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Thu, 01/19/2012 - 10:59
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Pak play based on 'Waiting for Godot' bowls over Delhiites

New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) Pakistani play "Insha Ka Intezar", a take on issues concerning the trouble-torn South Asia country and based on Samuel Beckett's masterpiece "Waiting for Godot", was staged at the ongoing 14th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, an annual theatre festival of India's National School of Drama, here to a packed house, bringing out guffaws and applause. Set in Pakistan, the plot is about a never-ending wait by a poor couple Zulekha (played by Sheema Kermani) and Karimuddin or Karmo (Salim Meraj) for the arrival of their saviour called 'Insha'. Directed by Anwer Jafri, the Urdu play staged by the Tehrik-e-Niswan Cultural Action Group of Karachi belongs to the theatre of the absurd genre. Considered one of the most significant plays of contemporary times, it has been performed in several countries and adapted to different languages and situations. Says Jafri, "The utter simplicity of the play has its own beauty and suggestiveness and it makes its own comment on the absurd hope of salvation through an external entity that human beings have. "I find this aspect particularly relevant to our situation in Pakistan today, where the illusion of hope – that deeply embedded faith that providence shall eventually come to their rescue – flickers in people's minds in spite of the fact that they can perfectly well see the logic of renouncing it." Every day, Zulekha and Karmo, symbolising the marginalised masses, indulge in arguments and idle chatter, often verging on the absurd. They talk of the ISI, the CIA, the Pakistani Railway and the Hudood Ordinance and even contemplate committing suicide. They say they have been waiting for 64 years for Insha, a shortened derivative of Insha'allah (God willing). Their wait is interrupted by the arrival of Mansha, who symbolises frequent military dictatorships. After Mansha's departure a messenger arrives to tell them that Insha will not be arriving that evening. So Zulekha and Karmo will have to wait for Insha for another day, not knowing whether it would be fruitful or not. PTI