It’s been a productive year for Zambeel Dramatic Readings as we have brought you new works from inspiring literature, welcomed new friends in the team and taken our readings to new platforms in Karachi and in Lahore.
Clearly the most popular work and the one that received the most acclaim was Taoos Chaman ki Mayna by Naiyer Masud. Read first in March 2013, Naiyer Sahab’s endearing tale captured the hearts of both young and old. It was followed closely by two new readings in the summer that brought lesser-known works to the audience. Bazm e Suboohi that included two short stories by Ashraf Suboohi Dehlvi, introduced the quaint literary style of an author little known by audiences. While the same cannot be said about Ismat Chughtai, her play Dozakh, presented in June this year was a rare text that many were unfamiliar with. August brought a revisit to the Aao plays by Manto, with an additional fourth play added to the set of three presented the previous year. The year closed with Samundar ki Chori, an apt text by Asif Farrukhi, bemoaning the loss of a city we live in and love.
Team: It has been our privilege to welcome actors who have contributed to our projects and shared a sense of ownership towards our work. This year, we delighted in the performances of Ehteshamuddin, who brought texts like Taoos Chaman, Aao and Samundar ki Chori to life. Shama Askari, our dear friend and well-wisher, performed in Dozakh bringing Chughtai’s acerbic wit to life through the character of Ūmdah Khaanum. Meesam Naqvi, a graduate from NAPA joined the team for the August rendition of the Aao plays with sharp precision and timing. Ali Rizvi took on the challenge of playing multiple characters in Farrukhi’s Samandar, reflecting his defined technique and training at NAPA. We have also had the privilege of being supported by musicians who have lent their contributions to our readings. The tradition began with Musadiq Sanwal last year for Nazaara Darmiyaan Hai, and continued this year with Rakae Jamil generously contributing his time with an original score for Dozakh, and Danish Faruqi lending an evocative mood to Samandar ki Chori.
Platforms: We are grateful for the recognition received through the year as we spread our wings and reached out to new audiences. The year began with a reading at the 4th Karachi Literature Festival, where we were pleasantly surprised by the turnout as people scrambled for standing room, space on the floor, and even in the corridor where the reading was being live streamed. This year we were also invited by the Oxford University Press to present two projects at their bookshop on Khalid bin Waleed Road. A happy surprise came in the form of an invitation to present Taoos Chaman at the Children’s Literature Festival in Lahore, coupled with an invite to present the Aao radio plays at Faiz Ghar in Lahore under the banner of The Maya Tree, a literary journal published at the Beaconhouse National University. The year-end multi tiered art and performance festival Pursukoon Karachi was the hosting event for Samandar ki Chori, allowing us the opportunity to perform at the NAPA Auditorium for a wide reaching audience. Our first and last projects through media were with our friends the Urduwallahs in Mumbai, with whom we collaborated in two projects; the Kalaghoda Festival and most recently the Mood Indigo Festival at Indian Institute of Technology Powai (IIT). Both these representation were through a recorded reading of Saadat Hasan Manto’s Khol Do, by Mahvash Faruqi.
WordPress blog: We have also shared our interest in literature and the stories we have read by publishing posts on our WordPress blog from time to time this year. The most outstanding response has been to the two photo essays published in April and November this year, where our site stats hit the roof! Posted after the reading of Taoos Chaman ki Mayna, the photo album titled The Landscape of Taoos Chaman generated interest by revisiting the sites mentioned in the story itself. Later this year, the play Aao Baat tau Suno created enough curiosity in our minds to seek out vintage and archival images of all the products mentioned in the play and generate the album Arey Kishore – Aao Baat tau Suno! Both these essays have been thoroughly appreciated and we have had appreciative comments from across the world for them. Other project related posts have regularly appeared through the year and our venture to highlight information on writers through a dedicated page Authors in April has had an encouraging response.
We are also now on Twitter and you may follow our tweets as we update you about our posts, albums, sound bytes and announcements. Don’t forget to visit other pages on this WordPress site, stop by at Zambeel on SoundCloud, and do LIKE our Facebook page so you can follow our work.
We wish you a happy, safe and prosperous year ahead and look forward to a productive year ahead.
All good wishes,
The Team at Zambeel Dramatic Readings