LAHORE: The Alhamra Art Centre was the most happening place in the city on Saturday on the second day of the 3rd Faiz International Festival.
There were a lot of people from every walk of life at the festival, including a good number of the youth.
Book stalls have been installed on the lawns of the centre representing leading bookshops of the city. The food court offers both traditional and fast food and it had the most number of people who were enjoying variety of eatables and soft drinks.
The outdoor performances were given by different theatre groups and there was a music corner where the public sang songs of their choice. The exhibitions of visual art which opened yesterday all had their fanciers and followers.
There were panel discussions, music, dance and much more at the festival. The most well attended session on Saturday was that of popular television and film actress Bushra Ansari, moderated by Sarmad Khoosat. Before Ansari appeared on stage, a short documentary was shown to audience that featured her classical roles in different television plays and her parodies of different singers such as Tahira Syed, Salma Agha and Mussarat Nazir.
Bushra, alive and kicking as ever, left audience bursting into laughter on many occasions with her witty remarks. While discussing her showbiz career with Khoosat, she remembered the days in the 1960s when she started her career but in low tones because showbiz was not considered a good career for women those days.
“I wanted to be a singer initially; however, the turn of events and situations finally placed me in a place which had a mix of many genres of performing arts”.
To Bushra, comedy was something which was always enjoyed by everyone as compared to serious roles though the serious roles had their own importance. She said now when she had tried almost all kinds roles in acting, had sung songs and done films, she wanted to write a book on her career, mentioning also Samina Ahmed, Saba Hameed, Rubina Ashraf and Sakina Samo as they all had started their careers almost the same time and had done a lot acting. In a lighter vein, she termed the social media too dangerous for it had become too imposing.
In another session, Art as Healer, discussion was on among Tahira Syed, Nighat Chaodhry and Zulfiqar Zulfi while the moderator was Tanzila Khan.
Nighat Chaodhry shared glimpses from her personal life with the audience, saying her father was a very brutal and strict when it came to dance and other such activities. She mentioned how much struggle she had to put in against the odds she faced at the hands of her family to become a classical dancer of substance as dance was very close to her heart.
Similarly, Zulfiqar Zulfi shared his story, saying he did not have money to buy art material at the beginning of his student life.
“I used to complete assignments of other students while studying visual art that helped me attain the skill.”
Tahira Syed to this question of the moderator that at times singers got negative in an attempt to get stardom said she had no such experience; however, when singers craved for a lot of money and stardom some of them might have had though this way but in normal cases it did not happen.
In another session, titled My Journey Theatre, TV and Film, Samina Pirzada discussed her early career in children theatre during her childhood.
TV producer Haseena Moin insisted on Usman (Samina’s husband) to let her perform in the movies but she since her mother was not in favour of doing movies, Usman did not allow her that for six years after marriage to do any film or plays. The first play she did was that of Shehzad Khalil and finally she did two films simultaneously Nazdikian and Shadi Meray Shohar Ki.
Navid Shehzad said she could not imagine Faiz Sahib without a cigarette and a particular smile he used to have. To a question, she said that she watched cinema a lot during her childhood because three of her maternal uncles had their own cinemas.
“I also later taught cinema for 10 years,” she added but never thought and one day she would also do cinema.
Irfan Khoosat said his first meeting with Faiz Ahmad Faiz was at his Model Town residence where he went on the bicycle for some work. He said one always learned while sitting with the intellectuals so he always used to enjoy the company of his seniors.
A dance performance by the Lahore Grammer School, Johar Town branch, and a Punjabi play by the Sangat Theatre Group of Huma Safdar on the lawns were also appreciated by the audience.
The Faiz International Festival would continue today (Sunday).
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2017