Bullah re-enactment enthralls Karachiites -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Bullah re-enactment enthralls Karachiites

Karachi: Ajoka Theatre reenacted another popular play ‘Bullah’ on Tuesday evening at the Arts Council’s auditorium as part of its silver jubilee celebrations.

First performed in 2001, the play was staged in Karachi as part of Musafat Theatre Festival’s Karachi edition, while the festival is intending to travel to Indian city of Amritsar in its last leg of celebrations later this month.

Introducing the play Bullah to the audience, Madeeha Gohar, the director of the play, said this eight-year-old play featuring life of the mystic poet Bulleh Shah has been a popular play of Ajoka across the border. “We are staging this play for the second time in Karachi as part of Ajoka’s retrospective journey of 25 years.” Dubbed as a strong plea for love and peace, and an indictment against intolerance, violence and hatred, the play was broadly based on the events of Bulleh Shah’s life. “It’s a tribute to the great mystic, communicated through his poetry, historical records and popular myths,” says Gohar. “Content of the play is still as relevant as it was ever before.”

And certainly the play turned out to be crossing the length of a feature film engaged the audience to its end. As the director mentioned the play mainly focused the biographic but yet very dramatic episodes of Bulleh Shah’s life also offered points to ponder for everybody with regard to present-day Pakistan. “It’s a 300 centuries old tale but still valid and relevant to life today.”

The writer Shahid Nadeem employed his poetic license to another effect while presenting two different strategies to confront the tyranny of the rulers. Historically inaccurate but the fictional meeting of the two Punjabi icons Bulleh Shah and Banda Singh Bahadur, a Sikh warrior who stood against the Mughals, highlighted two different but contemporary world views.

Starting off with the mystic poet Abdullah Shah Qadri better known as Bulleh Shah’s death and the controversy surrounding his burial, the play unfolded the life and time of the 16th century Syed, who became disciple of Shah Inayat Qadri, an eminent saint who happened to be an Arain.

Well-punctuated with Bulleh Shah’s poetry, the play, written by Shahid Nadeem, was a virtual flawless performance by the visiting theatre troupe, on the fourth day of the festival, which will also feature Hotel Moenjodaro and Burqavaganza. “We need to have such indigenous theatrical performances in Karachi,” admired a City District Government Karachi (CDGK) official.

The performance of each cast member was superb but seeing renowned TV artist Asim Bukhari playing Inayat Shah Qadri was a delight. The actor, whose name could not be immediately confirmed, played Bulleh Shah remarkably well while raising his vocals time and again to recite his verses in a very profound oral tradition of Punjabi folk poetry.

Besides adding Bulleh Shah’s poetry to the prose of the play, the idea of perpetuating the story with the help of two narrators also found to be effective to break otherwise the monotony of the dialogues.

While some theatre enthusiasts struggled to understand phrases in Punjabi, others could not help slipping into the fantasy of seeing the play in Lahore rather than in Karachi’s so-called cultural precinct.
Source: The News
Date:6/4/2009