Drama Review: Archeekaal –Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow in the Kashmir Valley: Nandikar’s 28th National Theater Festival Kolkata

Roshan Art Center (Kashmir) - Drama Archeekaal Written by Syed Yaqoob Dilkash, Directed By Reshi Rashid

Roshan Art Center (Kashmir) - Drama Archeekaal Written by Syed Yaqoob Dilkash, Directed By Reshi Rashid

Roshan Art Center (Kashmir) - Drama Archeekaal Written by Syed Yaqoob Dilkash, Directed By Reshi Rashid

Roshan Art Center (Kashmir) - Drama Archeekaal Written by Syed Yaqoob Dilkash, Directed By Reshi Rashid

Roshan Art Center (Kashmir) - Drama Archeekaal Written by Syed Yaqoob Dilkash, Directed By Reshi Rashid

December 27, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations): Amidst reports of lessened militancy and greater number of tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir in the recent past, theatrical representations of the truth are still seeking to find an answer to pertinent issues that plague the socio-cultural-economic and political scenario in the valley of dreams.

One such dramatic representation is ‘Archeekaal’, put up in the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, as a part of Nandikar’s 28th National Theater Festival on December 24, 2011.

Roshan Art Center (Kashmir) - Drama Archeekaal Written by Syed Yaqoob Dilkash, Directed By Reshi Rashid

Based on the script authored by Syed Yaqoob Dilkash and supported by Roshan Art center, the director, Mr.Reshi Rashid has attempted a factual portrayal of Kashmir, as it stands today. Viewing at the condition of the state from all important perspectives, the play also explores the causes of the never-ending strife, threatening to push the ‘Heaven on Earth’ as far back in times, as possible.

Through the narrative the director poses certain important questions in front of the audience, questions that have become paramount to every living Kashmiri today. A thorough watch definitely conveys these messages clearly.

It can become quite challenging and tricky to handle an issue as sensitive as this, in a mature and thoughtful manner, but not for Reshi Rashid. And for this he definitely deserves accolades. The palette was mostly grey, with occasional strokes of colors brought in through inclusions of vibrant costumes along with shades of Kashmiri folk culture.

While Gh Rassol Mir and Sona-ullah Khan put up commendable acts as Hengal and Duchan (in that order), Ab Gani Bhat, Gayas-u-Din Sheikh and Amina Bano were no less impressive either. As the protagonists of the play, they did an appreciable job in carrying the narrative on their experienced shoulders. Mention must also be made of the supporting cast and the musicians at play, without whom the act couldn’t have been put together this brilliantly.

Being a part of theater as a performer since 1987, Mr.Reshi Rashid understands the nitty-gritty of a stage production like the back of his hand, and this is exactly what comes out in ‘Archeekaal’ as well. The narrative has been endowed with a life of its own with his unique directorial touches, which he has developed with years of practice and training. His efforts towards development of theatrical culture in the troubled state haven’t gone unnoticed – the J & K Academy of Art and Culture awarded him with the Best Director’s place in the year 2006-07.

With similar objectives and no less zeal, the Roashan Art Center (Pinjora, Tangmarg) came into existence in 1995. It is perhaps the unity in the goals to be achieved that has brought an extremely talented director and this theater troupe together in presenting the theater-lovers with yet another thoughtful portrayal of their beloved motherland’s existent turmoil and the looming uncertainty that surrounds her children.

Speaking for the thousands of Kashmiris out there, unsure of what the next sunrise would bring for them and praying for an environment of peace and unity to prevail, the narrative doesn’t fall short of any of the elements of a theatrical presentation. Be it the poignant monologues expressing the unrelenting turmoil affecting both the land and its inhabitants, or a mother’s distress at the loss of lives, ‘Archeekaal’ definitely touches the right chord with its universal treatment of specific issues.


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