Classical fiction attracts audience at PNCA theatre festival

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 7 (APP):The lifelong struggle of the great Urdu fiction writer Manto was staged at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) in connection with the 12th National Theatre Festival being organised by the PNCA.
Written by Shahid Mahmood Nadeem and directed by Madiha Gohar, the play ‘Kon hae ye gustakh’ was presented by the very well-known Lahore-based Ajoka Theatre.
The cast included Usman Raj, Kamran Mujahid, Nayab Faiz, Anam Zaheer, Suhail Tariq, Muhammad Qasim Khan, Muzammil Shabbir, Ali Haider, Frhad Hashmi, Kamran Khokhar, Usman Chaudhary, and Usman Zia.
The play turned to be a great joy and inspiration for the audience as all the performers did justice to their characters skilfully knitted in the script.
The right amount of expressions and calculated moves on the stage supported by the well-designed light created a powerful imagery and environment. The play deals with Manto’s struggle with his detractors and an increasingly conservative and intolerant Pakistan which he foresees in his writing and amazing prescience.
Manto had migrated because of family pressures (his wife and her relatives had already gone to Pakistan) and his disillusionment at the Hindu Muslim tensions in Bombay which had adversely affected the atmosphere of the Bombay film industry.
What Pakistan has become today was well predicted by Manto with great vision in his short-stories.
The play includes enacted extracts from Manto’s short stories and essays and the court cases on charges of pornography.
He never minced words when it came to calling spade a spade. At a time when eminent writers were hiding behind ideologies or flowery language Manto broke the taboos, tore through barriers and exposed.
On Sunday evening, a classic short story by Meerza Adeeb entitled ‘La’hu aur Qaleen’ was staged by the Batin Farooqi Production House. Directed by Batin Farooqi, the cast of the play included Batin Farooqi and Sabir khan in the main roles while the supporting artists were Nasir Walliam, Imtaiz Ali Kashif, Mishal, Sobia, Imran Rushdi, Shahzad Pappu, Mona, Javed Chaudhary, Karim Khan, and Seema Jatt.
The play was a story of a marginalised painter Akhtar who could not make any paintings when adopted by a rich person Tajammal whereas another poor artist Niazi helps Akhtar by making art on his behalf that could earn sufficient money to both. At the drop scene, Akhtar tells the rich man that all the paintings were made by Niazi who has committed suicide after hearing the news that Akhar has won the prestigious award on his artwork.
Another marvellous play was ‘Kafan’ staged by the Lahore-based Mass Foundation. The play was an adaptation from the classic short-story by the renowned Urdu fiction writer Munshi Premchand. Aamir Nawaz directed the play while the cast included Dr Zoya Qazi, Safina Malik, Muhammad Zaheer Taj, Afzaal nabi, Aamir Ali, Tanvir Khalid, Ahmed Ali, and Mujtaba Sheikh.