Stories about theatre

Remembering those in Kashmir who exist but are missing

For hundreds of Kashmiri families whose relatives – mostly sons or husbands – have been subjected to custodial disappearances, the struggle for justice is, in many ways, a battle between memory and forgetfulness. They insist they won’t give up their fight; they won’t forget; and they won’t forgive. Among many other serious crimes committed against humanity in disputed Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian government forces are also accused of subjecting between 8,000 to 10,000 Kashmiris to enforced custodial disappearance since the eruption of popular armed uprising against Indian rule in restive Himalayan region in 1989. During a press conference in 2008, the state government led by ...

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Guardians of the Galaxy will exceed all your expectations

I went to watch this movie with little expectation, quite frankly. I was dragged into the movie theatre with reassurances from my friends that this was the “movie of the summer”. I quickly took out my phone and Googled the movie, cringing at the prospect of sitting stationery for two hours. I tried my best to come up with a believable excuse to get out of it but all efforts proved futile. One thing was for sure: a movie featuring Dave Batista and Vin Diesel would undoubtedly be a train wreck. Chris Pratt, for me, was going to be this film’s ...

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Humans have no place in the ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

“All hail Caesar” Taking place around 10 years after the memorable events of its predecessor movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes shows a world where humans have been all but wiped out by the simian virus. Caesar, who we last saw leading his band of apes into the forest, is now the leader of a much larger and intelligent troupe of apes. They live in relative peace until a group of humans stumble upon their territory causing a cataclysmic sequence of events that result in an all out war between the two species. The fact of the matter is that the apes were, ...

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Haaf Playt: 90 minutes of rib-tickling laughter

I would choose to watch a good theatre play over a movie any day. The choice becomes even easier when the play happens to be Anwar Maqsood’s. His plays are simply a treat to watch, especially after a long shift at work. I became familiar with theatre in Karachi when I started working for a TV channel and got my hands on free passes for a musical. And boy, was I glad that I did. The venue turned out to be incredibly crowded and I could only find a place to sit on the stairs, which I ever-so-happily accepted. By ...

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Concerts in Karachi: Bring back fun to this city!

I was at a Strings concert a few days ago. It was one of those fancy sit down affairs, with hideous white sofas and people taking selfies of each other to upload on social media. Bilal Maqsood began singing “mera bichra yaar” and the LCD screens behind him played a very old video from the 1990s. It was then that it hit me. Suddenly I wasn’t nodding and smiling politely to the music, but in a half built amphitheatre, I was screaming as the crème de la crème of the urban rock phenomena in Pakistan belted out their numbers. Coming up… ...

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Aangan Terrha: The theatre lover’s fix of nostalgia and entertainment

The chance to watch the most awaited play in the theatrical history of Karachi came to me by the sheer luck of getting some free passes, as Rs1500 for a ticket seemed too steep a price. I was greeted by an excited crowd that had gathered even before the gates opened. There was palpable excitement in the air. Everyone was hoping for a worthy show that could make them relive their old memories. Being a die-hard fan of Aangan Terrha and having almost rote-learned the entire show – thanks to the presence of old DVDs in the house – I was sceptical about whether my expectations ...

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The man on a black horse: Supporting theatre in Pakistan

To the neighsayers (warning: some awful horse puns) who claim that Pakistani plays can’t stay the course, I give you The Man on a Black Horse.  Running at T2F, formerly known as The Second Floor, in Karachi, Pakistan, The Man on a Black Horse is a highly energetic piece of theatre which accomplishes what few other live performances in Pakistan have: it doesn’t suck. Written and directed by Rouvan Mahmud and Ali Junejo (the duo are also two of the three performers in the play), the performance tells the tale of two soldiers, Sal (Rouvan) and Rumi (Ali). These characters, through the memories of an enigmatic woman they ...

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Lovengers: A colourful albeit unimpressive musical comedy

From the men who gave the theatres a full house with “Le Cages Aux Folle“, “Run For Your Wife” and “Chicago” comes an entertaining play packed with a spectrum of tangible emotions. Staged at the Arts Council Karachi from the September 7 to 24, “Lovengers” is LUSH’s first Urdu play. “Lovengers” is produced by the renowned duo Usama Qazi and Shahzad Qureshi, sponsored by JS Bank and co-sponsored by Tapal Danedar, EFU Life, Alkaram Studio and National Fruitily. With reputations preceding these names, the bar is set very high and “Lovengers” just makes the leap with wonderful music and dance ...

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Revolution, Bhagat Singh style

A man admitted today to being taken entirely by surprise two days ago. He had bought the ticket for a theatre performance at Alhamra but on entering the darkened hall, found it resonating with chants for revolution. He says he paused and then reluctantly exited the hall, only to be assured by a bystander that the activity at the hall was not political and that it was indeed a theatre performance. The play is about Bhagat Singh and the slogan now belongs to history though contemporary politics may have no use for it. The times we are talking about were ...

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Khamosh Kalam: The psychology of a writer

Khamosh Kalam, a production of Laaltain – the IVS performing arts society – won the blue ribbon at the Youth Theatre Festival arranged by the Youth Affairs Ministry in collaboration with the Arts Council. The play is a mime that deals with the creative struggle of a writer as he crafts the perfect anecdote. I spoke with the scriptwriters and directors, Zehra Nawab (Foundation year student, IVS) and Arsal Hasan (Second year student, IVS) who discuss the challenges of theatre art in Pakistan. How did the idea for Khamosh Kalam come about? Khamosh Kalam was derived from a question that ...

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