'Mirza Ghalib portrayed on the stage a number of times but never in a negative avatar. And that is the basic premise of my play, said Aziz Qurashi. Generally, people tend to go gaga at the mere mention of the Urdu poet. But few are aware that he had a negative side to him as well.
Qurashi, in his play Aitraaf-e-ghalib (which means confessions of Ghalib), explores facets of him which are either unknown to many or simply kept under wraps for fear of disgrace.
‘The plot of the play revolves around Ghalib in the last stages of his life and as he lay on his death bed, how the poet ruminated about his past deeds and mistakes which he now knows can never be reversed’ said Qurashi.
Ghalib is portrayed as a split personality on the stage whereby there are three Ghalibs. One portrays the role a nawab, the second a poet and the third old Ghalib.
The highlight of the play is a dialogue between the two Ghalibs (Nawab and poet) and how each one questions the other’s existence and tries to explore who is more imperative for survival and fame.
‘Like the Nawab Ghalib points out that if he was not born in a aristocratic family, then the poet Ghalib would have never been honed. Similarly, the poet Ghalib says that if he never tried his hand at poetry, then no one would have cared for Nawab’s aristocracy,’ added Qurashi.
Aitraaf-e-Ghalib is a musical based on flashbacks. ‘Ghalib indulged in all sorts of vices. He used to go to prostitutes, was an alcoholic but at the same time was a genius,’ said Qurashi.
One of the most striking facts about Ghalib’s life was that he never mentioned his wife or children. Nor was there any narration about his family life. But he used to visit a brothel where his mistress used to sing his couplets as songs and entertain people during those days.
With a cast and crew of over 35 people, the play has been recreated using 80 per cent of Ghalib’s original letters. ‘With a view to get as real as possible, the same atmosphere in terms of costumes, props and lighting has been recreated on the stage,’ said Qurashi.
At: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road
When: 30 December
Timings: 7 pm onwards