Madeeha Gauhar

Point Blank Shot!

Raw rebellious energy kept theatre icon, Madeeha Gauhar on her toes to challenge the common negative narrative in the society! She wasn’t the one to sit back and relax after building a TV drama career, delivering dialogues written by others, and playing roles she didn’t believe in, just to prove her commitment to acting, as one remembers her in Abdullah Malik’s famous writing, Nasheb! No, that wasn’t enough for her. She believed in getting her own message across!

Just imagine what a courageous soul she was! She established Ajoka, when Gen. Ziaul Haq was establishing his bigoted rule in Pakistan. Political prisoners were going through worst kind of tashaddud in jails. Journalists were being publicly flogged. Even male singers were asked not to dance on TV. Famous writers and poets were banished from the media. It was a degenerative atmosphere. But, Madeeha came out with her challenging plays through Ajoka. Shahid Mehmood Nadeem, her husband was writing scripts alongside her. But, there was a vital difference!

If you watch her Ajoka plays, she used local language, and portrayed local culture. She talked to the people. Even when they presented the translation or inspired scripts, they merged it with the local atmosphere, and folk. Just watch Kala Menda Bhes, or Dara Shikoh, Bala King, Raja Rasalu, Burqavaganza or Kaun Hai Yeh Gustakh, and you’ll notice that the Ajoka team merged with the audience. They did not make it obvious that it was a play. It is the voice of the people. Madeeha and Shahid made sure that they took up burning questions. I absolutely reject the suggestion that cancer killed her. No cancer could kill such a committed person as Madeeha. The apathy killed her. You can see that not many followed her vision. How many theatre groups took up such vital issues? Globalisation doesn’t encourage such initiatives!