Lahore (Qasim Ali)
The Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture ( PILAC) launched prominent playwright Shahid Nadeem’s book “Baghi Dramay” on 9 February. Eminent artist Dr Ajaz Anwar presided the book launch event held at PILAC’s Punjab Auditorium. Speakers included PILAC Director General and well-known poet Dr Sughra Sadaf, noted Punjabi Scholar Iqbal Qaiser, leading publisher and activist Farrukh Sohail Goindi, Ajoka General Secretary Sohail Warraich, popular theatre and TV actor Tahira Imam and Director Ajoka Institute Nirvaan Nadeem.
The book includes Shahid Nadeem’s acclaimed play on Bhagat Singh, “Mera Rang Day Basanti Chola”; an experimental play on the Bhatta kiln workers “Itt”; a play on honour killings, “Kari”; a play about the cultural rights of women “Chal Melay Noo Chaliay” and “ Marya Hoya Kutta”, Nadeem’s first play.
The event started with Ajoka singers presentation of songs from the Bhagat Singh play. Sohail Warraich spoke about Nadeem’s development as a socially committed playwright and his contribution as an in- house playwright for Ajoka.
Iqbal Qaiser, in his paper, evaluated the plays included in the book and stated that Shahid Nadeem’s an outstanding Punjabi playwright who is admired for his forward-looking ideas and innovative techniques. Actress Tahira Imam, who has played major roles in several plays included in the book, told the audience how Nadeem’s plays had inspired actors in developing their talent and their social awareness. Farrukh Sohail Goindi spoke about Nadeem’s political radicalism and bold themes of his plays. He particularly referred to the play on Bhagat Singh and the way it was linked to contemporary times and new Bhagat Singhs. Actor-trainer Nirvaan Nadeem, who had played major leading roles in his father’s plays including the role of Bhagat Singh, said theatre is a great art form to entertain and educate the audience.
Dr Sughra Sadaf said PILAC said privileged to publish Nadeem’s acclaimed Punjabi plays so that the message of hope and enlightenment is widely spread and inspire the younger generation.
Extracts from Indian Punjabi theatre personality, Kewal Dhaliwal, was read out by Punjabi poetess Sofia Bedar. Dhaliwal said that Shahid Nadeem plays are performed all over India and several of his plays are included in the syllabi of universities. He said that Nadeem is regarded at par with leading Indian playwrights such as Badal Sircar, Girish Karnak, Mahesh Elkenchwar and Gursharan Singh.
Veteran journalist Sarwar Sukhera, poetess Sarwat Mohyuddin, Ajoka actors actors Naseem Abbas and Usman Zia also congratulated Shahid Nadeem and PILAC on the launching of the book. At the end of the event Shahid Nadeem signed copies of the book.
Shahid Nadeem in his remarks talked about the meaning of “Baghi” which related to challenging the ideological and political establishment of the time and breaking out from the walls of control and indoctrinations. Dr Ajaz Anwar, in his presidential remarks, paid tribute to Nadeem’s defiance through theatre and activism.
A book launch of Shahid Nadeem’s book of Urdu plays “Hum Dekhain Gae” will be held as part of the Pakistan Literature Festival, in Alhamra Hall 3 on Sunday 12 February at 4 pm.