Saadat Hasan Manto’s Kaali Shalwar gets a theatrical rendition
Chilling, prophetic and powerful — that’s what usually comes to the mind when one thinks of Indo-Pak writer Saadat Hasan Manto’s works. As the legendary writer’s 105th birth anniversary approaches on May 11, Manto lovers can treat themselves to the play, Kaali Shalwar, based on one of his short stories by the same name.
Directed by Atul Satya Koushik, the play narrates the story of a prostitute, Sultana, who settles down in Delhi after migrating from Ambala, Chandigarh. “The play is full of wit and dark humour. The theme explores how they also deserve equal respect and freedom like others. Every day issues of their lives are shown in the play,” says Koushik, a graduate from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Delhi University. Manto’s character, who features as a narrator in the play, repeatedly drives home this point as well.
Sachin Joshi, who plays the role of Manto, was inspired by Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s style of acting, to get into the skin of the character. He says, “I was pretty excited when my director asked me to play the role as it required me to become the narrator in the play. I did a lot of research to prepare myself for the character. I also keenly observed Nawazuddin’s way of acting, for this role.” With a number of stereotypes, surrounding prostitutes in popular culture, prepping up for the role of Sultana wasn’t an easy task for Shakti Singh. She says,“Her character is full of complexities, so for me it was difficult to do this role. I didn’t want to do it in a stereotypical manner.” This performance will have a bonus for the audiences — a live qawwali performance by the renowned duo Nizami Brothers.