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1950s, a love story

DNMUM206595 | 4/12/2011 | Author : Jayeeta Mazumder | WC :430

Renowned poet Amrita Pritam's life and her relationships to be revisited on stage

Her words still bring to life her thoughts every time you go through the pages of her writings. The late Amrita Pritam, a renowned Punjabi poet, will now be brought to life on stage with a play, Main Tenu Phir Milangi. Mesmerised by her life story, theatre actor and director Abhinay Banker embarked on a journey to unravel many more facets of the writer, hitherto unknown. So smitten was Abhinay by Pritam's unusual relationship with her friends, Imroz and Sahir Ludhianvi, that he travelled all the way to her home to know her better through her relatives.
"Her writings exuded unabashed expressions of love even at a time when a woman being so open about her thoughts was considered a taboo. I read up about her and began my research. It's then I discovered her relationships with Imroz and Sahir," says Abhinay. "Her love story is set apart from others, as it talks about the purest unconditional love. Even today, we restrict ourselves from expressing our true feelings due to social barriers, Amrita and Imroz were ahead of their time and did what was acceptable to them without crumbling to societal pressures even in the '50s and '60s."
Abhinay spent a lot of time talking to Imroz and a particular observation gave him goosebumps, as he recalls, "I noticed that Imroz referred to Amrita in the present tense. And I had an odd but pleasant feeling that Amrita could be there watching us talk." He knew he had to find the right girl to play Amrita and discovered that girl in Ahmedabad. "I heard Megha (Vyas) reciting Amrita's poetry and I knew she was the one. She is actually a painter by profession," says Abhinay, who will be playing Imroz.
The play will give glimpses of Amrita's life and focus on her love story with Imroz, who entered her life at the age of 40, after a long courtship of 14 years with Sahir Ludhianvi and her early child marriage to Pritam Singh. There will be live musical compositions of her poetry on stage as well. "I don't expect the younger generation to know all about her. They have probably just heard her name. But when I had opened the play on February 14 this year in Ahmedabad, it was a packed house show," smiles Abhinay. The play has received several invitations from Karachi and Lahore. "And because Amrita had migrated from Lahore, it would be great to take our show there," concludes an excited Abhinay.

When & where?
To be staged on April 16, at NCPA Experimental, 7 pm onwards.

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