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Epic fight of Rustam and Sohrab staged at Alhamra

June 07, 2012

A scene from the play Rustam and Sohrab.–Photo by Dawn

Lahore: The masterpiece of Urdu literature, a play written by Lahore: The masterpiece of Urdu literature legendary Agha Hashar Kashmiri, was staged at Alhamra Art Centre  by the Azad Theatre group to a jam-packed hall.

The one-act play, the maiden effort by the group, captivated the audience with its ambiance, scenes, dialogues and acting.

Usman Zia, Zohaib and Safraz Ansari earned rounds of thunderous applause from the audience.

Directed by Malik Aslam, the play was a mega attraction for epic theatre lovers and surprisingly a good number of youngsters also came to see the performance.

The costumes were designed by Aliya Abbasi and Nadeem and choreography was done by Alia Abbasi.

The story of the play goes that Rostam, a Persian hero and one of the favorites of King Kaykaus, once enters the kingdom of Samangan while following the traces of his lost horse. According to Wikipedia, in the kingdom, he becomes the guest of the king and meets princess Tahmina. He marries her but soon leaves the kingdom never to come back. Tahmina gives birth to their son and names him Sohrab. Rostam and Sohrab never meet until a new war between Iran and Turan started many years later. By then Sohrab has become known as the best fighter of Turan army.

As no one else dares to fight Rostam, Sohrab is sent to wrestle with the legendary Persian hero. However, the name of the hero is kept hidden from him, as Sohrab knows that Rostam was his father. On the battlefield, Sohrab tells his rival that he would not be prepared to fight against Rostam, but does not explain why. Rostam does not reveal his name.

After a very long and heavy bout of wrestling, Rostam feels weak and, fearing for his reputation, he stabs his son in the heart. Tahmina, who comes to the field to save them from bloodshed, arrives too late and finds Sohrab lying dead in his mourning father's arms.

Azad Group: Art Director of Azad Theatre Sarfraz Ansari told Dawn that the theatre was formed in Dec 2011 with an aim to move people from commercial theatre to objective and meaningful theatre. He said they took the play as a challenge.

“Secondly, an epic play of this caliber had not been staged in Lahore for many years so we thought that through this play we not only would revive the tradition of epic plays but also familiarise the young generation with classical Urdu,” he said.

The troupe consists of 22 people. He thanked the Lahore Arts Council for providing free of cost hall to stage the play.