NAPA presents biography of Manto in 80-minute stage play Mantorama
* Writer Khurrum Ali Shafiq beautifully jotted downs story of Manto’s life immaculately turned into play by Shankar
KARACHI: The biography of Saadat Hussain Manto, a well-known fiction writer was recently displayed in an 80-minute stage play ‘Mantorama’ by the students and alumni members of the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) at the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi recently.
The play was written by Khurrum Ali Shafiq and directed by the alma mater of NAPA, Sunil Shankar. The writer beautifully jotted downs the story of Manto’s life, which was immaculately turned into a stage play by Shankar.
Shafiq wrote about Manto’s writing, life, and imagination. He included in his play, the way Manto lived his life and the tragedies he faced when people declared his novels vulgar, ultimately dragging him in the court of law.
Shafiq attempted at realising Manto’s world of ingenious imagination on stage. The performance was a confluence of Manto’s life and his writings and included various biographical incidents, which had a significant impact on his course of life. Manto’s leaving his birthplace, his life after marriage, lawsuits and migration to Pakistan is a few glimpses that Mantorama brought forth.
The play also explores some of his famous short stories including ‘Hatak’ (Insult) and ‘Thanda Gosht’ (Cold Meat). Characters from the various short stories deftly interact with the author to question and debate Manto’s craft as a writer.
Mantorama’s Director Sunil Shanker holds a NAPA diploma with acting as his major. This is his first directorial venture for the NAPA Repertory Theatre (NRT). His most recent work includes EQUUS, directed for the NAPA Performing Arts Festival 2012. This play received much critical acclaim. He has acted in several plays produced by the NRT with ‘Nek Parveen’ and ‘Sufaid Khoon’ being the most prominent.
Mantorama’s cast included Ishtiaq Omar as Manto, Rauf Afridi as Ishar Singh, Zain Nazar as Hindustan, Raheel Ahmed as Madhav, Muzaina Malik as Saugandhi, Anoushka as Wazir and Afreen Seher as Safia.
Shankar also set up a live orchestra to enhance the dramatic theme of the play. The music composition was original and tried to convey Manto’s temperament during different life stages. The orchestra merged Mirza Ghalib’s poetry with classical music to evoke a sense of reminiscence.
Ahsan Bari was the composer for Mantorama’s music, Gul Mohammad played sarangi, Zeeshan Parvez was the bassist for the play, Alan Simon played tabla while Sara Haider served as the vocalist.