A delightful evening of storytelling was held at T2F, on Friday, March 25. The event presented readings from some of writer Ismat Chughtai’s works like Ghoonghat and Bachhoo Phuppi.
‘Ismat Chughtai Kay Saath Aik Shaam — Dramatic Readings’ was the title of the event for which the entire ground floor of T2F cafe was packed with people interested in literature. The evening started with the reading of a few passages of Saadat Hasan Manto’s work in which he praised Chughtai.
The audiences could be seen enjoying the prose such that even a little witty remark did not go unnoticed. Reading the passages were theatre artistes Mahvash Faruqi, Asma Mundrawala and Saife Hasan, all three belonging to the NGO Tehrik-i-Niswan.
Sharing the details with The Express Tribune, Hasan said: “It was a literary evening in which we wanted people, especially the younger lot, to know about Ismat Chughtai. Hence, we held a reading session in this regard. We read a few passages from Manto’s writings highlighting Ismat’s work and personality.”
Mundrawala, who directed the project, expressed the need to spread awareness about Chughtai’s works. “I think it is the admiration we all have towards her work. We have all read her extensively and enjoy her language, wit, humour and sensitivity,” she said.
But why not a theatrical performance to commemorate the writer? Mundrawala said: “This is a certain genre that interested us and has its own challenges. There [was] a level of dramatic element in the readings as well.” Adding to the answer, Hasan said: “Earlier we have performed her plays, this was a reading session and storytelling was the basic idea.”
As members of Tehrik-i-Niswan, Mundrawala and Hasan have previously performed Chughtai’s work on stage.
Spotted at the event was the noted literary critic Asif Farrukhi who said: “The way they presented Ismat Chughtai’s work, which is known for its language, flavour and dialogue, was masterful. The quality of language Ismat Chughtai has used carries a distinct flavour.” Farrukhi further said, “Both these writers, Ismat Chughtai and Manto, have ‘undeservedly been neglected’ and this evening, they deserve to be celebrated even more.”
Another person who celebrates art and performers, and was present in the crowd was the founding member and board member of T2F, Zaheer Kidvai, who said: “Chughtai wrote purely about her life and times, and Manto about the outside world, as he saw it. This was a beautiful rendition of their works by the storytellers.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2011.