Saadat Hasan Manto
He is one of the world’s greatest literary figures. This week, on May 11, to celebrate Saadat Hasan Manto’s 105th birth anniversary, fans are organising an event dedicated to him. Manto Kay Qissay is a series of monologues, stories and poems by the poet.
Lalit K Jogi
The event is being put together by Showbiz Action Players, a theatre group and training platform led by Ashok Purang. “We use a lot of Manto’s text while training actors, and many own his complete works. His characters are very strong; they are regular people like the liftwallah, auto drivers or local goons, and he gives them such depth that they make good character studies,” says the theatre director and producer, adding that whenever they perform, they usually have one or two Manto pieces in it.
This event will see five monologues performed by actors Lalit Jogi, Vaibhav Kumar, Kayshap Harsha Shangari, Sahil Shaikh and Jay Mukunda. “These are all first-person accounts of characters. One piece is called Manto and has his alter ego talking to him and trying to find faults with him. He is a critic of himself,” says Purang. All the monologues are part of what Purang calls ‘poor theatre’ – they don’t use props or make up or backdrops. The focus is on the actors and their work. “Manto used to play with words and make statements that would shock people. But ultimately, the more you read him, the more you fall in love with him,” he adds.
Five years ago, Purang started the Manto Circle, which invited theatre personalities and experts to talk about the man. “We had performances and events every few months, but then took a break,” he adds. Manto Circle, when it began, would organise and celebrate Manto’s works through play readings, storytelling sessions, plays, short films screenings and discussions. This event is Purang’s attempt to revive it.
On: May 11, 7 pm
At: Whistling Woods Andheri Base, Link Road, Andheri (W).
Log on to: bookmyshow.com
Cost: Rs 200