LAHORE: Theatre patrons in Lahore will be spoilt for choice during the upcoming holiday, as 10 new theatre productions will be staged in the city.
Only two Punjabi Pakistani films are releasing on Eid, leaving film buffs with a very limited choice.
Commercial Theatre Produ-cers Association Chairman Chaudhry Zulfiqar said that the theatre business slows down a week before Eid as people get busy with shopping and Eid preparation but almost all commercial theatres in Lahore will run double shows during the Eid holidays. “We are hoping that theatres will have excellent business this Eid, since commercial theatres are pulling in huge crowds,” Zulfiqar said.
Alfalah Theatre has cast Sakhawat Naz and is hoping to feature Nargis in its play which has an estimated cost of Rs1.8 million. Mehfil Theatre’s play is costing Rs4 million to make and is starring a number of famous actors including Amanat Chan, Nasir Chinoti, Zafri Khan, Tariq Tedi, Khushbu, Shaheen and Megha. Naz Theatre will feature Nida Chaudhry, Anjuman Shehzadi, Zara Akbar and Sajin Abbas. Tamaseel Theatre has cast Ayesha Chaudary and Sonu Lal, while Payal and Akram Udas will perform at Alhamra. The estimated cost of the rest of the plays at the Cultural Complex and Badia Road Theatre is Rs1.5 million collectively. Missing from this list are theatre artists Iftikhar Thakur, Saima Khan, Deedar and Jawad Waseem as they have gone to perform Hajj.
The script of every play has been finalised, however only one play has been approved by the censor committee as yet. Zulfiqar said that the censor committee would continue to watch performances on Tuesday, adding that the committee could clear a play just one day before it is scheduled to be performed.
When asked whether the absence of new Indian movies would encourage more people to visit theatres, he replied, “A theatre audience is different from a film audience. A film ticket costs Rs450 at most but a theatre ticket can cost up to Rs3,000. But it is possible that film goers will come to theatres to experience something new and to be entertained.”
As far as films are concerned, the shooting for Masood Butt’s film Numberdarni starring Shaan, Saud, Meera and Nargis is complete, however the film is in Punjabi and will only be screened in selective cinemas.
Pervaiz Rana’s Ilyasa Gujjar, which features Saima and Shaan in the lead roles, will also be screened in certain cinemas. A film exhibitor said that the Indian film Guzaarish is expected to be released on Eid in Pakistan however, this still seems unlikely as thus far no Indian movie has been released in Pakistan before its release in India.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2010.