LAHORE: The young student of Ajoka Institute’s Art of Acting and Art of Writing courses showcased their talent on Thursday evening through a dramatic performance of Shahid Nadeem’s acclaimed evergreen play Jhalli Kithay Jaway. The play – staged at the Punjab Institute of Language Art and Culture (PILAC) – was directed by Nirvaan Nadeem, son of the late Ajoka Theatre founder Madeeha Gohar and is a multi-layered commentary on the social pressures and oppression faced by women in Pakistan.
Jhalli Kithay Jaway follows a young bride named Jhalli whose husband moves to Dubai immediately after their wedding. Later on, he is unable to return as his family keeps asking him to send more and more of his income back home. No one else from the family helps out financially and what’s more, they never accept Jhalli as their own, making her hysterical. Eventually, her mental health worsens to the extent that her in-laws brand her as being possessed by evil spirits.
In an attempt to cure Jhalli, her own family – who are not as affluent as her in-laws – take her from one spiritual healer too another. She is treated by a maulvi, a pir, a hakeem, an exorcist and finally, by psychiatrists but to no avail as all of them are frauds, ignorant or too expensive.
Jhalli Kithay Jaway was narrated by two people in a traditional style. The story was depicted via dance, music and dialogues in verse forms. After the performance, vice chancellor GCU Professor Dr Hassan Amir Shah – who was the chief guest of the evening – distributed certificates to all the acting and writing students. Dr Sugra Sadaf from PILAC was also present, and praised and the youngsters for their talent and efforts.
But Jhalli Kithay Jaway wasn’t the only thing the students presented on Thursday night. Before the play, the writing class revealed three original scripts that they have developed during the course, under Shahid’s guidance. The first was a play called Daku which offered a humourous take on Pakistani politics and working patterns in electronic media.
The second script – titled Talafi – followed a man who desperately wanted to get rid from his past mistakes. The last one was called Imran Per Kiya Beeti – a sensitive story about child sexual abuse and the role society plays in it.
Nirvaan, the trainer of the Acting Class, thanked the audience for coming out to watch and encouraging the young students. In his speech, he emphasised that there is a dire need to promote local cultural and art education across Pakistan as he believes it can transform people into better versions of themselves. He added that theatre is a higher form of acting in comparison to any other medium and reiterated how developed societies have been putting up plays and indulging in the performing arts for centuries.
“Ajoka is committed to spreading social awareness through theatre and supporting upcoming talent. We will continue this mission with the same spirit and dedication,” Nirvaan said.
Edited by Haddiqua Siddiqui
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