Lahore: Ajoka Theatre in collaboration with Lahore arts Council presented its stage drama ‘Kaun Bane Ga Badshah’ here on Wednesday at Alhamra Hall No 2. The play is written and directed by Ajoka Director Shahid Nadeem.
The play is based on a game show, hosted by ‘Big Boss’, a mysterious and mischievous host, assisted by a well mannered and well spoken assistant ‘Nizam’. The play is a political satire that reflects the prevailing state-of-affairs in Pakistan. Depicting the problems of the masses, the game show with political undertones is couched in an entertaining and humorous presentation. It also raises some pertinent and vital questions about the future and nature of democracy Pakistan.
In Pakistan, the game of democracy id relatively new. In the intevals between military rule, the masses are allowed to vote. But do they really choose their masters? This issue is being hotly debated at the highest and lowest levels. The game still hangs in the balance.
It has not only survived despite the absence of financial support from the private or public sector, it has in fact grown from strength to strength. It has dealt with bold subjects, experimented with technique and blended contemporary reality with traditional form. Today Ajoka is an internationally respected name in the world of theatre and its contribution to the promotion of art and culture and the struggle for social justice and peace in Pakistan is well regarded. As a socially committed theatre group, Ajoka has always tried to combine entertainment and high artistic standards with raising issues and questions which we are facing. We provide our audience a forum for dialogues & introspection.
Sometime reality presented as theatre can make the audience realize the contradictions, injustice and traumas which have been suppressed or ignored by society.
All governments have been disinterested, if not antagonistic towards socially meaningful art. Conservative elements have been opposed to the very idea of theatre and the corporate sector has not played its role in promoting Art and culture. But the commitment of the volunteer members of Ajoka and its audience has enabled the group to overcome all hurdles.
That has been the story of the Ajoka journey. Ajoka, with its own language and form, has continuously strived to bring their vital issues to the fore and confront its audience with the contradictions and injustices which the state or business controlled media has tried to ignore or cover-up. Ajoka’s journey has not been easy or smooth. Like all those who struggle for human rights, justice and freedom in Pakistan, Ajoka has faced harassment, hostility, vilification and scarcity of resources. How has it survived and grown from strength to strength? Not only because of the resolve and dedication of its members but also the support and solidarity shown by its audiences and supporters.
The cast includes Nayab Faiza, Usman Raj, Omar Dar, Ahsan Murad, Sohail Tariq, Qaiser Ali, Yaqub Masih, Aamir Sahotra and Shehzad Sadiq.
Ajoka has been part of the struggle for a secular, democratic just, humane and egalitarian Pakistan for the last 30 years. Few cultural institutions have been able to thrive, even survive, in the climate of hostility and apathy towards performing arts that has existed in Pakistan. Ajoka is an exception. Set up by a mall group of cultural activists in 1984, during General Zia-Ul-Haq’s politically and culturally repressive regime, Ajoka has struggled with determination against very heavy odds.