Akhiyaan: A theatrical performance by Azaad

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Where the city of Lahore is thrilled by non-stop film releases, Azad theatre group moved theatre into the spot light by putting up week long performances of their theatrical production “Akhiyaan”. The play being performed at Alhamra Arts Council since Monday, is a 1930’s radio play directed by Malik Aslam. The play has been converted into a theatre script to introduce a new technique of production and scripting.

“The main purpose of putting up Akhiyaan on stage, apart from social awareness is to experiment a new technique of scripting and production. The audience’s response will tell us the results of our experiment,” said Sarfaraz Ansari, who is playing the role of “Mian Sahab” in “Akhiyaan”.

The play “Akhiyaan” is the story of a blind girl, played by Alia, who desperately seeks the sense of sight to see the happenings of a soulless society which is no less blind than her. The performance comprises of critical and artistic insight towards a social issue hence the play holds a distinguished identity from that of the commercial theatre of Pakistan.

“The play displays many aspects of performance such as vocals, mime, body language along with a tint of dance and music. Therefore it entertains and enlightens people at the same time. In a nutshell, Akhiyaan is a full package which blends in folk, classical and live music,” said Sarfaraz Ansari.

However, Akhiyaan is not the only artistic representation of Azaad’s ideologies. Plays such as “Raja Poras”, “Bhagat Singh’s Last Trial” and Manto’s controversial plays have also been produced under Azaad’s banner previously. The gems hidden in Azaad are world recognized artists such as Nadeem Abbas, playing “Kareema” in the play, is a world dancer and choreographer. He is also the costume and set designer for all the plays performed by Azaad.

Over the span of fours years, Azaad has established international recognition through workshops, performances and competitions. Hence it is no surprise that Azaad’s plays are often seen as a pure form of theatrical art by the audience which is gradually leading to Azaad’s recognition as a theatre insititute.

“Youngsters are active participants and performers at Azaad. They spend a lot of time here learning various theatre related skills from us. But we are striving towards a far-fetched goal which is to establish an independent repertory company where theatre lovers can join in as professionally hired actors, directors and writers,” Malik Aslam, director and cofounder Azaad.

All in all, for those seeking real parallel theatre in Pakistan, Alhamrah Arts Council is the place to be at from September 22 till September 26 for a five day theatre performance of “Akhiyaan”.