Enlightenment and emancipation of women was the theme of students’ performances at the Ghalum Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Science and Technology’s (GIKI) performing arts festival.
With students from universities all over the country participating, the three-day event concluded with a play by the students of Rawalpindi Medical College. Their performance, titled “Ugly Truth”, depicted the harsh realities that women face as mothers, sisters, daughters and wives, in our relentlessly chauvinistic society.
The play revolved around a family in which the father’s attitude towards his daughter and son is contrasting: he is sympathetic towards his son and apathetic towards his daughter. The story takes a turn after a detested landlord of their village proposes to marry his daughter, an offer that the father is inclined to accept but his wife opposes given the landlord’s tarnished reputation. The wife’s ‘audacity’ to question his husband’s decision leads the story to unravel, and in the ensuing tensions, the husband ends up murdering his wife.
But not all plays were serious in GIKI’s 14th All Pakistan Performing Arts Festival. In the preceding days, students from different universities from across the country staged dance and drama performances, of which some were quite colourful and even humorous.
“Our goal is to keep students engaged in creative endeavours, and this event was one healthy outlet,” said, Dr Junaid Mughal, the head of student affairs department at GIKI.
Bahauddin Zakriya University (BZU) Multan’s play director, Zain Baloch, said it was quite refreshing to see so many students from across the country performing at one platform. He said the event helped students identify issues being faced in their part of the country.
Teams that performed the best in the lot were awarded prizes, which were distributed by the judges, TV actor Adil Hashmi and actress Shahnaz Sheikh.
Award for the best play was given to students of Institute of Space Technology, in addition to the best director and best technical play award. Award for the best script was given to students of BZU Multan for Global Village, while students of Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture clinched best actor and best actress awards. The National University of Science and Technology’s Business School received award for the best dance; Indus Valley School Karachi for best humorous play; Preston University for best costumes; Beaconhouse National University for best timing in their play “Ajab Khel”; while Islamic International University received the award for best special effects.
“Art is an important part of life, however, it has been relegated to a lower status in Pakistan,” said Hashmi, who was also the chief guest at the event. Actress Sheikh praised the students but advised them to be clear in their expressions on stage and to “see their own performances from the audiences’ eye”.
The event was organised by GIKI’s Cultural, Dramatics and Entertainment Society.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.
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