City-based Darpan Theatre presents Mazahiya Mizaaj e Manto – two short stories by the renowned writer

While Manto is primarily celebrated as a serious writer, he has also crafted stories imbued with a touch of humour
Cast members
Cast members

If you appreciate the depth of Indo-Pakistani writer Saadat Hasan Manto’s work, you’re likely familiar with his unique perspectives, fearless narrative, and raw social commentary. Well, city-based Darpan Theatre is set to present Mazahiya Mizaaj e Manto, two dramas based on Manto’s short stories Aao Khoj Karein and Aao Kahani Likhein, respectively, from the radio play series Aao.

While Manto is primarily celebrated as a serious writer, he has also crafted stories imbued with a touch of humour. The two plays highlight the bitter-sweet squabbles between couples. The three central characters of the dramas include Kishore, his wife Lajwanti and Kishore’s friend Narayan. Although distinct in their narratives, the two plays exhibit a tangy-sweet bond shared by Kishore and Lajwanti. In the first drama, Aao Khoj Karein, Kishore embarks on a quest to find a thief who has pilfered his belongings. However, the narrative takes a fascinating turn as Kishore and Lajwanti delve into the thief’s perspective, unravelling the motives behind his actions. Next, in Aao Kahani Likhein, Lajwanti urges Kishore to co-write a story with her, and Narayan joins the creative process. The story takes comical turns as the couple participants infuse their personal experiences into the narrative, resulting in a humorous script.

Ali Ahmed, the director of the plays, tells us, “Personally, Manto’s work inspires me a lot. He believed in presenting society as it truly was, even though many preferred to look away from reality. What’s fascinating is that Manto’s humour-filled plays also carry some important messages.” He mentions that Manto’s ability to offer a unique perspective on various subjects is what truly stands out. Ali, a full-time designer, has been passionately involved in theatre for the past few years. Apart from Manto, he also expresses a keen desire to explore a theatrical piece revolving around the iconic tale of Laila Majnu sometime in the future.

Theatre artiste Chitra Narayanan, who will be seen playing Lajwanti in the plays, says, “Being able to perform a role written by a renowned figure is truly an honour. Portraying the character of Lajwanti has been a delightful experience. Manto’s work reflects his forward-thinking approach, evident in the characters he created. Lajwanti is someone who embodies determination, unwavering in her pursuits, yet she possesses a soft and feminine side that gradually unfolds in the play.”

Rs 150. October 29, 8 pm.

At Lamakaan, Banjara Hills 

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