Hamlet’s Kashmir Version ‘Uff ti Karakh Na!’ Staged at SP College



Uff ti Karakh Na! Team led by its director Arshad Mushtaq (Holding Mic in centre)
Uff ti Karakh Na! Team led by its director Arshad Mushtaq (Holding Mic in center)

A ticketed crowd gathered at the Historic SP College last weekend to witness ‘Uff ti Karakh N!’, a Kashmiri adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic theatre play – Hamlet – by a local group, Theatre for Kashmir.

In a jam packed auditorium, a mix of men and women which included academicians, intellectuals, social activists, students and other theatre lovers, each one having purchased a Rs 100 ticket gathered.
“This adaptation borrowed the bare bones of the original text and ventured into a narrative that seemed so close and personal to the audience, which was evident from their reactions to the twists and turns of the plot,” a statement said. Noted writer and critique, Prof Rehman Rahi graced the occasion.

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“Uff ti Karakh Na!’ revolved around indecisiveness of Hamza who ultimately may or may not reach a decision,” the statement informed.

The brief announcement at the beginning made it clear that this was not a ‘literal translation’ of Shakespeare’s text but a ‘reaction to the emotions that run so deep between the lines’ in Hamlet.

The cast included Yousuf Shahnaaz a veteran theatre actor who played the role of Haroon, father of the protagonist played by Ahmed Riyaz Mir.

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As Hamza Riyaz underplayed his part ably, Mian Mushtaq in the role of his friend was jovial. With his gleaming portrayal of a sage, Ashraf Nagoo drew loud cheer and appreciation for his remarkable body language and crisp expressions.

“Supported by Rayees Wathori as Daleelgour (Story teller) and Bilal Baghat as Maskhere drew instant laughter for their comic folk interlude,” it said adding, “Obaid Wani and Jafar Ahmad in a symbolic portrayal were dead on.  A group of folk performers led by Bashir Shah impressed with their Dambali act.”

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The dialogues were written by Mir Maqbool, who kept the local Kashmiri flavour intact while adding a punch to the interpretation. The minimal set by Ashraf Hajni was highly symbolic. The play was well lit by Waseem Raja Khan who also provided the technical supervision to the show. The tunes were Kashmiri folk and Sufiyana by Basheer Shah and Rasiq Khan who also lent voices to the songs in the play.

The play combined traditional Bhaand Pather, Dhambali and Dastaangoi with contemporary theatre techniques creating a strong visual appeal.


The play was designed and directed by noted Kashmiri playwright and director Arshad Mushtaq. “I Just happen to be among these creative dedicated hardworking group of individuals who sweated it out hard,” he said.

Elaborating in the director’s note of the play’s brochure he wrote, “this is exactly how I re-imagined the plot, the characters and the sublime interplay of emotions of the original. ‘Uff ti Karakh na!’ is a personal journey within the realm that has shaped my being.”

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