The tradition of patiabazi is as old as Bhopal itself and synonymous to the city’s identity. Patiabazi, which was only tradition till now, will be entering Bharat Bhawan in the form of two short plays next week, written by Bhopal-based writer Rafi Shabbir.
Patiabazi evolved from the famous ‘Dastangohi’, a 16 century Urdu oral storytelling art form.
“Patiabazi, an essential Bhopali tradition, is facing the brunt of culture evolution and effacing gradually. Most of the houses in Bhopal had patias (stone platforms) where people used to sit and chit-chat for hours over issues ranging from India’s foreign diplomacy to a local hockey match, and even the girl next door,” said writer of the play, Rafi Shabbir.
Patiabazi is now confined to few pockets of the old city only. Converting them into plays is an effort in the direction of documenting them and saving this art from extinction, Rafi added.
On the occasion, noted poet and lyricist, Gulzar will unveil a book on the history of dying-art of Bhopal, authored by Rafi Shabbir.
First part of the play is based on legendary lady qawwali singer, Shakeela Bano of Bhopal, while the second part is based on the life of popular poet Taj Bhopali.
“It was a tedious work. There are no authentic books available on patiabazi’s history in Bhopal. To write on lives of such popular characters I had to read a lot and arrange books from as far as Pakistan and Hyderabad,” said Rafi.
He said he had to find old people and interact with them for hours to dig out old and real incidents.
Farrukh Sher Khan, the director of the play said, “We are trying to stage the drama in its original setting, in an open space on patias at Bharat Bhawan."
About the art form he said, Bhopali accent and sharpness of wits are necessary elements required for an interesting patiabazi event.
“I had to get a female-singer-actor for the role of Shakeela Bano Bhopali, while for others I had to remain very careful on their accents,” added Khan.