Hyderabad, August, 2019 : The playIsmat aur Manto ki Chuhalbaaziyaan, staged as a joint collaboration of Roadwayz & Kahaniwala, at La makaan, today, was a super hit with an overwhelming response from the large audience, who enjoyed it to the hilt.Despite being serious and revolutionary writers of their times, the play portrayed how they would have shared lighter moments, which was the essence of the show. Capt SN Ahmed enacted the role of Manto and Seema Khan played the role ofIsmat, in the play.
Capt Ahmed as Manto, of Hyderabad, made a mark by portraying the character and bringing it to life. He performed with utter ease and looked as if he has drenched himself in Manto’s soul, with the audience seeing Manto in flesh and blood and not Capt Ahmed. His dialog delivery in Urdu and effective use of available stage space, only demonstrated how well he imbibed the character on the stage.
On the other hand, Seema Khan as Ismat Chugtai made a perfect match for the character, with the way she was styled, her conversations, her teasing dialogues and reactions were highly impressive. In fact, eminent writer & theater personality, Aslam Farshori, was utterly spellbound by her performance and said, I got reminded of Ismat Chughtai as I had met her in person as a child and observed her from close quarters.
The 50 minute play, Ismat aur Manto ki CHUHALBAAZIYAAN was conceptualized & researched by Suhas Bhatnagar,he brought life into each of the characters and ensured their appeal to the audience. As both the actors were involved in writing too, the delivery was seamless. Excerpts from original writings were in complex Urdu, but both the actors made it sound simple. The audience, who was majorly non Urdu speaking, found few words tough to comprehend, but were so involved, that they understood the whole crux with the enactments.
The collaborators of the play, Roadwayz is a theatre group, started by Capt Ahmed, focused on Street Plays. The group has performed shows at several corporates and an international NGO event, on themes related to social issues to sensitize the audience. Kahaniwala is a group initiated by Suhas Bhatnagar and focuses on poetry in theater. Draupadi, Arundhati, mere Qirdar are few of the previous plays they have done.
The show celebrated the writer Ismat Chughtai, who is an epitome of women empowerment in literary writing, the Grand Doyenne of Urdu fiction and the woman icon who fought for the Freedom of Speech. Chughtai is considered as, one of the four pillars of modern Urdu short story. She also remained an important literary voice almost until her last days. Her work fits into no pre-conceived. Her bold protagonists stood out from the ordinary, her outspoken approach jolted regressive minds, her rebellious themes raised many eyebrows and all of her writings reflected these complexities in lengths. Chughtai established herself as a significant woman literary voice in 20th century and was awarded with the Padma Shri in 1976.