by Mehru N Nisa
SRINAGAR: It was another plot revolving around the exploits of the bourgeoisie in the Kashmir periphery but the bad delivery impacted the essence of the message. Performed by the artists of Dilshad Cultural Forum, Bandipora, Pagah Sholi Dunyah was written by Nisar Naseem and directed by Dilshad Mustafa.
Pagah Sholi Dunyah is a futuristic theme that actually means, Tomorrow’s World Will Be Happy.
The story of the play was set in a village and revolved around the village elder, played by Mohammad Yousuf Dar, mostly about his exploits and conspiracies aimed at oppressing the residents. The story started with what seemed like three parallel storylines – the village elder asking his son, Jan (Ali Mohammad), to wake up; two old men talk about their cows, and two other men arguing about their farms.
These storylines connect when incessant rains create a panic of flood in the villages. They shout and argue with anyone who mentions the danger of flood. But after a while, they are told by another villager that the river has overflowed and washed away most of their crops.
The villagers, now distressed and devastated, try to find a solution to their problems when two of them – Ali Mohammad and Shamsuddin (played by Ghulam Hussain Haqnawaz and Wali Mohammad Ganai respectively) claim that the village elder is behind all this, as he doesn’t want the villagers to do well. At the same time, the village elder comes to meet them and tells them about their dream according to which the villagers had to sacrifice a human life in order to avoid future floods.
Most of the villagers even agree to this condition and start negotiating who should be sacrificed. Later on in the story, a government official comes to the village, in response to the villagers’ request to solve the matter but the village head invites him to lunch. Eventually, the official doesn’t even go to talk to the villagers.
Pagah sholi dunyah touched the themes of honesty, jealousy and the need of speaking up for one’s rights in such repressing times but it was unexciting in terms of execution and delivery. In some scenes, it seemed, the actors had forgotten their dialogues and the eerie pause created a disinterest in the audience. However, in another sequence, the artists’ dialogues were overlapping. The frequent cuts in between scenes were another reason to add to the disinterest of the viewers.
Apart from this, the two songs sung by the actors themselves during the play were remarkable. The first one was nyend karni neyr kaashtkaaro, which was sung while they work on the farms. Another one was bram di, waejnas ha naaye, which was sung while they cross the river in a boat. Both songs had an exquisite effect on the audience.
It had additional performances from Mohammad Saleem Yousuf, Abdul Hamid Ganai, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Gulfam Nowgami, Ghulam Hassan Hassan and Khurshid Ahmad Bhat.