Manto Festival lacks festive mood
LAHORE: The four-day Manto Festival organised by the Lahore Arts Council began at the Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall, here on Monday, but without having any festive feel about it.
Though the event has been labelled as ‘festival’ on prolific writer Saddat Husain Manto, the council seems to have completely ignored the ‘festive’ element as far as the venue is concerned. There are neither any illuminations nor life-size portraits of Manto or some other embellishments at the venue.
Despite such lackluster arrangements, the non-ticketed event succeeded in attracting on its inaugural day a good number of audience comprising theatre lovers, participating groups, artistes and students from different institutions.
The inaugural play of the festival was by Maas Production, a group of artistes evolved out of Alhamra Academy of Performing Arts in 2003. The decade-old theatre group staged their new play ‘Ye Tha Manto’.
Directed by Amir Nawaz and written by Arshad Chuhal, a PTV script editor from Islamabad, the play was 17th production by the group.
The 75-minute play comprised dramatisation of two short stories of Manto — Khol Do and Hattak. The production also discussed the controversies Manto faced in his life and also tried to give Manto’s point of view on these issues.
As far as acting and overall quality of the play was concerned it was average. Aamir Ali, who played Saadat Hassan Manto on the stage, could hardly be heard at the back rows. The set was experimental, the light effects were good. On the whole, it was a good effort.
According to Madeeha Gauhar, the moving spirit behind Ajoka, the theatre team should have done more effort on the play.
Azad Theatre director Malik Aslam termed the play a good effort and said that artistes had tried to come up to the expiations of the audience.
Aamir Nawaz, the creative director of the play, told Dawn that most of the artistes were trained under the supervision of late CM Munir, a known name in the Pakistani stage circles. Munir took their acting classes at Alhamra Academy of Arts. He said since it was going to complete its 10 years in December, the Maas Theatre would pay a tribute to C M Munir on the occasion by staging a play in his memory.
On Wednesday (today), Azad Theatre will stage ‘Dafa 292’ at the same venue and at 7pm.