Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh

Written by Shahid Nadeem and directed by MadeehaGauhar, “KaunhaiYehGustakh” is a new play by Ajoka, marking the birth centenary of the great Urdu short story writer Saadat Hassan Manto. The play focuses on Manto’s life, works and events after his migration to Pakistan in 1948. Manto had migrated because of family pressures (his wife and her relatives had already gone to Pakistan) and his disillusionment at the Hindu Muslim tensions in Bombay which had adversely affected the atmosphere of the Bombay film industry.
The play starts with Manto’s journey from India to Pakistan and his impressions of the horrific communal riots which are reflected in his writings on Partition,. The enactment of scenes from these writings is followed by the hostile reception which Manto got both from the rigid Left and the intolerant Right and a conservative establishment . He is denied a decent job (he was given a share in an Ice factory when he applied for a printing press). He is denounced by the leftists as a reactionary enemy of the people while the rightists accuse him of being a pornographer and a Communist lackey.
While Manto is harassed and persecuted by the courts and the press, and exploited by the publishers, he fondly remembers his years in Bombay and his close friend Shyam. In his loneliness he is visited by a mysterious woman who wants him to write her story. In the play Manto is also visited by characters from his stories and essays like “Khuda Ki Qasam”, “Khol Do”, “Kal Saveray jo Ankh Meri Khuli”, “License”, “Letters to Uncle Sam”, :Thanda Gosht” and “Toba Tek Singh” which have been used as a vehicle to narrateManto’s literary and emotional journey. Eventually Manto becomes an alcoholic and is sent to the Lahore Mental Hospital where he finds the inmates more humane and sensitive than people from the outside “sane’ world. The play ends with MajeedAmjad’s powerful poetic tribute to Manto,
KaunHaiYehGustakh?deals with Manto's struggle with his detractors and an increasingly conservative and intolerant Pakistan which he foresees in his writings with amazing prescience. What Pakistan has become today, Manto predicted with great vision in his short stories and essays. It is also about his internal struggle, between (as he himself says) "Saadat Hassan and Manto
First Performance : December 2012
Venue : Alhamra Art Council, The Mall, Lahore
Written by : Shahid Nadeem
Directed by : Madeeha Gauhar

Kaun hai Ye Gustakh Drama Gallery

Kaun Hai ye Gustakh
Kaun hai yeh Gustakh (1)