Akhri Salute is a 35-minutes long play. The original story was written by Saadat Hassan Manto. It has been adapted for theater performance by Safeer Ullah Khan. The cast consists of students who joined Acting Class at PNCA before Covid2019 lockdown began. The students and their teacher (Safeer Ullah Khan) continued to work together as the lockdown eased down, and decided to do a performance. It was perfomred on 13th and 22nd November 2020 at The Farm at Banigala (Theatre Wallay’s own space).
Synopsis of the Play:
Akhri Salute is set in post-partition period at the volatile and undefined border (still not an international border, it is called Line of Control of LOC) in Kashmir. Ram Singh and Rab Nawaz, who were born and brought up in the same village in central Punjab, and lived together for most of their life come to face-to-face as enemies during the war in Kashmir in1948.
Rab Nawaz is confused at the sudden turn of events especially partition of India and how it changed everything. He is trying to understand the new situation and to come to terms with the new realities especially the religious divide. In the battle zone, Rab Nawaz and Ram Singh recognize each other. However, in a mischievous fire exchange, Rab Nawaz, albeit unintentionally, shoots Ram Singh. Rab Nawaz is devastated to learn that his friend Ram Singh will not be able to survive the wound. He tries his best to comfort Ram Singh. They recall the good old days when they were together at various war fronts during WWII. Major Aslam, who led them during the WWII also arrives at the scene. Ram Singh tries to salute him but realizes that Major Aslam is an enemy now.
It received very good reviews. Indu Mitha (famous classical dancer) made following comments:
I was very impressed with this production (Akhri Salute). Adapting a story for dramatization isn’t easy. Co-ordination of light sound etc. was better than the govt. institutions, great acting n direction …!! Volunteers are often more caring than Professionals. I hope others will come n be impressed as we were. i don’t want to say more! i have not read the original story that was based on.Indu MItha after watching the show on November 13, 2020.
- Zia Rehman as Ram Singh
- Abdul Quddos as Rab Nawaz
- Mohsin Nazir as Major Aslam
- Mubashir Ali as La’al Khan
- Aafaq Shamshad as Sepahi
- Fuzail Raza as Allah Bakhsh
- Lights and Sounds by Usama Ahmad Khan and Ramil Aftab
- Sets and Props by Karum Kiani and Fizza Hasan
- Art Work by Aamir Ali
Original Story by Saadat Hassan Manto
Adaptation and Direction by Safeer Ullah Khan
There may not have been a better time to bring Manto’s Aakhri Salute to theater