Life in Theatre for Talib Banarasi
Some time in the mid-1880s, Talib was commissioned by Khurshedji Balliwala to write for Victoria Theatrical Company. After the death of Raunaq, he shifted to Bombay and was appointed their official author. Talib Banarasi's first assignment was to revise Raunaq's Sangin Bakavali i.e. 'Petrified Bakavali' and Ashiq Ka Khun i.e. 'Murder of a Lover.' His first successful work was Nigah-e-Ghaflat i.e. 'Uncaring Eye' in 1888. It is said to have been adapted from an English play. However, his biggest hit was Raja Harishchandra in Hindi language. This continued to be performed for several years earning hundreds of thousands in profit. This also enabled Balliwala to build his Grand Theatre in 1907. The company took this play to Delhi to celebrate the coronation of George V. Talib's Ramlila in 1902. This was successful but could not match its popularity.
Talib Banarasi wrote only for Balliwala and after his death stopped composing drama altogether. Between the mid-1880s and 1911, he authored over a dozen plays, deriving plots from religious, mythological, and literary sources. Little distinguishes him from other re tellers of old tales. However, his Lail-o-Nihar i.e. "Night and Day" was based on Bulwer-Lytton's Night and Morning and published in 1904. This is considered one of the earliest examples of Urdu theatre in prose.
Talib Banarasi died in the year of 1919.
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