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LAHORE, Oct 2: The Manto Festival at Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall, continued to attract theatre enthusiasts on the second consecutive day of the event on Wednesday.

Azad Theatre presented its play ‘Dafa 292’ based on three short stories of Saadat Hassan Manto: Dhuwan, Thanda Gosht and Kali Shalwar. The play portrayed how Manto was an outstanding writer but was accused of using vulgarity in his writings. The play was directed by Malik Aslam. Cast members Usman Zia, Dr Mubashir Hassan and Alia Abbasi gave some peerless performances.

The opening scene of the play depicted how the general public thought Manto’s writing was vulgar. There were debates among people whether the writings contributed anything worthwhile to society or created chaos through “elements” of vulgarity.

Manto, played by Mateen Haider, was in some scenes seen defending himself in court against his story Thanda Gosht. Live music and impressive lighting effects made it a remarkable presentation.

Malik Aslam, the director of the play, told Dawn though Azad Theatre was only two years old, but in this short span it had produced nine plays. He said the theatre had announced a script writing competition a few months ago to introduce and encourage new playwrights.

“By now, we have received some 20 or so scripts from all over the country and we shall stage a play on the winning script,” Aslam added. He also said parallel theatres had contributed greatly towards highlighting social issues.

On Thursday (today), Ajoka Theatre will stage one of its earlier plays ‘Kaun Hai Ye Gustakh’.