Drama and Theater in Pakistan

Drama and theater’s history in Pakistan is not news rather it dates back to older times. The theater and drama have been flourishing in the country. The positive theater and the theater based on literature have turned much lesser or has been almost vanished in Pakistan but the commercial theater is on high heels of success. Drama on stage is too witnessed lesser but the commercial drama on television is on boost.

Theater in Pakistan dates back to 19th century during the time of Wajid Ali Shah, that was also called the beginning time of Urdu Literature. By the end of the 19th century, this form of semi operatic drama along with its profusion of singing and dancing, its hyperbolic style of dialogue and its rhetorical technique of acting, had emerged as the chief form of entertainment in the metropolitan cities in the subcontinent. The last of this form of theater came with the legendary Urdu playwrights like Agha Hashr Kashmiri. Then the theaters had started turning into commercial cinemas giving room to feature films, which goy hugely popular among the masses and still this business is much flourishing in this part of the world and even in the world also.

The commercial theater arrived in Lahore in 1980s era when the likes of Naheed Khanum, Amanullah, Mastana and Baboo Baral gave it the meaning. They all had their own audiences and people simply loved them and this form of commercial theater. These artists’ lively dialogues and innovative style was like a breath of fresh air for the masses.

In the heydays of commercial theater, which is still much popular among the people but has now turned vulgar getting laced with cheap dialogues and cheap dances by the girls with skimpy outfits, the need of serious realistic drama was felt by the urban people but it was not given due consideration and still no consideration at all.

The marvelous plays written by the legendary and classy Urdu literature’s figures such as Mirza Qalich Beg, Abdul Halim Sharar and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan. Their plays were not performed and remain written in writing form.

In 1930 and 40s, radio came in to provide the platform for the dramatists and the likes of Imtiaz Ali Taj, Saadat Hasan Manto and Rafi Peerzada came and became the prominent playwrights of radio.

Post independence, young students and amateurs came to succeed in forming the small theater groups. The likes of Khawaja Mueenuddin and Mehr Nigar dashed off the plays of great importance. Among them, Khawaja Mueenuddin emerged as the biggest playwright. His plays were witty and dialogues poured light on social things. His most famous plays were Lal qile se lalu khet tak, Mirza Ghalib bander road per and Talim-e-Balighaan.

By the end of fifties, another lumniosu lot of the literature came in. Like Zia Moheyeddin and Ali Ahmed came. Zia is the son of Khawaja Mueenuddin.

Zia Moheyuddin is the one who rescued the theater and literature utterly. He got international recognition in drama, theater and film. His readings of literary pieces got immense popularity. He traveled to Hollywood as well and became an international star.

Others biggies like Kamal Ahmad Rizvi, Bano Qudsia, Intezar Hussain, Ishfaq Ahmad, Amjad Islam Amjad, Anwar Maqsood, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Atta Ul Haq Qasmi and others too added the flavor.

Rafi Peer Theater has been doing immensely great job in forming theater and drama in Pakistan. Peerzada family like Usman Peerzada, Imran Peerzada, Samina Peerzada and others have been doing wonders in this art.

The stage was also adorned with the talented artists like Moeen Akhtar and Omer Sharif.



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