Lahore (26 August 2023)
Ajoka presented its classic “Bulha” on the occasion of the “Urs” of great Sufi Bulleh Shah. The play was performed on 26 August in a packed Alhamra Hall 1.
Written by Shahid Nadeem, and originally directed by late MadeehaGauhar, the play narrates the story of Bulleh Shah’s journey as a Sufi poet and his persecution by the clerics and rulers of Kasur.
The play’s narrative is supported to great effect by live qawwali and dhamaldevotional dance form. The spiritually inspiring role of Bulleh Shah was played by Naseem Abbas, while Rai Kamran played the poet’sspiritual mentor), Shah Inayat. Sibte Hassan played the role of his arch rival Banda SinghBeragi.
Kamran Mujahid and Mohammed Qaiser were the narrators and Nayab Faiza played the dancing woman, Muradi, who later became Bulleh Shah’s disciple.
Other cast included Muzammil Shabir, Usman Chaudhry, Bilal Mughal, Shehzad Sadiq, Luke Kelvin, Thomas, Meesam, Kashif, and Rai Ali.
Kanwal Christopher and Khawar Ali qawwal party sang Bulleh Shah’s kalam (poetry) with gusto and vigour. The sensitive lighting by Nadeem Mir added to the deeper and mystical dimension of the play.
The 700 plus audience gave a prolonged emotion-filled round of applause at the end of the play. The audience included Lahore Arts Council Executive Director Tariq Mehmood Chaudhry and Faisalabad Arts Council Director Zahid Iqbal.
A delegation of students from UK also attended the show. Theatre veteran Asim Bukhari, who has been playing Shah Inayat in the play for two decades, was also present.
Ajoka Institute director Nirvaan Nadeem said the play had been revived after several years on public demand. He said he was happy to see young actors trained by Ajoka joining seniors to present a polished and impactful performance.
Shahid Nadeem in his opening remarks thanked Lahore Arts Council for its support.