Classic tales have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect. Najmuddin Dramatics Society of Kinnaird College for Women presents its annual production, Thus Heer Spoke, a musical performance based on the age-old trespassers, Heer Ranjha. The show is set to stage on Monday and Tuesday for the Kinnaird students only, in Hladia Hall, Kinnaird College. Wednesday is for the public audience. The curtains will finally fall on the fourth day, Thursday, for which only the invited guests and parents of the cast and crew will be spectating.
Tickets are available at various institutions, and at Kinnaird College, Gate 2.
For those with memory like Dory, in the relentless and romantic narrative of the past, Heer and Ranjha are the star-crossed lovers, like Romeo and Juliet. Set in Punjab, the earthly manifestations overwhelm the passions of these two lovers. However all their efforts to stay united are in vain, much thanks to Chacha Qaidou, much like Scar in The Lion King, who is the deviant serpent with the devil's sense of humour.
But Najmuddin Dramatics Society seems to have taken away the Punjabi charm with the title of the play in English. Hold your horses! The play will be performed in Punjabi! In that case, is this production highlighting another idea absolutely, one that has nothing to do with language particularly in the title? Or is it alluding to a paradox, very much clear from its title alone? English title for a Punjabi play? Is it bridging a spatial and temporal gap? What profound reason did the director and the writer have in mind!
From all that we can say for now, this production is as promising as any of the previous productions of Najmuddin Dramatics Society. An experimental theatre with the script written by the society, it is the first production in Punjabi in over five decades. With the prevailing hashtag, #daddyofallevents, this play seems to be an entertainment from all the unexpected corners, a melodrama from every symphony of Ranjha's wanjhali.
Under the guidance of its decades old advisor, Dr Nadia Anjum, the production has already garnered the interest of Ms. Suzanne, a graduate of Oxford University. This energetic lady, a theatre enthusiast was a colleague of Mrs Najmuddin herself, Dr Anjum's friend and a mentor for the entire cast and crew. She relayed to them incidents about Mrs Naj's tenure at Kinnaird, how this society was founded and how it flourished with her efforts.
While talking about the significance of theatre with respect to real life, Suzanne said "O dear, there is nothing more important in an education than to learn how to listen to what other people are saying". In my own mind of unrestrained thoughts, I can help my readers in thinking if it is probable that Waris Shah's Heer had spent centuries listening to the stories and lives of all those around her. Now the Heer has finally spoken all that she had maintained silence upon, out of fear for Sialaan de Shimla da maan. Has her rawness been refined with time? Despite that has she uttered the godforsaken words and ideas? Has she spoken then, after all this time?
Thus "Heer Spoke": the title of this play certainly claims that. But does the Heer of today, in this upcoming performance? Will this modern Heer convey the real essence of Waris Shah, the reason why even he named his Sufi Kalam Heer Waris Shah and not Heer Ranjha? What further moral and societal questions are being raised by her?
Come and spectate for your own well-being!