Motley Theatre Group first touched upon Ismat Chughtai’s stories with the narrative play, Ismat Apa Ke Naam. The show attracted such popularity, that a sequel had to be made with new characters and stories. Now, Naseerduddin’s Shah’s theatre company is presenting Part 3 of Chughtai’s famous stories, in a play titled ‘Aurat! Aurat!! Aurat!!!’. Unlike its prequels, this play narrates the life of the writer herself, with dramatic interpretations of important instances. It brings to life the writer’s works and her many achievements, with a special focus on her unabashedly cool persona.
What’s Aurat! Aurat!! Aurat!!! About:
Ismat Chughtai’s childhood was unlike those of the Muslim girls of the early 20th century in India. She was the ninth of ten children and the youngest of the four daughters. She did not care for marriage and was more focused on her education. She travelled, wrote, and never hesitated to speak her mind. When the rules of society did not make sense to her, she openly dismissed them. She was fearless at a time when women were heavily subjugated in society. But nothing and no one could bring her down.
Such a fascinating personality is played by not one, but an ensemble of female actors from the Motley Theatre Group, each denoting a different moment in the writer’s life. Seema Pahwa is the main narrator and the other girls follow her lead. The cast shifts to play supporting characters in each of the narrator’ stories. Some of the girls also sing together on stage to a tune played by Bhavna Pani on the harmonium.
If Ismat Chughtai were alive, she would have smiled throughout the play and even laughed at a few instances. Every single person playing her part was flawless in their roles. Seema Pahwa is simply mesmerizing to watch on stage, as she had proven in the prequel. This time, she embodies the writer whose story she narrated the last time. Shruti Vyas is also a delight to watch and her expressions of impatience and stubbornness are apt for the part. We can only assume that Ismat Chugtai’s youth was not much different from what she portrayed on stage. Bhavna Pani has a wonderful voice, while Trishla Patel is even funnier in the other parts she plays.
Like in most of their productions, the set is minimal. Lights are used well in different scenes, denoting each new story as well as the passage of time. Music is performed live, which adds a personal touch to the play.
What Could’ve Been Better:
At no point in time do you feel that the play has been stretched or the narrative is getting dull. Do note that there is an interval after the first half, as it is not announced by the organizers. You don’t want to miss the rest of the endearing performance.
Why You Should Watch:
Motley Theatre Group is known for providing rich content that is both relevant and engaging to watch. Adaptations are their forte and this is certainly one people of all ages can enjoy. Don’t miss it the next time it is being performed in the city.