‘Sultan-e-Hind’ ends with blame game


Hitches and glitches during the Urdu stage play ‘Sultan-e-Hind’, presented by ‘Aaina Theatre Group’ Islamabad at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) auditorium, remained dominant that continued to annoy the packed audience when the multimedia failed to work, while the performers kept on forgetting their dialogues and acts.
The producer of the play, Kashif Akash, however accused the PNCA management being responsible for all the troubles, saying his team was not provided sufficient time to rehearse the play. “The scheduled time for the start of play is 7:00 pm, while Aaina Theatre Team was allowed rehearsal at 6:30 pm that caused these anomalies. We tried to fix it, but it could not be tackled in a live show,” he said.
The producer requested PNCA administration to provide ample time for productions team to avoid such glitches in remaining plays included in the ‘National Drama Festival-2011’. With the tears in his eyes, the young producer apologised on the stage in front of capacity crowd in the hall and said, “I on behalf of all members of ‘Aaina Theatre Group’ beg apology because of the fact the stage play was based on the life and teaching of ‘Sultan-ul-Hind’ – Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri – who was the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishtia Order in the Subcontinent and this presentation was unable to do justice to portray the contribution of this spiritual icon,” he said.
As soon as he finished off sharing these emotional comments, Hassan Abbas Raza, the chief coordinator, ‘National Drama Festival-2011’ climbed on the stage, took over the microphone and while trying to justify the PNCA position retorted, “This is a mega festival in which a theatre play is presented on a daily basis while the administration has to make quick preparations about arranging stage set-up, light and sound arrangements and to look after other technical aspects of the play – hence, we could not give a lot more time to production teams.”
He said all theatre teams participating in the festival were professionals and they ought to be well-rehearsed themselves before coming into the PNCA. “Do not pass the buck for glitches in the production on us. However, it was a good play with a message of love, brotherhood and Islamic teachings passed on by Moinuddin Chishti to the non-Muslims of Subcontinent.
Pakistan Today also observed that the theatre team members and management of PNCA also exchanged heated arguments inside the Technical Room where multimedia was operated.
During the play, it was witnessed that neither the stage was set properly nor the performers were well-rehearsed as they kept on oblivious of their discourses.
The stage was divided into two parts – one highlighting the throne of Raja Prithvi and the other for the reclusive hujra of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti. During the play, the mausoleum of Chishti was also added up where devotees from all religions including Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikhs were witnessed thronging to his mausoleum.
The qawwalis and Sufi poetry were also played on multimedia screen on the backdrop of the stage that supposed to be run all through the play but it was not done due to technical problems.
Likewise, when the stage was added up with the mausoleum of Khawaja, the multimedia presentation was obstructed whenever it worked.
Similarly, when a Kathak dance was presented by a girl in the court of Prithvi and as soon as she finished off her performance, the king in a joyful mood intended to ‘reward’ her with a necklace studded with precious stones, but the girl went off stage instead of collecting it. She, however, again appeared on the stage and collected that band.
When asked who was operating the multimedia slide show, the officials of PNCA said that it was all in the hands of ‘Aaina Theatre Group’ team who were operating it through a laptop.