Lok Virsa screens Ajoka play “Dara”

1805

ISLAMABAD, Aug 13 (APP): Lok Virsa Mandwa Film Club while
persistently celebrating the 70 years of Independence organized
screening of the British National Theatre production of Ajoka’s
acclaimed play “Dara” on Saturday evening.
The screening was based on the English adaptation of Shahid
Nadeem’s play.
It was staged at the British National Theatre in 2015 amid
critical and popular commendation.
The film screening was followed by a panel discussion on the
significance of the National Theatre production and the conflict
between Prince Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb.
The panelists included Executive Director, Lok Virsa Dr
Fouzia Saeed, Anwar Akhtar of Samosa Media UK and production
consultant for the Dara production and Ajoka’s director, playwright
Shahid Nadeem.
Shahid, who is the writer of the Ajoka Theatre plays is
referring to his play `Dara’ and what its story and plot
encompasses.
The play is about the power struggle between Mughal Emperor
Shah Jahan’s two sons, the elder Dara Shikoh – a humble prince who
is locked in a battle for the throne against his younger brother
Aurangzeb – who would later emerge victorious.
But it is not just a play about a struggle for the seat of
power or a family feud. As with all of Shahid’s plays, `Dara’ looks
at much more than that.
This play, so deeply layered, looks at the religious
ideologies that have clashed in the subcontinent over centuries, at
the disputes between the Salafi and Sufi forms of Islam, and at the
extremist mullah ideology that till today overshadows the other more
peaceful interpretation of Islam.
The play then also compares how the course of history may have
been altered if instead of the radical and rigid Aurangzeb, his
liberal and moderate brother Dara Shikoh had ascended to the throne,
as Shah Jahan had originally wished.
In the play, with Shahid’s sharp and witty script writing and
its awe-inspiring musical performances of Amir Khusro’s poetry to
choreographed dances, it seems to be a downright winner for Ajoka
anytime.