Tag Archives: theatre

Ajoka’s new play on “Dara Shikoh”

Posted by Raza Rumi

It is absolutely a great development. Ajoka has decided to stage a play on a personality that has been neglected by India and Pakistan. His views and role in history challenges the myths of Indian and Pakistani nationalism and confronts religious militancy rampant in the two countries. Had Dara – the visionary, sage and believer in humanism – lived, we may have avoided blood, carnage and violence that defines South Asia of today. Those interested to explore the hidden history, removed from textbook propaganda must watch this play. The venue and timings can be found at the end of this post. Now the formal introduction to the play:

Dara – A play on the life and times of Mughal prince Dara Shikoh

Ajoka’s new play “Dara” is about the less-known but extremely dramatic and moving story of Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Emperor Shahjahan, who was imprisoned and executed by his younger brother Aurangzeb. Dara was not only a crown prince but also a poet, a painter and a Sufi. He wanted to build on the vision of Akbar the Great and bring the ruling Muslim elite closer to the local religions. His search for the Truth and shared teachings of all major religions is reflected in his scholarly works such as Sakeena-tul-Aulia, Safina-tul-Aulia and Majma-ul-Bahrain. The play also explores the existential conflict between Dara the crown prince, and Dara the Sufi and the poet. Continue reading

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Ajoka’s Musafat theatre festival (May 17-24)

Say No to Talibanization Cultural activity is under threat in Pakistan

Please attend Ajoka’s performances:

1. Hotel Mohenjodaro on 17th May

2. Dekh Tamasha Chalta Ban 18th May

3. Burqavaganza 23rd May

4. Bulha 24th May Venue: 8:00p.m, at Alhamra Hall # 2, The Mall, Lahore.

Entry is Free In Karachi, the festival will be held at the Arts Council from 30th May to 4th June 2009

For further information 042-6682443/ 6686634

‘Hotel Mohanjodaro’, staged by the Ajoka Theatre

LAHORE: A group photograph of Governor Salmaan Taseer and performers of the play ‘Hotel Mohanjodaro’, produced by the Ajoka Theatere at the Al-Hamra Arts Council. APP

Yasser Hamdani at Chowk writes: We must learn a lesson from Abbas’s prophecy and stop this decay before it consumes us, as Pakistanis and as Muslims. Even as a has no real conception of clergy. Repeatedly the Quran calls upon the Muslims to live their own lives without interferences from the holy men and witchdoctors. Then why are we tolerating the Mullah in the name of ? The Mullah is no defender of . He is a parasite sucking the very life blood out of our . Obscurantism and retrogressive will lead us no where but to total destruction. We will be humiliated and in the words of Iqbal ‘tumhari dastan tak bhee na ho gi dastanon mein’. The Muslims world over should decry this unnatural priesthood conferred upon the mullah.

Watch the video clips below: Continue reading

Hot ‘sexy’ Mujras have destroyed Lahore’s commercial theatre

Lahore was renowned for its experimental theatre and led the country’s art scene with its sizeable creed of artists, writers and directors. And, whilst that parallel culture of serious theatre is present, it has been sidelined by a crass and commercial brand of entertainment that was earlier popular for the lewd Punjabi jokes.

However, the newest brand consolidated during the 1990s has integrated the old Mujra form albeit in its destroyed shape. What has been the effect of this trend: women, children and families are not found in theatre halls. The larger purpose of theatre as an inclusive form of entertainment, interaction and participation is all decaying. Such is the impact of greed and commercialism. Commercial theatre is now a preserve for the oversexed, possibly under-laid male Lahoris; and rich men from the outskirts come to get a visual-lay to be supplemented by a real one besides the grand old mosque.

Today, someone forwarded this video and sent a link to a blog that has a collection of such stage-d mujras. It is noticeable for the Bollywood influence including the tattoos! I am not sure if they are that hot or sexy though this little “hot” number is redeemed by the attractive performer.

Well, watch it at your own risk!

IMAX theatre’s basement to become research library

LAHORE: The Punjab government has decided to set up a research library in the basement of the under-construction IMAX Theatre on MM Alam Road, Special Assistant to the Chief Minister Pervaiz Rasheed said on Wednesday. Addressing a press briefing at the CM’s Secretariat, Rasheed said that the government would also replace the plan to establish a commercial plaza on the premises with a park. He said that the government would form an inquiry committee to find out the alleged financial irregularities that the outgoing Punjab government had made in the project. He said the outgoing Punjab government reserved the basement of the building for car parking, and wanted to establish a commercial plaza in the open space in front of the building. He said that the government was not abandoning the project because millions of rupees had been spent on it. “The government does not want to waste that huge amount. Alterations will be made in the wider interest of the public,” he added. Rasheed alleged that huge financial irregularities had also been made in the project, which would be unveiled by the inquiry committee. He said that action under the law would be taken against the people responsible. Highlighting the financial irregularities made in the IMAX Theatre project, he said that a cash payment on paper of Rs 150 million had been made to the IMAX company to purchase theatre equipment. “The payment was not made through a Letter of Credit (LC), and the company had sent several notices to clear the amount,” he said. He said that the Punjab Entertainment Company had been registered as a private company, instead of a government company, to run the project. He said that some top secretaries of the Punjab government were made directors of that company. staff report

Courtesy THE NEWS

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.