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150-year-old theatre group from Pakistan casts its spell in city

The Pakistani artistes at PCTE in Ludhiana on Thursday. Gurmeet Singh The Pakistani artistes at PCTE in Ludhiana on Thursday. Gurmeet Singh
Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Updated: March 28, 2014 6:12 am

To mark World Theatre Day, a 150-year-old group from Pakistan gave special performance in the city on Thursday.

Toti Sabri Drama Party, a group of folklore artistes from Chicha Watni, Pakistan, in coordination with Punjab Lok Raas, Sahiwal, Pakistan, gave a scintillating performance with their play Gopi Chand at Punjab College of Technical Education on Thursday.

The 15-member group will also be staging play Puran Bhagat on Friday at Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Civil Lines. The group was accorded a special welcome at Jalandhar Bypass by Ludhiana Lok Kala Manch.

Talking to Newsline, S N Sewak, director of Lok Kala Manch, said, “Punjab should be ashamed of the fact that we have failed to preserve our heritage and folk theatre. In Kerala you have yakshgana, in UP there is nautanki but our folk theatre Naqlaan and Raas exist no more. I salute this group from Punjab, Pakistan, for preserving this art form for 150 years and giving Ludhiana some special performances.”

It is the first visit of Toti Sabri Drama Party, which runs on contributions, to Ludhiana. While their first play Gopi Chand was based on life of a king who hated saints and got their heads chopped off but in the end turned a beggar himself, the second play Puran Bhagat was based on the life of Raja Salman whose son was seduced by his second wife Luna, and he became Puran Bhagat.

Shafiq Butt and Israr Ali who led teams from Pakistan said, “We loved the special korma and biryani which were served as a welcome gesture. It’s good to see our folklore being appreciated in India.”

“The food was prepared specially for them by a Muslim cook here,” said Sewak.

A play, Jaal, based on women’s exploitation at workplace was staged by the Lok Kala Manch, Ludhiana.

Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charajit Singh Atwal sat through both the plays Jaal and Gopi Chand at PCTE, although he had announced that he would leave early in the beginning.

First Published on: March 28, 20146:06 am
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