New Delhi: A group of artistes from Pakistan headed home on Friday after two plays by its theatre groups at the ongoing Bharat Rang Mahotsav at National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi were cancelled amid the recent flare-up of tensions between the two countries.
National Academy of Performing Arts'(NAPA) 'Mantorama' and Ajoka's 'Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh' were scheduled to be staged on Thursday and Saturday respectively at the Mahotsav, considered as Asia's largest theatre festival. NSD chairperson Amal Allana and Festival director Anuradha Kapur could not be reached for their comments for the cancellation.
But an NSD official cited "unavoidable circumstances" behind the cancellation of the two plays. "We were informed by the higher sources about the cancellation and are now working on refunding the tickets. The Pakistani artistes are leaving today," the official said.
Both the plays were based on the life of famous Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto, whose birth centenary is being celebrated in India and Pakistan. The Karachi-based group NAPA recently presented a musical excerpt from their play 'Mantorama' titled 'Manto aur Ghalib: Ek Guftagu' at the Kolkata Literary Festival before coming for the NSD festival.
Lahore-based Ajoka's play, which was to be staged in Jaipur earlier this week, however got cancelled in the pink city. The festival will screen three more plays based on Manto's work and life. The three plays - 'Ik See Manto', 'Dafa 292' and 'Mantoiyat' - are Indian productions.