November 16 to November 18 this year at Lahore's Alhamra Hall.
Along with local audiences, foreign guests will also be attending the fete, one of them being renowned Bollywood star Shabana Azmi. The Masoom actor confirmed to the administration team that she will be travelling to Lahore for the festival.
Indian film director and writer Muzzafar Ali will also be joining Azmi at the Faiz Festival. Sources told The Express Tribune that both of them have been granted visas for the event. Numerous Pakistani artists are preparing to welcome the Arth star who will be making her way to Lahore via the Wagah Border on November 15. "It is an honour for us to host this event and have numerous guests attending. Everyone who participates is a guest of honour for us," stated Faiz Ahmed Faiz's daughter, Salima Hashmi.
The inclusion of well-known Indian personalities in the festival proves to be a step in the right direction, contributing to the betterment of relations between the two nations. Previous years have also seen various Bollywood A-listers in attendance, including film-makers screening their films as well as speaking of Indo-Pak relations. Besides this, dance and theatre groups from all around India have performed at the festival. Last year however, artists from across the border were unable to attend due to ongoing tension. This led to much disappointment among organisers and audiences alike.
According to an administration official, Azmi will make her appearance during a special event held under the name of 'Kaifi and Faiz' while Ali will attend a session titled 'Noor Ki Leher'. Insiders hope that the Sparsh actor's participation will improve the issues regarding the banning of artists and content in the neighbouring country. Pakistan has also banned Indian TV content while the decision regarding the continuation of Bollywood films is pending in the hands of the high court. Azmi is said to speak with the media over the issues, both during and outside of the Faiz Festival. Nonetheless, we have not received any confirmation of this from the administration team.
Entry to the Faiz International Festival is free of charge. Due to the expected arrival of Azmi and various other Indian guests, the local administration thought fit to impose strict security. Furthermore, only notable personalities will be able to attend Azmi's session.
The beauty of the festival lies within the entwining of art, literature, music and theatre. It was first instigated to honour the legacy of revolutionary poet Faiz whose work was admired by many. The legendary poet received the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union back in 1962 and his writings have inspired generations, not only in Pakistan, but around the world. Due to this, the gala will witness many international guests present.
Edited by Ramsha Vistro
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