Unsung heroes : The human side of Siachen

Anwar Maqsood’s play about struggle of soldiers at world’s highest battlefield to be staged in Islamabad


Our Correspondent October 27, 2015
The play will be staged daily at PNCA from October 30 till November 21. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Siachen — the world’s highest battlefield — is often discussed in terms of the achievements of majors, brigadiers, colonels and generals but the struggle of the rank-and-file are most often ignored. “This play highlights their struggle. This play is their story”, said Anwar Maqsood at a press conference held by the play’s organisers at the Marriott Hotel here on Tuesday.

He further said that he had longstanding affection for soldiers and writing a play on them was difficult. “I thank the ISPR for taking the entire cast to Siachen so they could truly understand how hard life is over there,” he added.

On the theme of the play, Maqsood said Siachen is a story about soldiers who lie and leave their homes — they lie that they will return for Eid, family weddings, children’s birthdays, and death anniversaries. “Their families wait for them but they don’t come back. This has been happening for years and we are still uncertain how long this trend will continue and the play will focus on this particular theme,” he said.

He thanked the ISPR for the training, costumes, and arms for the actors, and Mobilink for sponsoring the play. “This play is about happiness, sadness and love and I truly hope you all enjoy it”, he said.

Maqsood also revealed a rather unique aspect that in order to truly give the feel of Siachen, the temperature of the hall is going to be kept low, so attendees were requested to wear warm clothes.

Mobilink Deputy CEO Amir Ibrahim said that it is a pleasure for Mobilink to be a part of something that not only preserves and promotes Pakistani art, culture and theatre, but is also led by Anwar Maqsood.

“Directing this play was different because we tried quite a few techniques. A rather interesting aspect was that the entire cast was under house arrest in a house for four months. These young artists were not given access to mobile phones, Facebook or even cigarettes, which was quite a challenge. The cast was also sent to Siachen, where they lived in igloos for two weeks. That is definitely going to reflect in their acting,” said Dawar Mehmood the director of the play.

The play is going to be staged in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Peshawar and Faisalabad in Pakistan, and in Dubai, UAE and London, UK.

The opening of the play was postponed for two days due to the earthquake on Monday. It will now be staged daily at Pakistan National Council of Arts from October 30 till November 21.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.

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