Ajoka’s theatre festival concludes with inspiring performances

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The five-day Ajoka Youth Theatre Festival concluded Sunday with the play “Lo Phir Basant Ayi” which received warm welcome from the audience.
In the dynamic festival, inspiring performances were presented by different theatres hailing from Lahore, Hyderabad and Karachi. The festival started on dec 16 with a mime performance by the students of Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) to pay tribute to the victims of Army Public School Peshawar. Another play “Jaloos” was presented by Actor Studio of Karachi on December 18. Another powerful performance “Aman Aur Aag” was presented by the Government College University (GCU) Lahore’s Dramatic Club on December 19. This play was an ample critique on the growing extremism and intolerance in the society.
On the last day, “Lo Phir Basant Ayi” was presented by the team of Ajoka Theatre. The play revolves around a rich festival of the city i.e. “Basant” in which people from all colours and cast used to participate with great fervour. The play talks about how this festival was distorted by the creeping extremism and people belonging from this profession became unemployed. In the play, a character “Ustaad Maju”, whose ancestors were associated with the profession of kite-making, was rendered unemployed due to the ban on Basant. Ustaad Maju was not ready to abandon this profession as he was in love with kite-making. The family of Ustaad Maju used to live in the walled city of Lahore and his area was named after his profession as “Mohalla Patang Sazan”.
The residents of this area decided to celebrate Basant but the police foiled their attempt by arresting them. The play has been performed in India as well at “Humsaya Theatre Festival in September this year.
Executive Director of Ajoka Theatre Shahid Nadeem told Pakistan Today that the festival received an overwhelming response from the citizens of Lahore. He said Ajoka has been producing social change for past 31 years and also tries to promote true talent in the country.
GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Hassan Amir Shah was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony. Dr Shah said that Ajoka has been educating and entertaining the people from the dark days of dictator Zia ul Haq. He reminisced his school days when he also used to act with the founder of Ajoka- Madiha Gohar. Dr Shah further said that his memories from childhood have been reinvigorated by watching this play. At the end, Khawar Ali Qawwal enthralled the audience with his powerful vocals. He recited the same Qawwali on the occasion that he has sung at the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia during his visit to India.