No one can live without love. Love is the most powerful emotion a human being can experience. It’s different for everyone but the absence of it takes away all the colours of life. One may even say that ‘all the sorrows in one’s life are due to the absence of love.’ Love is the strength that makes us go on in life. While this view may be biased, there are many love stories written in Urdu literature that mirror this sentiment and remain a classic to this day.
Urdu literature has a history that is inextricably tied to the development of the language. It is mostly dominated by poetry, especially the verse forms of the ghazal and nazm. Overtime, it has expanded into other styles of writing, including that of the short story, novels and even plays. It is unfortunate that the younger generation is not well-acquainted to the literary treasures of the language and largely remains unaware of its importance. So, bringing a gem such as ‘Heer Ranjha’ to the theatre stage is a small step towards rekindling people’s interest in classic Urdu literature.
Recently, the famous love story of ‘Heer Ranjha’, originally written by Waris Shah, had this time been adapted and written by Zarqa Naz. It was based on the script by Kaifi Azmi, who had renamed the story for enactment as ‘Daastan-e-Ishq’ and produced by the Green Eye Production, which is an entertainment house for theatre, films and TV that primarily aims to promote theatrical culture. Directed by Zarqa Naz, the play took the audience on a historical journey to Punjab. The cast that gave an exceptional performance included Umair Rafiq as Ranjha, Sabiha Zia as Heer, and the antagonist Sameer Hussain as Qaido; the narration was done by by Akbar Ladhani as Raavi.
‘Daastan-e-Ishq’ was flavoured with our traditions, live music and depicted the popular folklore surrounding Heer and Ranjha. The two strangers from warring villages, who meet at a wedding, fall in love at first sight. Love blooms, but then tragedy awaits them in the form of an evil uncle Qaido, who is determined to thwart their romance. The adaptation follows a tragic folklore that will tug at your heart strings.
The play was well-received by the stars, media representatives and socialites attending the premiere with rave comments about the stellar performance given by the actors, the tight-knit plot and the storyline based on the popular tragic events of Heer Ranjha. They also felt that its brilliant music and strong narration added to the charm of the play.
Speaking on this occasion, Umair Rafiq of Green Eye Production said, ‘I want to make my country proud by becoming a trend-setter and promoting our traditions, content, culture, and its people, not just within the country, but abroad as well.’
It should be noted that ‘Daastan-e-Ishq’ had been previously performed for the British High Commission in a private show and had received much appreciation and applause. Owing to this,the organisers decided to offer it commercially for larger audiences and perform the play for public for ten consecutive nights.