Sunday October 01, 2023

Saadat Hasan Manto paid tribute in ‘Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh’

By News Desk
September 20, 2023

The Pakistan Theatre Festival continues in full swing at the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP), Karachi. On the 12th day of the festival, Lahore’s Ajoka Theatre Group presented the play ‘Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh’ in Urdu.

The play has been written and directed by Shahid Nadeem. Its cast includes Usman Raj, M Qaiser, Usman Zia, Kamran Mujahid, Bilal Mughal, Shahzad Sadiq, Rizwan Riaz, Hafia Mudassir, Usman Chaudhry and Uzma Hasan.

The play ‘Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh’, written by Nadeem and directed by Madiha Gauhar, was first produced in 2012 on the occasion of Saadat Hasan Manto’s 100th birthday.

The play focuses on Manto’s life and work after his migration to Pakistan in 1948. He had migrated after being disheartened due to family pressure as well as the Hindu-Muslim tensions in Bombay, which had adversely affected the environment of Bombay’s film industry.

The play begins with Manto’s journey from India to Pakistan. His impressions of the horrific communal riots are reflected in his various writings on Partition.

The play covers his stories ‘Khuda Ki Qasam’, ‘Khol Dou’, ‘Kal Saweray Jo Aankh Meri Khuli’, ‘Licence’, ‘Uncle Sam Ko Khat’, ‘Thanda Gosht’ and ‘Toba’. It ends with Majeed Amjad’s powerful poetic tribute to Manto titled ‘Kaun Hai Yeh Gustaakh’.

On the occasion, ACP Karachi President Muhammad Ahmed Shah said: “We’re presenting a tribute to our people, trying to include the greats. Today’s play is the result of Shahid Nadeem’s tireless work. Out of Pakistan and throughout his life he worked closely with his team. These are our real heroes.”

In recognition of his services, Nadeem was presented with a shield and flowers by the ACP. He said: “Ahmed Shah is a cultural magician, creating such opportunities that the development of the arts is possible.”

Nadeem said the play covers Manto’s life. “He was our role model. Cases were brought against him. He had to bear the hardships of imprisonment. He’s an inspiration for us. This play is a tribute to Manto, a great storyteller.”