Patras Bukhari’s essays, an integral part of our Urdu curriculum during my school days, were a breath of fresh air in the otherwise mundane content of our Urdu classes. His distinctive use of rhetoric and the uproariously humorous yet relatable situations portrayed in “Patras Kay Mazameen” never failed to captivate me.
In 2016, I became a part of Theatre Wallay – a company dedicated to bringing plays to life from a diverse range of literary sources, including Urdu, English, French, and even Russian literature. It quickly dawned on me that Patras’s stories had never been adapted for the theatrical stage. The idea of crafting a play based on his narratives began to bubble up within me.
Finally, in January 2021, I embarked on the journey of writing three short plays inspired by three of my favorite Patras stories: “Saweray Jo Kal Aankh Meri Khuli,” “Marhoom Ki Yaad Mein,” and “Mein Aik Mian Hoon.” Although the writing process took over three months, I eventually had three scripts ready for production.
The subsequent task was to cast the play and initiate rehearsals, a more formidable challenge than anticipated due to the varying work schedules of our eight actors. Yet, their unwavering dedication shone through as we rehearsed during and after office hours, often extending well into the early morning. The fruits of our labor materialized into a production that was hilarious and warmly embraced by the audience. Our initial show at the Farm struggled to draw a large crowd, largely due to the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, those in attendance relished the performance.
August 2022 brought a significant milestone as our play was selected for the esteemed Alhamra Theatre Festival in Lahore. Performing in front of a packed audience, we received a standing ovation and garnered acclaim in various newspapers. Subsequently, the play graced the Bhittai Auditorium in Islamabad, attracting one of the largest audiences in Theatre Wallay’s history.
Reflecting on this experience, I realized that directing and producing a play is undeniably one of the most challenging endeavors. It demanded unwavering perseverance, countless hours of rehearsal, sleepless nights, and the burden of anxiety. However, the gratification derived from the end result, coupled with the dedication of my team—Ahad Ali Siddiqui, Zia Ur Rehman, Aafaq Shamshad, Ramil Aftab, Adil Yousaf, Usama Ahmad, Saboora Marium, and Umer Bhatti—made every hardship worthwhile.