This Saturday, witness the world of famous author Sadat Hasan Manto come alive with the synergies of several bodies working in one unit. Pandies’ Theatre, which began in 1993 with a simple agenda of staging plays relevant to our times but over time evolved into an activist theatre group, is staging Pagaleyan Da Sardar, a play that talks about what Manto talked about during his time. The play reproduces the stark anti-communal voice of Manto and highlights his work as a statement against bigotry and religious hatred.
The director of the play, Sanjay Kumar, stresses that their attempt is not to produce a biopic but to explore Manto’s viewpoint through a powerful depiction of his nuanced creativity in an interactive form. And to do that, Kumar has picked up seven stories written by Manto as well as the letters he wrote to the US President while he was living in Pakistan, and intertwined them to create a powerful narrative against communalism.
“Manto wrote a number of letters under the title Letters to Uncle Sam, expressing his anguish. Various pieces in the play speak to each other and bring out a strong voice against communalism,” says Kumar, adding, “It is a very in-your-face comment on the ethos of life today.”
Half of the play is in English and half in Punjabi as spoken in Delhi. “The reason we are doing this play in half Punjabi-half English is because Punjabi language was very dear to Manto but he never wrote in Punjabi since it didn’t sell,” shares Kumar. There is a total 18 actors, veterans and newbies, including associate director Swapnpriya, enacting different roles in the play, which also has liberal use of songs sung by Vineet Trikha.
Watch the play at IHC on Jan 12, 7:30 pm.
The voice that spoke against communalism
The play captures and reproduces the stark anti-communal voice of Sadat Hasan Manto and highlights his work as a statement against bigotry and religious hatred. Half of the play is in English and half in Punjabi, as spoken in Delhi.