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Home > Mumbai Guide News > Things To Do News > Article > This performance by a Mumbai theatre group explores the life of Amir Khusrau

This performance by a Mumbai theatre group explores the life of Amir Khusrau

Updated on: 07 December,2023 07:28 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Devashish Kamble |

A young theatre group from the city will perform a forgotten art form of Urdu storytelling that sheds light on the life and times of Amir Khusrau

This performance by a Mumbai theatre group explores the life of Amir Khusrau

A moment from an earlier edition of a performance by the troupe

For years, contemporary poets, musicians and theatre makers have taken inspiration from the works of Amir Khusrau to produce renditions and tributes to the Sufi scholar and poet. Many even consider him a guiding force in their artistic endeavours. Jo Dooba So Paar, a dastangoi (an ancient Urdu storytelling art form) produced by actor and author Manav Kaul delves deeper into the life of Khusrau to explore the influence of his guru, Nizamuddin Auliya on the poet’s work.

Ajitesh Gupta, writer, traces the journey of the project back to a 2019 visit to Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi with his friend and director Mohit Agarwal, where the poet’s tomb is enshrined next to his spiritual master, Nizamuddin Auliya. What followed was a long period of collective research that included reading through the works of Indian dastangos like Shamsur Rahman Faruqi and Danish Husain, and even learning Persian. “The journey opened our eyes to the lesser-known aspects of Khusrau’s life,” he reveals.

Manav Kaul. Pic/Courtesy/Instagram; (right) Ajitesh Gupta performs at  a previous showManav Kaul. Pic/Courtesy/Instagram; (right) Ajitesh Gupta performs at  a previous show

Gupta offers some insight by saying, “Khusrau would write primarily in Persian during his early days as a poet. In an interaction that also features in the performance, the poet is asked by his guru whom he writes for, to which Khusrau promptly replies that it is the Divine. Auliya then guides him, remarking that true divinity is in the common folk of the country and it is only when it reaches them in a language they understand, can it ever reach the Divine.” The 12-member troupe will present many such interactions between the poet and Auliya through a performance in Hindi, Urdu and Persian that fuses dastangoi, qawwali music and traditional theatre.

Gupta assures us that the experience is not reserved for connoisseurs of Sufi poetry alone, and will be an easy introduction to Sufism for all. “When we started, we were at square one and so, we understand that the complexities of the subject might be overwhelming. The presentation is simple, but not simplistic. We aim to bring to light the true essence of Khusrau’s ideology while keeping it interesting,” he concludes.

With Kaul, it reflects in his decision to make all his writings freely available for adaptations by experimental theatre makers. He shares, “I was approached by Gupta, my protégé and collaborator, with the idea. The draft of the script was enough to move me and I knew I had to give it the right platform. I am delighted to see a new generation of artistes showing interest in a subject like this.”  

ON December 8 and 9 
AT NCPA, Nariman Point; Prithvi Theatre, Juhu. 
COST Rs 500 onwards

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