The National Drama Festival 2011 concluded on Thursday with the presentation of a play focusing on a how a manipulative man gets his comeuppance.
“Khwab Biktay Nahin” (dreams are priceless), written by Farheen Chaudhry and directed by Muhammad Sabir Khan, tells the story of a selfish man who make use of others for personal gains by all available means and distorts the face of society.
It was a story of girl Jantay played by Shagufta who was given in marriage to a drug addict in Rs5000 by her father. Jantay’s husband used her body for earning money, hurting her soul that yearned for love. The helpless Jantay falls in love with her young master at the house where she works. In the climax of the play, Jantay decides to act by her own for the first time in her life and spends a chilly night outside the room of her ill beloved who is ignorant of her feelings. The play raised questioned the social taboos attached to girls’ marriages in certain nomad or other families from less developed areas.
The 18-day festival featured 22 stage plays performed by experienced theatre groups from all around the country including Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Skardu, Muzzafarabad, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
The festival commenced on December 12, presenting at least one new play every day before packed houses, with overall attendance passing the 20,000 mark, as youngsters, students and families all poured in to witness performances highlighting various social issues in Pakistan.
The plays, selected by a committee out of a large number of scripts, discussed various socio-political issues and presented diverse subjects depicting folk and traditional values of the society, among them some very serious and sensitive issues that were addressed through satire.
From romantic love stories and satirical comedies to stories of social problems, atrocities against women and the weak, and prevailing societal hypocrisy and insensitivity towards common morality were portrayed through these plays.
Actors, writers, singers and dancers from all corners of the country, representing a kaleidoscope of different cultures gathered at the festival hosted by the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).
“The festival was an attempt to revive the old tradition of serious theatre in the region besides establishing a lively culture in the capital city,” said the festival’s chief coordinator PNCA Director Hassan Abbas Raza.
The artists did not just amuse people in the sleepy capital, but sent across messages that would have left an indelible imprint on many minds, he said.
Raza added that the PNCA will hold another Comedy Drama Festival in March 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2011.