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Pakistani Theatre Team Makes Bond Of Love

2014-12-27 21:18

Zoya Uzair, Azeem Hamid And Namwar Ayaz in a scene of 'Kamra#9' staged by Lahore based Independent Theatre Company. Pic SOVAN

Zoya Uzair and Naved in Kamra#9

Casting team of Kamra#9 after the show at Rangapeeth Theatre Fest

Moments of Pride: The Pakistani theatre team members singing their National anthem - 'Pak Sarzamin'

Santipur Municipality chairman Ajoy De handing over a memento to Pak team director Azeem Hamid. Picture SOVAN

The bond of harmony: Pak theatre team members with Pakistani and Indian National flag. Picture By SOVAN


Santipur, Dec. 27: The killings of 130 innocent children at an army school in Peshwar have forced the culture clan in Pakistan to take on street to raise voice against the militancy in the country.

The theatre activists, musicians who have mass appeal across the country, have come up to speak against religious fanaticism and to convey a clear message that a country cannot be tagged as ‘unsafe’ for some handful of people to whom bullets are the ultimate words.

With this strong message some young Lahore based theatre activists from Pakistan arrived in Nadia’s Santipur on Friday night.

The theatre activists, who are the member of ‘Independent Theatre Company’, said: “The Peshwar massacre is not the ultimate picture of Pakistan. There is life beyond such massacre which speaks for peace and harmony”.

The Independent theatre company, which came to Santipur on an invitation to stage their play ‘Kamra #9” penned by legendary playwright Sadat Hassan Manto at the ‘Rangapeeth” theatre festival on Sunday, have also joined the other theatre groups on the streets of Pakistan to raise voice against militancy.

The casting members and the production assistants were given standing ovation after their show at the make shift auditorium that was set up at the public library ground in Santipur town.

The 500 strong crowds who were present at the auditorium experienced a rare seen of harmony at the auditorium. The local civic body chairman Ajoy De felicitated the Pakistani team members. The National anthem of India and Pakistan were sung. The members of the group are overwhelmed about the way they have been welcomed in Santipur. “This is an amazing experience, we are feeling at home”, said team leader Azeem Hamid.

The group is consisting of ten members; five are the cast members, who are all students, including its director Azeem Hamid, who is presently doing his graduation in visual communication. The other five are the production assistants. The group has four female member including Priyanka Rajani, a Sind province based Pakistani Hindu.

The interesting aspect is that the most of the theatre groups in Pakistan work as ‘art and entertainment’ company under company act. The theatre activists are mostly paid workers.

“Most of the theatre artistes in Pakistan are paid. They are committed to the theatre companies. Nevertheless, they have risen up beyond such obligation and joined protest raising voices against the militancy. Many of them are often being threatened. But, such threat and intimidation could stop their voices”, said Uzair Sultan, who works as art director of the touring Independent Theatre company.

‘This trend of protest is not just centered in Lahore, which is called as the culture capital of Pakistan, rather cultural activists from other parts of the country have joined it without prejudice and fear”, said Namwar Ayaz, Sakkir province based  lead actor in the team, who is also doing his graduation in film and television.

“For last few years the theatre and the cultural activists have been raising voices in different forms to convey message against fanaticism, trying best to educate people in rural areas, organizing workshops in schools and colleges, organizing street theatres. We were hopeful that a conducive atmosphere would gradually come up. But, the Peshwar killings have come as an eye opener to us. It has crossed the endurance level of our patience. The killings have emboldened our commitment towards society. As a result, to the young generation and to the theatre activists, there was no way left, but to speak categorically against the militancy and terrorism”, said Zoya Uzair, a lead actress of the Lahore based theatre group, who is also doing her graduation in film and television.

Zoya, who is in her early twenties, has already done a music video titled ‘Hansti-Basti” as a member of musical bands ‘The others’, in which she sung for humanity, against militancy.

“Now many theatres and films that dealt strong against militancy like- Hotel Mohenjo Daro, War are coming up. This situation could not be expected a few years ago. The reason is that all, except those violent handfuls, have understood that embarrassments for Pakistanis across the globe should have a limitation. They have now understood that the politicians are now playing a double role. For their vibrant role in building up public opinion, members of theatre groups like ‘Azoka’ have been threatened”, said Sultan.

The theatre groups are also presently working for empowerment of women, to provide them voice.

“The civil society of Pakistan never ignores the role of women. We often organize workshops in rural areas and in town about the role of women in building a society. At present we are also working with ‘Tehrik-i-Niswan’, a women empowerment group to educate people”, added Zoya.

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