The importance of Ismat Chughtai’s craft, her greatness as the grand dame of Urdu fiction and as the indomitable spirit of the Urdu afsana is continually affirmed by the interest in her writing today, and by tributes paid to her by contemporaries and present day readers and writers.
In Ismat’s repertoire we find certain stories that have been written independently and perhaps at different times of her career, but connect nevertheless through narratives or characters. The Kallu stories presented here fall under this description, in the appearance of the same characters a few decades apart.
Interestingly, it is noted in an anthology of Ismat stories that she wrote two versions of the story titled Kallu. After writing the first version, she presented it to the eminent writer and critic Ali Sardar Jafri for a review. Both she and her peer forgot about this exchange. Preoccupied with the narrative, Ismat proceeded to write this story yet again, forgetting that she had penned an earlier version of it. There are slight shifts in approach and variations in the relationships, but the framework remains the same. Both texts are now printed under the same title, with their respective version number. In this reading, we present the second iteration of Kallu.
Kallu ki Maa: This narrative focuses on Kallu’s mother, her life journey after the death of her husband, and her experiences with her distant rich relatives who relegate her status to a servant in their household.
Kallu (version 2): Kallu / Kaleemuddin returns as Deputy Collector to the family that mistreated him in his childhood.
Zambeel Dramatic Readings is entirely grateful to Ms Zara Mumtaz for singing the wedding songs used in the soundtrack of this presentation.
Performers: Asma Mundrawala, Fawad Khan, Shama Askari
Music: Danish Faruqi
Sound cues: Kiran Ahmad
Poster Design: Naheed Yahya
Sound and Direction: Asma Mundrawala