To dance or not to dance
By Anjum Gill
LAHORE: The Punjab Council of Arts (PCA) and the District Coordination Officer (DCO) office say that they will obtain an affidavit from the owner of the Lahore Theatre and Film-actress turned stage dancer Ms Nargis that there will be no dance performances during a play produced by her at Eid ul Fitr.
Both the organisations denied having given permission to Nargis to perform four dances at the Lahore Theatre in her play.
There were news items saying that Nargis had been allowed dance performances by the Rehearsal Committee comprising representatives of the PCA, DCO and Punjab Home Department.
Talking to Daily Times on Monday PCA director Tahir Jameel said, “How could we allow dance performances when we were the ones who banned them in the first place. We have imposed a strict ban on dance performances and Ms Nargis is no exception to it. If she violates the law then she will have to face the music”
Mr Jameel did admit that the body had approved Nargis’s play but maintained that the script did not include any dances. He said, “There was no dance in the script and neither has the rehearsal committee approved anything of the sort.”
Member of Rehearsal Committee Tariq Zaman said, “We have allowed Dhamaal in the drama but no dances.” He said, “Ms Nargis had applied for four dances but the scrutiny committee deleted them since they were out of place. Only performances that are necessary due to the requirements of the script are allowed.”
The No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the play is yet to be issued by the DCO. “We will issue the NOC only after obtaining an affidavit from Ms Nargis that there will be no dances.”
Ms Nargis has been banned from a couple of cities including Gujranwala for performing obscene dances. She has leased the Lahore Theatre and will stage her first drama there. However, despite repeated calls she was not available for any comments on the episode.
Different artists have advocated uniform implementation of the law all over Punjab for stage dramas. Veteran stage artist Sohail Ahmed had been at the forefront in raising a voice against obscenity and vulgar dances.
The DCO office had also formed a committee to submit its recommendations to the EDO on such malpractices in theatre.
Stage actor Babu Baral said, “The government knows what it is doing. If the government allows us to perform dances then they should be included in plays.”
He said, “Personally I’m for dance performances. However, dances should represent art instead of demeaning it. Obscene moves often embarrass the audience.”
Stage artist Anwar Ali also supported uniform implementation of the law. He said, “If Naz Theatre was sealed then no other theatre should be allowed dance performances.” Artists Masood Akhter and Munir Raaj also said dances should not be included in the dramas. “We want decent movements only and only if the script allows,” they both said.