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Bala King matches present day political scenario

Bala King matches present day political scenario

LAHORE: The Ajoka Theatre staged one of its landmark plays ‘Bala King’ for two days in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council at the Alhamra Art Center, The Mall.

A good number of audiences were in attendance.

Madeeha Gauhar said the play had some remarkable similarity with the present day political scenario. She said the play had a lot to offer when it came to political corruption.

The play Bala King, an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” by Shahid Nadeem, shows that Brecht is as relevant in Pakistan today as he was to Germany and Europe in 1940s.

Written in 1941, “Arturo Ui” is savage and witty parable of the rise of fascism and Hitler in which his story is recast in terms of a small time gangster’s take-over of the city’s greengrocer trade.

In Shahid Nadeem’s adaptation, Ui is replaced by Bala King, an unemployed pehalwan gang leader, who decides to leave the Taxali Gate Adda and try his luck in the Badami Bagh world of inner city road transport.

Badami Bagh is ruled by self righteous businessmen ready to trade all principles for business gains and lucrative contracts.

Bala and his gang exploit the vulnerability and contradictions of these groups aided by their muscle power. He bribes, blackmails and intimidates the businessmen and shopkeepers to accept his protection at a very heavy premium.

Bala Pahelwan changes his name to Bala King, receives lessons in public speaking and politics and eliminates all opposition, circumvents law and public opinion and eventually his total control over the area.

The set was realistic and impressive. On Thursday (today), Ajoka will mark the Urs celebrations of Hazrat Baba Bulleh Shah with its masterpiece, “Bulha”.

The play is based on the events in the life of great mystic poet as communicated through his poetry, historical records and popular myths. Bulleh Shah’s search for truth, his devotion for his mentor Shah Inayat, his opposition to the bloodshed in the name of religion, all are incorporated as powerful scenes in the play.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2016

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