Tag Archives: drama

Theatre for change

By Hajrah Mumtaz

Over the decades, Pakistani politics have become an ever more complex game. So it is hardly surprising that talking politics is something of a national pastime, the closest we have come to, perhaps, achieving a shared national obsession. What is surprising, however, is that political discourse is largely missing from the entertainment media. Continue reading

‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ depicts

‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ depicts
Sunday, July 05, 2009
By Schezee Zaidi
The portrayal of the most glorifying human emotion of compassion and love as the core element to fight extremism and hatred was at the heart of ‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ at the PNCA drama festival.
The popular play, staged by Sheema Kermani and her group Tehrik-e-Niswan on Friday and Saturday at the National Art Gallery Auditorium, was well received by the audience to the last for skilled performances by the entire cast around a well-knitted theme of an immigrant family in post-Partition Lahore.
Conveyed through the powerful and magical medium of theatre, whether in the form of tragedy, comedy or satire, the main idea of the play is to narrate the historical realities, touching the lives of ordinary people and shake up a nation’s collective conscience, make people think and question things, and admonish apathy.
Scripted and adapted for stage by Anwar Jaffery from the original drama, written by Asghar Wajahat, and with a finer touch of direction by Sheema Kermani, the wonderful production of Tehrik-e-Niswan is based on a true story of a Hindu woman, caught in the aftermath of Partition in Muslim dominated Pakistan. Set in Lahore of 1947 immediately after Partition, the story begins with the arrival of an immigrant family in Pakistan, which has been allotted a ‘haveli’ abandoned by a Hindu family. Having spent many torturous months in ‘Mohajir’ camps, the family looks forward to start a new life in their new home but to their dismay, they find a Hindu woman, the mother of the owner Ratan Lal Johari, still living in the ‘haveli’.
The presence of this old Hindu woman also irks some local ruffians, who believe that the country now belongs only to Muslims. This is opposed by poet Nasir Kazmi and the Maulvi of a local mosque. In the midst of the conflict, the old woman endears almost everybody she comes across with her loving and helpful nature, which is why that finally when she dies, a debate ensues in the community over the issue of performing her last rites.
As the play’s theme is based on a real occurrence, the dialogues of Nasir Kazmi have been taken from his letters and writings. The cast gave a very refined and accurate performance as per the mood of the play. It is also not out of context to mention that the play received great accolades in India.
Powerful dialogues with meaningful connotations from people like Sheema Kermani, who are engaged in activism and theatre for a cause, portrays the common concern about the exploration of ways in which the formal qualities of their art form creates a dialogue on ways in which important socio-political issues affect the everyday lives of people. Sheema explains that she believes that culture and cultural activists, the arts and creative media present many opportunities for promoting the understanding of human rights, and forging unity and awareness amongst the people.
Since its inception in 1980, Sheema Kermani’s Tehrik-e-Niswan (women’s movement) has consistently strived to raise awareness about women’s rights in Pakistan through cultural and artistic expression, using the medium of theatre, dance, music and video productions.

By Schezee Zaidi

The portrayal of the most glorifying human emotion of compassion and love as the core element to fight extremism and hatred was at the heart of ‘Jinnay Lahore ni Vekhya’ at the PNCA drama festival.

The popular play, staged by Sheema Kermani and her group Tehrik-e-Niswan on Friday and Saturday at the National Art Gallery Auditorium, was well received by the audience Continue reading

Ajoka Spring Theatre Festival to stage socially critical dramas

By Hina Farooq

LAHORE: The five-day Spring Theatre Festival by Ajoka Theatre opened on Friday at Alhamra, The Mall. The festival will be featuring a renowned Ajoka play as well as new plays in order to engage audiences with a more serious tone.

Many people are anticipating the new addition play ‘Hotel Mohenjodaro’, which will be staged on April 26 and April 27. The play is inspired by a short Urdu story by Ghulam Abbas, adapted by Shahid Nadeem and based on social issues. The story depicts a society ruled by religious fanatics and its overwhelming consequences.

The festival will feature theatre illustrating various social changes and themes of society with plays such as ‘Kala Meda Bhes’, which will be performed on April 28. The play is based on a real-life incident in Sindh, where a woman was traded for an ox. The story revolves around the woman, Sundri, who is initially humiliated at the exchange, then angry and eventually becomes determined to prove her worth as a human being. The play uses the folk theatre style of the Swaang and is a bold attempt, both thematically and in terms of style.

The third play Bala King is Shahid Nadeems Punjabi adaptation of Brecht’s ‘The Rise of Arturo Ui’. This will be staged on April 29. The story evolves as Ui is replaced by Bala, an unemployed leader of a wrestling group, who decides to leave Taxali Gate and tries his luck at the Badami Bagh Lorry Adda, a hub of inter-city road transport. A self-righteous businessman dominates the Lorry Adda. The play documents the Bala gang’s exploitation of the vulnerable groups of society and his misuse of physical strength to intimidate and blackmail people into accepting his unreasonable offers. The rise of Bala King and people’s inability to resist his advances exposes the weakness and susceptibility of society to violence, blackmail and corruption.

According to publicity by the theatre group, “The adaptation shows once again that Brecht is as relevant in Pakistan today as he was to Germany and Europe in the 40s.” Also it states, “Although an adaptation, Bala King is very relevant and meaningful to the Pakistani audience, where the spectre of autocratic rule looms large, where violence and crime appears to pay politically and where a complacent and acquiescent majority seems helpless against the forces of corruption, crime and violence.”

The play ‘Bulha’ staged on April 30 is predominantly based on the events of Bulleh Shah’s life, as communicated through his poetry, historical records and popular myths. The play reveals the majority of dramatic episodes in the life of Bulleh Shah. His search for truth, devotion to his mentor Shah Inayat, the conflict with intolerant clergy and corrupt nawabs as well as the opposition to war and bloodshed in the name of religion, are all integrated effectively in the play. The story also has relevance to present-day South Asia. ‘Bulha’ is not just a period play. It is also a celebration of the rich and vibrant culture of the Punjab.

The Panj Pani Festival was scheduled to be in Lahore during the same month, as was custom, but this time Indian delegates required to reach Pakistan could not get visas. That festival was thus postponed resulting in the organising of the spring festival.