Briefs: Commemorating Manto in Kolkata

Briefs: Commemorating Manto in Kolkata
Geetesh Sharma: Happy that people still remember Manto.

Honouring the great short story writer Saadat Hasan Manto on his 103rd birth anniversary today: a free public event in Kolkata featuring poetry, theatre and film

Manto: A Retrospective’
Sunday, May 10, 2015, 5:30-7.30 pm
Address: Tripti Mitra Sabhagaar, Paschim Banga Natya Academy, opposite Haldiram, 1/1 AJC Bose Road, Kolkata (neside Nehru Children Museum).
Free and open to the public.
For more information please contact: [email protected]

Invite for today's event in Kolkata featuring Aman Ki Asha and the Pakistani film Lazzat-e-Sang.

Invite for today’s event in Kolkata featuring Aman Ki Asha and the Pakistani film Lazzat-e-Sang.

Kolkatans will today honour the great short story writer Saadat Hasan Manto on his hundred and third birth anniversary at an event featuring poetry, film and theatre.

The two-hour long ‘Manto: A Retrospective’, is scheduled to start at 5:30 pm at the Tripti Mitra Sabhagaar, Paschim Banga Natya Academy today, Sunday, May 10, 2015.

The event, financed by private contributions from the organisers and their friends, is free and open to the public.

Kolkata’s senior most journalist Geetesh Sharma, 82, a well known supporter of peace, communal harmony, justice and secularism, is enthusiastic about the programme.

“I have always hoped for an amicable relationship between India and Pakistan and I shall keep taking this cause further, till I am able to do so. Saadat Hasan Manto was a phenomenal man. I am happy that people still remember him and hence, this tribute ceremony,” says Sharma.

Conceived by the theatre group Little Thespian in collaboration with social activist Saira Shah Halim and Aman ki Asha volunteer Ruchhita Kazaria, the event will begin with the Aman ki Asha Anthem by Rahat Fateh Ali and Shankar Mahadevan.

The organisers plan to briefly introduce Aman ki Asha as an inspiring force behind their work.

Co-founded by S.M. Azhar Alam and his wife Uma Jhunjhunwala in 1996, Little Thespian is known as a melting pot for Hindustaani zubaan, taking forward the cause of promoting Urdu and Hindi literature. They were earlier behind the four-day event in Kolkata titled “Be-lagaam Manto” in 2012 to mark the writer’s birth centenary.

After the lamp lighting ceremony will be followed by a brief introduction of Saadat Hasan Manto and his importance in both India and Pakistan.

The event includes a dramatized reading of Manto’s short stories by eminent theatre personality Saira Shah Halim, filmmaker Ashoke Vishwanathan who has won three National Awards, and Bobby Chakraborty, social activist and noted actor for Tollywood, the film industry named after the famous Tollygunge Studios of Kolkata.

A short section of the evening features poems on Manto – Rucchita Kazaria will reciting her nazm; S. M. Azhar Alam will recite verses by Pakistani poet Majeed Amjad; and Uma Jhunjhunwala will recite lyricist Gulzar’s poetry.

S.M. Azhar Alam and Uma Jhunjhunwala will present a 25-minute long play based on Manto’s short story ‘Thanda Ghosht’.

Lazzat-e-Sang, a 35-minute film from Pakistan based on the life and works of Manto titled premieres in India at this event. Written by Mudassar Mahmood Naaru as part of his graduation thesis (2013) at the National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, it is directed by Muhammad Nazim, also an NCA graduate.

“Manto never erected walls around his art, hence his doors remain open for the dramatis personae — who populate our literature and society — to freely come and go. He saw, simultaneously, the past, present and future where only human beings constituted the ultimate truth and this is what the film thematically sought for,” says Naaru.

“By hosting this commemoration ceremony, we in India and Pakistan, through the platform of Aman ki Asha, believe that art and theatre is not confined to boundaries and legends like Manto. We believe that what unites us is much stronger than what divides us,” says Ruchhita Kazaria, one of the event’s organisers.

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