The 7th Faiz Festival commenced on Friday at the Alhamra Art Center, Mall Road with much grandeur and enthusiasm. Grandly inaugurated by renowned poet and writer Asrar-ul-Haq Majaz, the festival is a celebration of the world-famous poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s legacy.
This annual event is organised by the Faiz Foundation Trust in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council (LAC).
Visitors of all ages and backgrounds, particularly the youth, were observed attending the festival, which offered seating arrangements on the Alhamra lawns and audio recordings of renowned singers such as Nayyara Noor and Abida Parveen. A food court was also set up for the convenience of visitors.
The festival commenced with an inaugural ceremony, held outside the Alhamra Art Gallery, which also featured the opening of an exhibition displaying the works of eight artists from India and Pakistan. Their artwork depicted the current social situations prevalent in both countries. Salima Hashmi, speaking at the event, reminisced about personalities such as Abdur Rahman Chughtai, M.D. Taseer, Imtiaz Ali Taj, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz worked tirelessly to cultivate Lahore’s rich culture. These individuals recognized that cultural rights, as well as human rights, are of utmost importance.
Danish Hussain, the storyteller from India, expressed his gratitude towards Faiz Foundation for inviting him and his companions to the festival. His sentiment was echoed by Arvinder Chamak, a poet from India, who spoke in Punjabi and said that the Indian delegates were sending their love and peace to their Pakistani counterparts. Atul Tiwari, a writer and actor from India, has been attending the festival for the fifth consecutive year.
Commissioner Muhammad Ali Randhawa welcomed the Indian delegation and expressed his admiration for Faiz’s family for organizing the annual event. The opening of the art gallery’s exhibition, ‘Tell Us What to Do’ was conducted by three children instead of delegates or the officials. Ms Hashmi, the person in charge, reasoned that since children are our future, it was important for them to inaugurate the event.
On the opening day of the festival, Ajoka Theatre’s production of Anhi Mai Da Sufna, written and directed by Shahid Nadeem, was a remarkable event. The play was originally directed by the late Usha Ganguli, an eminent Indian theatre director. It had been first produced by Madeeha Gauhar in 2016 and had since been performed in cities like Lahore, Islamabad, Delhi, Chandigarh, and Amritsar.Janki and Rangu, the two protagonists of the play, were portrayed with a great deal of song, dance, and humour. The set featured minimal props and relied heavily on the imaginative use of fabric. The cast was made up of Ajoka’s well-known actors, including Razia Malik, Naseem Abbas, Mohammad Qaiser, Fahad Hashmi, Shehzad Sadiq, Bilal Mughal, Usman Zia, Rabil, Haifa, Sumavia, Rania, Yusra and Anish. Meanwhile, the music team was comprised of Kanwal Christopher, Anita, Thomas, and Asad. As for the set and lighting, they had been designed by Nadeem Mir. All in all, it was a remarkable and unforgettable experience that showcased the talents of the Ajoka Theatre.