In some way or the other, the tradition of Urdu theatre was immensely influenced by Modern Indian Theatre. Out of the all the languages, Urdu language (also called Hindi language by early writers) along with Gujarat theatre, Marathi theatre and Bengali theatres have kept flourishing, and demand for its writers and artists has not subsided by the drama aficionados. Urdu drama is popular and most avidly watched and appreciated by the Bombay Film industry otherwise known as Hindi film industry or Bollywood. All the early gems if Urdu theatre, which was performed by Parsi Companies, were made into films. Urdu Dramatic tradition has been a spectator's delight since 100 years and counting.
As a theme, drama is composed of many elements. It also focuses on life and various aspects of the same. The aspect to be noticed here is that drama on the stage also imitates drama in life. It has been spoken many times that there has been mutual relationship between real life and theatre. Historical personalities of great importance like Shakespeare have influenced Modern Urdu tradition to a large extent when Indian, Iranian, Turkish stories and folk were adapted for stage with heavy doses of Urdu Poetry. In the contemporary times there are writers like Imtiaz Ali Taj, Rafi Peer, Krishan Chander, Manto, Upender Nath Ashk, Ghulam Rabbani, Prof. Mujeeb and many others shaped this tradition.
While Ghulam Jeelani, J.N. Kaushal, Prof Hasan, Shameem Hanfi, Jameel Shaidayi etc. belong to the old generation, contemporary writers like Danish Iqbal, Sayeed Alam, Shahid Anwar, Iqbal Niyazi and Anwar are few post modern Play wrights actively contributing in the field of Urdu Drama.
Sayeed Alam is popular for his humour and wit and more precisely, for Plays like 'Ghalib in New Delhi' 'Big B" and lots of other gems which are regularly staged for massive turn out of theatre lovers. Maulana Azad is his magnum opus both for its content and style.
'Dara Shikoh' written by Danish Iqbal directed by M S Sathyu is considered a modern classic for the use of newer theatre techniques and contemporary perspective. His other Plays are 'Sahir' on the famous lyricist and revolutionary poet. 'Kuchh Ishq kiya Kuchh Kaam' is another Play written by Danish which is basically a Celebration of the Faiz's Poetry, featuring events from the early part of his life, particularly the events and incidents of pre-partition days which shaped his life and ideals. 'Chand Roz Aur Meri Jaan' - another Play inspired from Faiz's letters written from various jails during the Rawalpindi Conspiracy days. He has written 14 other Plays including 'Dilli Jo Ek Shehr Thaa' and 'Main Gaya Waqt Nahin hoon'. Shahid's 'Three B' is also a significant Play. He has been associated with amny groups like 'Natwa'and others. Zaheer Anwar has kept the flag of Urdu Theatre flying in the Indian city of Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. Unlike the writers of previous generation Sayeed, Shahid, Danish Iqbal and Zaheer do not write bookish Plays but their work is a product of vigorous performing tradition. Iqbal Niyazi of Mumbaihas written several plays in Urdu theatre.
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