Bali Jatti, the first women to own a travelling stage theatre in Punjab, did not allow her daughter to join her profession. She knew of the stigmas that marred it.
Women have and play a vital role in the success of theatre, in taking entertainment to the people, yet they are not given their due credit, said author Dr Fouzia Saeed at the launch of her book “Forgotten Faces: Daring woman of Pakistan Folk Theatre”. Her book is focused on the life of Jatti, a renowned theatre actress who spent her life promoting Punjabi folk theatre. But as the author dwells deeper into Jatti’s life, she reveals a story not of fame and fortune but of tragedies and violence.
Speaking at the ceremony, Abida, Jatti’s daughter, said she is proud that someone in her country wrote a book on her mother, who played a constitutive role in showbiz. She said her mother made her name at a time when there was no media.
National Heritage and Integration Federal Secretary Faridullah Khan, veteran actor and the wife of renowned singer Inayat Hussain Bhatti, Naznin Mano, along with a number of intellectuals and civil society members attended the book launch held at Lok Virsa.
Dr Saeed, who is a PhD from the University of Minnesota, said she started research on Pakistan’s folk theatre in 1980 and has observed women “perform daringly in theatre”. She said that entertainment and creativity arts are closed to women.
Fatima Jinnah Women University’s Head of Communication Department Dr Shamim Zaidi said the book takes the reader “onto a journey hand-in-hand with the author.
The book is a collage of our artists, our culture and traditions. It paints the picture of the world of these artists inwards.”
Abbas Jutt, son of the famous folk singer Ashiq Butt, and Samia Akhtar, the grand daughter of Bali Jatti enthralled the audience by singing a few famous folk songs.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2011.